Tuesday, February 26, 2013

UNH Recruits Update: Feb-25-2013

Brendan van Riemsdyk Scores Game-Winning Goal (Photo: nj.com)

Player of the Week - Brendan van Riemsdyk

If there's a friendly rivalry among the van Riemsdyk brothers for scoring important goals, then Brendan earned bragging rights last week. Sure, Trevor scored the game-tying goal against the University of Vermont, earning UNH an important point in the tight Hockey East race. And James scored two goals, including the game-winner, for the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Not to be outdone, Brendan van Riemsdyk scored two game-winning goals for Christian Brothers Academy (CBA) in the prestigious Gordon Cup Tournament.

The Gordon Conference includes two, perennial New Jersey High School powerhouses - Delbarton and CBA. They are currently ranked #1 and #2, respectively, in the state. On Thursday, BvR scored the game-winning goal as CBA defeated Don Bosco Prep 3-2 in the Gordon Cup semifinals. Delbarton also advanced to the Gordon Cup Finals, riding a 66-game unbeaten streak. The two teams had tied each other in the two previous games this season.

Midway through the second period of the championship game, van Riemsdyk scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal for the CBA Colts. CBA went on to defeat Delbarton 5-2 and BvR added an assist on the team's fourth goal. This is the third time CBA has won the Gordon Cup since 1996. In their years at CBA, neither James or Trevor hoisted the Gordon Cup. In this post-game interview, BvR describes CBA's winning effort.

So far this season, Brendan van Riemsdyk has scored 16 goals and 30 assists in 23 games. BvR is the third leading scorer on the CBA team and has the second most assists. Last season, as a sophomore, he posted 16 goals and 14 assists in 29 regular season and playoff games. He has more than doubled his assists this season.

This week, BvR and his CBA teammates move on to the big dance - the New Jersey Non-Public School tournament. As the #2 Seed, the Colts get a bye in the first round and play in the second round on Thursday. Last season, CBA faced Delbarton in the State Championship game and BvR scored the first goal for Christian Brothers. Delbarton came back to win the championship 3-2.

When James was a sophomore at CBA in 2005, he scored an overtime goal in the New Jersey State Championship game against Delbarton. In Trevor's senior year, CBA lost to Delbarton in the Championship game. No doubt, Brendan would like to help win the State Championship for his school and earn more bragging rights with his brothers.

Latest Statistics

NOTE:  The statistics for the recruits, presented in the table, are categorized by the year the player and UNH coaches have targeted for enrollment in UNH.  For example, the "2013 Recruits" have a target of the Fall of 2013 to begin playing for UNH.

2013 Recruits
Matias Cleland  (D)WaterlooUSHL30227
Omaha LancersUSHL458223030
Tyler Kelleher  (F)USA U18 TeamUSHL1989178
USA U18 TeamNCAA211192016
Dylan Maller  (D)Tri-City StormUSHL4514539
Jordan Masters  (F)Jersey HitmenEJHL1835834
Andrew Poturalski (F)Cedar RapidsUSHL379162535
2013 or '14 Recruit
Michael McNicholas  (F)Nanaimo ClippersBCHL351022326
2014 Recruits
Dylan Chanter  (D)Merritt CentsBCHL518111927
Adam Clark  (G)Salmon ArmBCHL3416W16L2.72.918
Shane Eiserman  (F)USA U18 TeamUSHL1745923
USA U18 TeamNCAA213368
Cam Marks  (D)Coquitlam ExpressBCHL362468
2014 or '15 Recruit
Jason Kalinowski  (F)Salisbury Prep NEPSHC21 918 27-
2015 Recruits
Warren Foegele  (F)St. Andrews CollegeCISAA/MPHL2816203632
Charlie Kelleher  (F)Junior Bruins U18USEHL5411142513
Joseph Masonius  (D)Jersey HitmenEmpJHL175121724
Jersey HitmenEJHL1012335
2015 or '16 Recruit
Liam Darcy  (D)Berwick Academy NEPSHC27 715 22-
Patrick Grasso (F)Des MoinesUSHL100110
Omaha Lancers U16NAPHL221321348
Brendan van Riemsdyk (F)Jersey Devils U16AYHL2418133154
Christian BrothersJersey Prep23163046-

News & Notes

United States Hockey League:

~ On Friday, 2013 recruit Andrew Poturalski scored the game-winning goal as the Cedar Rapids Rough Riders defeated the Chicago Steel 3-2. Poturalski is tied for 3rd in scoring on the Cedar Rapids team.

