Thursday, February 09, 2012

UNH Hockey: Weekend Preview

Now that the UNH Hockey Team has clawed its way up into a tie for 6th place in Hockey East, it faces two key matchups this weekend. The race for the final three playoff spots couldn't be much tighter. UNH is tied with Providence College with 17 points. However, Providence has one game in hand. UNH's opponent on Friday night at the Whittemore Center - Northeastern University - is only 1 point behind with 16 points. Both UNH and NU have played 20 Hockey East games so far. And don't forget UMass-Amherst - they're just 2 points further back having accumulated 14 points in 19 games.

Way back in October, when there was actual snow on the ground, UNH split the first two games of the season against Northeastern. Midseason, Northeastern posted impressive out-of-conference wins against Michigan, Notre Dame (twice), and Minnesota. Since the beginning of 2012, Northeastern has lost four conference games to teams ahead of them in the Hockey East standings (once to BU and BC; twice to UMass-Lowell) and beaten two teams below them in the standings (twice over Vermont; once over UMass-Amherst). Northeastern is coming off a lop-sided 1-7 loss to BC at the Beanpot Tournament on Monday night.

Since January 7th when they skated on the infield of Fenway Park, UNH has won 4 games against Hockey East opponents (Merrimack once; Providence three times). UNH's loses to nationally-ranked Merrimack and BC (twice) and to Maine at Frozen Fenway were squeakers. Each loss was by 1 goal and three of them were in overtime.

Saturday night, UNH travels to North Andover, MA for the third and final matchup of the season with Merrimack College. Merrimack, who is currently ranked 8th in the nation, got off to a fast start this season winning their first 6 Hockey East games. Since the first of the year, Merrimack has had its ups and downs. They went into the unfriendly confines of the Alfond Arena and came away with a win and a tie against Maine. Merrimack also tied Boston College. However, Merrimack has lost two games to Boston University and, three weekends ago, lost at home against UNH. Merrimack redeemed itself the following night in Durham earning a hard-fought overtime victory.

Weekend Preview for UNH Recruits

~ 2013 Recruit Andrew Poturalski of the Buffalo Junior Sabres has been called up to play for the Cedar Rapids Rough Riders of the USHL. Cedar Rapids' Head Coach and General Manager Mark Carlson has confirmed that Poturalski will be in the Rough Riders' lineup for the Friday and Saturday night games against the Dubuque Fighting Saints.

Last June, Andrew Poturalski was invited to the Tryout Camp of the Sioux City Musketeers (USHL). Poturalski gave a strong performance scoring some goals in intrasquad games and making the all-star game on the final day of camp. However, Poturalski did not make the Musketeers' 25-man active roster.

In mid-July, arrangements were made for Poturalski to try out with the Cedar Rapids Rough Riders. Poturalski impressed Coach Carlson and his staff and earned a spot on the Rough Riders' protected, affiliate list. At that time, Coach Carlson provided us with this assessment:
"We feel Andrew could join us at anytime. He has great hockey sense, vision, shooting. Like all young players he will continue to work on his strength and conditioning."
As an affiliate player of the Rough Riders, Poturalski is eligible to be called up for one or more games during the USHL season.

Poturalski, who just turned 18 in mid-January, recently returned to the Buffalo Junior Sabres' (OJHL) lineup after recovering from a broken ankle. In the 33 games in which he has played, Poturalski has scored 16 goals and 22 assists including 3 game-winning goals. The Junior Sabres begin their OJHL playoff run next Monday and presumably, Poturalski will be back in their lineup. Poturalski is completing his senior year of studies at the Nichols School in Buffalo, NY.

~ Tyler Kelleher and the U.S. Under-17 NTDP team arrived safe and sound in Piestany, Slovakia for the 2012 Vlad Dzurilla Tournament. In their first game this morning against Switzerland, Team USA won 6-1. Tyler Kelleher scored 2 assists in the winning effort. Team USA will play Germany on Friday and Slovakia on Saturday.

~ Fans interested in watching UNH's two youngest recruits have a great opportunity coming up this Sunday. 2014 Recruit Shane Eiserman and Cushing Academy will face off against 2015 Recruit Jason Kalinowski and the Salisbury School at 2:30 on the practice rink next to the Mullins Center at UMass-Amherst. Salisbury is currently ranked #3 on the U.S. Hockey Report's Division I Prep Hockey Poll and Cushing is ranked #10. Jason Kalinowski is Salisbury's 3rd leading scorer with 22 points in 20 games. Shane Eiserman is Cushing's 2nd leading scorer with 38 points in 23 games. Should be a terrific game between two, top New England Prep School teams.


Blogger herbst20 said...

Poturalski was amazing in his first game for the Roughriders. He notched 2 goals and an assist in his USHL debut. Looking forward to having him here full time next season!

Feb 11, 2012, 11:58:00 AM  

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