Monday, October 15, 2012

UNH Sweeps St. Cloud

DURHAM, NH - After winning his 500th career game on Friday night, Head Coach Dick Umile only had to wait a day to win his 501st. The Wildcats added a convincing 4-2 victory Saturday to sweep the weekend series against St. Cloud State University. Coach Umile became the 21st in college hockey history to earn 500 victories and the 3rd active Hockey East coach - joining Coach Parker and York - to reach the milestone. Notes of congratulation included tweets by former UNH players:
James van Riemsdyk: "Congrats to coach Umile on his 500th win, great man who takes care of his players #UNHfamily."
Jacob Micflikier: "Congratulations on win #500 to Coach Umile with the @unhwildcats. A great man who deserves the credit #respect."
Daniel Winnik: "#welldone."

Game Summary

After becoming more familiar with each other's style on Friday night, St. Cloud played a tighter checking game on Saturday. As a result, UNH managed 10 fewer shots on goal - 29 (Sat.) vs. 39 (Fri.). The third period was the key for UNH. Lead by outstanding goaltending and tight defense in their own zone, UNH successfully protected the lead earned late in the second period and added a third period goal for a two goal cushion. In the rubber game of the Hockey East quarterfinals last season, UNH relinquished a 3-goal lead to BU and lost in double overtime. Maintaining a hard earned lead is a key objective for UNH this season. Here's a game recap along with a highlight video courtesy of

Between The Lines

The Forward Lines & Defensive Pairings
~ Starting Lineup: Nick Sorkin (LW)- Grayson Downing (C)- Dalton Speelman (RW); Trevor van Riemsdyk (LD)- Connor Hardowa (RD).
~ Forward Lines: Burke-Goumas-Block; Thrush-Silengo-Henrion; Gaudreault-Pavelski-MacDonald; Defensive Pairings: Kostolansky-Agosta; Knodel-Pesce.
~ Second-year defenseman Eric Knodel returned to the lineup after missing the season opener.
~ Two freshman forwards - Collin MacDonald and Maxim Gaudreault - played in their first NCAA Division I game.

UNH Stars of the Game

#1 Star - Casey DeSmith
~ Sophomore goalie Casey DeSmith made a number of big saves in the third period. About 4 minutes in, St. Cloud effectively cycled the puck and maintained a long puck possession in the UNH end. DeSmith made a save on a point blank, close-in shot to stop the flurry.
~ Midway through the final stanza, DeSmith faced a 2-on-1 St. Cloud rush and smothered a close in shot into his midsection. About 15 seconds later, DeSmith flashed his skate to stop a low shot headed just inside the post.
~ With 10 seconds left in the game, St. Cloud had a two-man advantage (Austin Block in the penalty box plus St. Cloud goalie pulled). In a scrum in front of the crease, DeSmith managed to keep the puck out of the net while sprawled prone on the ice.
~ In the weekend series, DeSmith made a total of 45 saves for a save percentage of .900

#2 Star - John Henrion
~ For the last three seasons, one UNH senior has stepped up and scored 20+ goals (Moses 22, Thompson 28, Butler 29). In order to go deep into the playoffs this season, UNH may need John Henrion to approach that total. His goal in the 1st period - a followup to his initial shot toward the goal - is an important step it that direction.
~ On Friday night, Henrion fired a remarkable 8 shots on goal. He added 2 SOG on Saturday.
~ On the game-winning, power play goal late in the 2nd period, Henrion set up the goal by firing on net from the left faceoff circle then charging the net. Fellow senior Austin Block knocked the puck in with he and Henrion on the doorstep.

#3 Star - Connor Hardowa
~ A stalwart on defense, Captain Connor Hardowa had a big weekend. He generated a total of 4 assists. More importantly, Hardowa's +/- ratings were +3 on Friday and +2 on Saturday.

Points of Interest

~ 2013 UNH Recruit Jordan Masters and the Jersey Hitmen (Eastern Junior Hockey League) were in attendance. Ten games into the EJHL season, the Hitmen are in first place in the Southern Division with a record of 7-3.
~ A number of NHL scouts were in attendance over the weekend. One was Mike O'Connell, Director of Pro Development for the LA Kings and former General Manager of the Boston Bruins.
. ~ In their NCAA debut, Collin MacDonald and Maxim Gaudreault held their own and each fired 2 shots on goal.
~ Grayson Downing's stick-handling skills were captured in the video highlight of UNH's second goal Saturday night. Watch the video closely and notice how Downing began a cross-ice pass to Nick Sorkin, then stopped the pass in an instant. This froze the St. Cloud defenseman, allowing Downing to carry the puck into the slot and rip off a shot.
~ Speaking of the video, check out Trevor van Riemsdyk's individual effort on the 4th goal of the night. How many D-I defensemen can rush down the left-wing like a forward, carry the puck to the net and score?


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