Team USA:

~ 2013 recruit Tyler Kelleher, 2014 recruit Shane Eiserman, and the U.S. NTDP Under-18 team played the #13 ranked University of Nebraska-Omaha on Thursday. Kelleher assisted on the game-winning goal as Team USA beat UNO 3-2. Tyler Kelleher leads the NTDP U-18 team in goals (23), assists (24), and points (47).

Eastern Junior Hockey League:

~ Joe Masonius, Jordan Masters, and the Jersey Hitmen finished the EJHL regular season with the best record in the league. In the 45-game schedule, the Hitmen earned 78 points - 11 more points than the next closest team, the Junior Bruins. As the #1 seed, the Hitmen will play in the EJHL Playoffs quarterfinal round beginning on March 2nd.

British Columbia Hockey League:

~ 2013 or '14 recruit Michael McNicholas has been out of the Nanaimo Clippers' lineup since January 6th when he broke a bone in his lower leg in a game against Prince George. His rehabilitation has been going well and he hopes to return to light skating this week with a goal of returning to the lineup by the end of the regular season.

~ 2014 recruit Adam Clark back-stopped the Salmon Arm SilverBacks in a significant, 3-2 win over the Vernon Vipers on Thursday. The SilverBacks had lost 5 in a row and are fighting for the final playoff spot in the BCHL Interior Division. Clark made 28 saves and earned the #1 Star of the Game.

Prep School Hockey:

~ Jason Kalinowski and the Salisbury Prep Crimson Knights finished the New England Prep School regular season with a 5-1 win over Canterbury. Kalinowski scored the game-winning goal - his 9th goal of the season. Salisbury ranked #6 in the final U.S. Hockey Report Prep Hockey Poll. They qualified for the Stuart/Cockery Elite 8 Tournament and will play the Berkshire School (#3 Rank) in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.

~ 2015 or '16 recruit Liam Darcy finished up his sophomore season at Berwick Academy with 7 goals and 15 assists, equalling his 22 point production as a freshman. With a 13-12-1 record, Berwick just barely missed making the Small New England Prep School tournament.

~ UNH's newest recruit, Warren Foegele, has entered the playoff portion of his junior year with St. Andrews College in Aurora, Ontario. St. Andrews competes in two prep school leagues: The Conference of Independent Schools Athletic Association and the Midwest Prep Hockey League.

In the CISAA regular season, Foegele scored 9 goals and 10 assists which tied him for second in scoring in the league. St. Andrews swept the semifinal round of the CISAA Playoffs defeating Appleby College 4-0 and 4-3. Foegele scored the game-winning goal in the first game and scored the first goal in the second game.

Foegele tied for the lead in scoring during the MPHL regular season. He scored 7 goals and 10 assists in 13 games.

Over the weekend, the MPHL held their Championship Tournament at Gilmour Academy outside of Cleveland, Ohio. In the Quarterfinals, St. Andrews defeated Saint Francis 5-1 and Foegele scored a goal and 3 assists. In the Semifinals, the Saints beat rivals Stanstead College 4-3. Foegele scored a goal and assisted on the game-winning goal. St. Andrews lost the Championship Game 2-1 on a goal late in the third period by the Edge School. Foegele finished the MPHL Playoffs as the leading scorer with 2 goals and 5 assists.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

UNH Grabs 3 Points at Vermont

UNH Ties UVM (Photo: Mike Lowry)

BURLINGTON, VT - Both the University of New Hampshire (Overall: 17-8-5; Hockey East: 12-7-4) and the Univesity of Vermont (Overall: 10-15-5; Hockey East: 7-11-5) entered the weekend series at the Gutterson Fieldhouse jockeying for playoff position. UNH needs to keep up with the other top 6 teams in Hockey East in the battle for the League Championship and home ice in the HE Quarterfinals. UVM is scrambling to qualify for the tournament.

