Friday, November 02, 2012

UNH Road Trip: 1st Stop, UMass

This weekend, UNH ventures to two of the most distant points on the Hockey East map. On Thursday, the Wildcats travelled south and west for about 3 hours to the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Following Friday night's game against UMass (Overall: 1-3-0; Hockey East: 0-3-0), the team will retrace their steps back to Durham only to hop on the bus again for another 3 hour trip in the opposite direction. Late Sunday afternoon, UNH will face Maine (Overall: 1-6-0; Hockey East: 0-3-0) at the Alfond Arena in Orono. Some of the players will, no doubt, be reminded of the arduous bus rides from their junior hockey days in the the Midwestern United States or Western Canada.

UNH's hot start this season - 2 wins against St. Cloud, wins against Hockey East opponents Boston University and Northeastern, plus a scoreless tie with NU - has been a stark contrast to the slow start last season. After missing the 2012 NCAA Playoffs, UNH has returned to the more familiar position of being ranked in the top 10 in national polls - #9 in the poll and #10 in USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll. Though it seems incredible to say it, UNH did not win a game on the road last season until January 11th (1-0 win at Providence). A victory this weekend at UMass and/or Maine would reaffirm just how much the 2012-13 Wildcats have improved.

Scouting Report

University of Massachusetts - Amherst

The last time UNH visited the Mullins Center, they needed at least one victory to clinch a spot in the Hockey East Quarterfinal Series. On the last Friday in February, 2012, Casey DeSmith backstopped UNH to a thrilling 4-3 win over UMass. Here's how The UNH Men's Hockey Blog described one of DeSmith's most impressive performances of his freshman season:
"In the UMass game on Friday night, DeSmith faced a barrage of 51 shots on goal. UMass was desparate to win in order to keep their playoff hopes alive. DeSmith turned away 48 shots, including 25 in the second period as UNH won 4-3. DeSmith relied on all his strengths to pull out the victory. DeSmith stands tall in the crease leaving few gaps for shooters. His glove hand is lightning quick and he's adept at anticipating where the opponent's shots are coming from. To beat DeSmith, a team needs to score fluke goals or to screen his view of shots. In scrums around the net, he is relentless."
In his sophomore season, DeSmith has picked up right where he left off last season. Yesterday, Hockey East announced that DeSmith was the Goaltender of the Month for October. To date, DeSmith is the top goalie in Hockey East with a goals against average of 1.30 and a save percentage of .950.

UMA Upperclassmen to Watch:
~ Junior forward Mike Pereira (#7) lead UMass last season with goals (17) including 7 power play goals. Also had an impressive freshman season with 12 goals and 23 assists. The flashy forward has not scored yet this season but that won't last for long.
~ This season, 6'1", 203 lbs. senior forward Rocco Carzo (#12) leads UMass in goal-scoring with 3. That's as many as he scored in his sophomore and junior years combined.
~ Sophomore goalie Kevin Boyle (#33) has UMass' only win this season (UConn) and held BU to 3 goals in a losing effort last weekend. Boyle was teammates with UNH sophomore Grayson Downing on the 2010-11 Westside Warriors (BCHL).

Freshmen to Watch:
~ When 5'9", 160 lbs. forward K.J. Tiefenwerth (#28) was 15 years old, he committed to play hockey for Boston College. BC ultimately decided Tiefenwerth didn't live up to their playing standards so he decommitted and signed on with UMass. Tiefenwerth was a prolific scorer in two seasons with the Junior Bruins (EJHL).


Post a Comment

<< Home

Web Site Hit Counter

Firefox 2