With a convincing 4-3 win on Friday night and a hold-on-for-dear-life tie on Saturday afternoon, UNH earned 3 points and is currently tied for 1st place in Hockey East with Boston College and Providence. Each have 28 points and BC has played one less game. Close behind are Merrimack (27 points), UMass Lowell (26) and Boston University (24). They have played 1 less game than UNH and PC. The one point earned by UVM (19 points) on Saturday placed them in 7th place, two points ahead of Massachusetts (17).

In both games, Vermont tried to overpower and intimidate the Wildcats with a mix of legitimate body checks, cheap shots to the head, and chippy shots after the whistle. On Friday night, the stategy was ineffective as UNH played with speed and energy but on Saturday, UNH was back on its heels in the first period and unable to break free from a smothering UVM defense during much of the game.

After playing BU next weekend in Boston, UVM finishes the regular season with a pair at home against Boston College. If the Catamounts play like they did on Saturday against UNH, a sweep by either BU or BC will be hard to come by. Meanwhile, UNH has two home games against UMass Amherst next weekend and two "White Out the Whitt" games against Maine on March 8th and 9th. If UNH plays like they did in the 4-4 tie with BC last Sunday and the 4-3 win over UVM, then they should earn home ice in the playoff quarterfinals and have a legitimate shot at winning the Hockey East regular season.

Between The Lines

The Forward Lines & Defensive Pairings
Starting Lineup: Dan Correale (LW) - Grayson Downing (C) - Austin Block (RW); Brett Kostolansky (LD)- Connor Hardowa (RD); Casey DeSmith (Goalie)

Forward Lines: Thrush-Goumas-Willows; Speelman-Camper-Henrion; Gaudreault-Pavelski-Kyle Smith; Defensive Pairings: Knodel-Pesce; Agosta-Trevor van Riemsdyk.

~ In the midweek press conference, UNH's leading scorer Kevin Goumas talked about his lack of scoring in the 4 previous games. Coach Umile identified the need to increase Goumas' "touches" - the number of times he is carrying the puck during his shifts.

In what turned out to be a very effective line combination, sophomore Casey Thrush replaced Nick Sorkin on Goumas' left wing and sophomore Matt Willows took John Henrion's spot on right wing.

The Thrush-Goumas-Willows line clicked because it matched up the wingers' strengths with Goumas' ablities. Both Thrush and Willows are effective at winning battles for the puck in the corners and along the boards. Their primary role was to get the puck to Goumas and let him free wheel in the offensive end.

When opposing players are chasing Goumas around, it leaves one or more UNH players open in the zone. Both Thrush and Willows benefited from this dynamic on Friday night as each registered 3 shots on goal, Willows scored the game-winning goal, and Goumas picked up 2 assists.

Kevin Goumas missed much of the 2nd period on Saturday with a laceration above his eye that required stitches. Still, the line managed 5 shots on goal during the game.

~ The creation of the Thrush-Goumas-Willows line may also increase the scoring potential of UNH's third forward line with the high-scoring John Henrion (9 goals, 9 assists) on the right wing with Camper at center and Speelman on left-wing. Speelman scored UNH's 2nd goal on Friday with the primary assist going to Henrion.

~ Friday night was the NCAA debut for freshman right winger Kyle Smith. Smith played on the 4th line in both UVM games with Scott Pavelski at center and freshman Maxim Gaudreault on left wing.

Although Smith did not post any points or shots on goal, he didn't make mistakes and made a couple of nice defensive plays.

Report Card

In a previous post called "Is UNH Ready for the Stretch Run?", I looked at how UNH had performed in several key areas as it was about to embark on the final 7 games of the regular season. For what it's worth, here's how I thought they did in these areas in the two, weekend games against Vermont.

Intensity and Effort

Friday 4-3 Win: A
Over the first two periods, UNH outshot UVM 18-4. Despite UVM's physical play, UNH was hustling for loose pucks and able to gain separation with their speed.

Saturday 1-1 Tie: C-
As Trevor van Riemsdyk acknowledged in a post-game interview, the Wildcats came out of the gate noticeably slower on Saturday. Conversely, UVM were determined to knock UNH off its stride with physical play. UVM succeeded and UNH made many fewer attempts to play the body.

UVM played a unique style of 1-on-1 defensive coverage in their own zone. Whenever, UNH entered their end, each Catamount found a UNH attacker and stuck with him. This strategy largely prevented UNH from cycling in the corners or making more than one pass in succession.

Ordinarily, you'd expect UNH to use its speed and stick-handling to break away from this tight coverage but that didn't happen.

Team Defense

Friday's Win: B
On UVM's break through center ice on their first goal, two UNH forwards went after the puck carrier in the neutral zone allowing HT Lenz to enter the UNH zone uncovered. Lenz one-timed a cross-ice pass and beat Casey DeSmith.

Saturday's Tie: C
For the most part, the UNH defensemen effectively picked up the first couple of UVM players to enter the UNH zone. Late in the third period, Brett Kostolansky did an outstanding job preventing an attacker from getting around him, then poked the puck away. However, the UNH forwards were not as effective in getting back to cover the 3rd or 4th UVM attacker as they had been the night before or in the BC game last Sunday.

Penalty Kill

Friday's Win: A
UVM had three power plays and UNH did not allow a single shot on Casey DeSmith. UNH executed the diamond penalty kill well, stopping rushes at the blue line, aggressively attacking the puck carrier along the half-wall, and blocking shots.

Saturday's Tie: B-
Vermont only had one power play but they fired 3 shots on DeSmith. One was a routine save but the other two were testers.

UVM entered the UNH zone three times without being stopped at the blue line - the first point of defense in the diamond penalty kill.

UNH tried to be aggressive on the puck but were a bit slower than the night before. On the plus side, Connor Hardowa and Brett Kostolansky blocked a few shots.

Goal Scoring

Trevor van Riemsdyk Power Play Goal (CBS Sports)
Friday's Win: A
For the second game in a row, UNH scored 4 goals. They also scored 4 last Sunday against BC.

As I indicated in the Stretch Run article, in order for UNH to succeed, sophomore defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk needs to be a major contributor to the offense. He has certainly stepped up over the last 4 games.

TvR had an assist in the BC game and 3 assists in the 4-3 win over UVM. He assisted on Matt Willows game-winning goal.

Once again, senior Austin Block came up big scoring 2 goals against UVM. Block is now tied for 4th in goal scoring in Hockey East.

The work of the new Thrush-Goumas-Willow line paid off early in the third period on Friday. On a UNH power play, Goumas carried the puck along the boards and behind the UVM net. He passed out to TvR on the point to the right of UVM goalie Brody Hoffman. TvR tapped a one-time pass right on the tape of Matt Willows' stick.

Willows had gained position just to the right of Hoffman while Thrush was positioned on the opposite side of the crease. Willows made a nifty spin move and beat Hoffman with a backhander between his legs.

Saturday's Tie: D+
Trevor van Riemsdyk scored UNH's only goal on a power play. His shot bounced between a defender's legs and slipped past Hoffman. The only other bright spot was Connor Hardowa hitting the post shortly after TvR's goal in the second period.

UNH was mostly unable to break free from UVM's tight man-to-man coverage in the Vermont end.

UNH only managed 2 shots on goal in the 1st period and 19 during regulation.

Power Play

Friday's Win: B+
UNH scored three power play goals in 8 opportunities. UVM made a number of stupid penalties - including the vicious hit against Jay Camper from behind which sent his head smashing into the glass - and UNH made them pay on the scoreboard.

TvR and Eric Knodel were given substantial minutes on the power play and they effectively orchestrated the umbrella setup with TvR at the middle of the blueline, Knodel to his left and Grayson Downing to his right.

UNH moved the puck smartly and had little trouble keeping it in the UVM zone.

Saturday's Tie: D+
Aside from TvR's power play goal, UNH was totally ineffective with the man-advantage.

During their 3 other power plays, UNH had zero shots on goal.


Casey DeSmith Game Saver (CBS Sports)
Friday's Win: C
Casey DeSmith faced only 4 shots in the first two periods. The first UVM goal came on a 2-on-1 break. DeSmith made the initial save but the rebound was cleaned up by Lenz who was wide open in the slot.

On the 2nd goal, UVM broke into the zone on a 3-on-1. Nick Bruneteau carried the puck to the faceoff circle to DeSmith's right. Bruneteau decided to go at DeSmith 1-on-1 rather than pass to his open linemates.

Bruneteau faked a shot, DeSmith when down to his knees, and Bruneteau beat him over his shoulder.

Jonathan Turk scored the third UVM goal on a wrist shot from the top of the slot. Justin Agosta may have partially screened DeSmith's view of the shot. It beat DeSmith over his glove. Most of the time, DeSmith snaps his glove up and snags those type of shots.

Saturday's Tie: A
The picture to the right shows Casey DeSmith's amazing save 5 minutes into the 3rd period. With the game tied, it was a game-saver.

DeSmith bounced back from an average performance on Friday night with energy and quickness. He made 30 saves and was clearly the #1 Star of the Game.

To succeed in the playoffs, UNH will need Casey DeSmith to play the way he played on Saturday. It's the way he's played in most every game this season.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

UNH Recruit Profile: Warren Foegele

Warren Foegele Commits to UNH
(Photo: St Andrews College)

The University of New Hampshire has been fortunate in attracting high-scoring forwards from the Province of Ontario, Canada including All-Americans Darren Haydar (Milton) and Trevor Smith (Ottawa) and team leaders Daniel Winnik (Toronto) and Peter LeBlanc (Hamilton). Earlier this week, another top prospect from Ontario made a verbal commitment to play for UNH beginning in the fall of 2015. 16-year-old Warren Foegele (DOB: 4/1/1996), a 6'1", 178 lbs. center/left winger from St. Andrews College in Aurora, Ontario, has accepted an athletic scholarship offer from UNH.

Warren Foegele of St Andrews College (Photo: CISAA)
Warren Foegele (Pronounced Foe-gull) lives with his parents in Unionville, Ont., about 20 miles north of Toronto, and is in his junior year as a day-student at St. Andrews College - a university-preparatory school in Aurora, another 20 miles north of his hometown. St. Andrews, plays hockey in the Conference of Independent Schools Athletic Association (CISAA) along with five other prep schools in south central Ontario and Western New York. UNH fans who follow the recruits may remember that Andrew Poturalski, currently playing for the Cedar Rapids Rough Riders (USHL), was the CISAA leading scorer in the 2010-11 season when he played for the Nichols School in Buffalo, NY.

Foegele and the St. Andrews Saints recently completed the 15-game, CISAA regular season in first place. Foegele scored 9 goals and 10 assists during the regular season and finished tied for second in league-scoring. He scored 2 game-winning goals.

The CISAA Playoffs began today and the #1 seed St. Andrews defeated #4 seed Appleby College 4-0 in the best-of-three series. Foegele lead the Saints scoring the game-winning goal and adding an assist.

Yesterday, I had an opportunity to interview Warren Foegele, via email, about his background and his commitment to UNH:   

Mike Lowry ("C-H-C"): Congratulations on your commitment to play for the University of New Hampshire. What are the main reasons you chose UNH?
Warren Foegele: Over the past two months we had many schools express an interest in me. I sat down with my family to identify the criteria for selecting a school. The main ones were; location, campus, academic programs, hockey program and the people.
UNH satisfied each of the requirements. The campus is located in a very scenic setting a short distance from the ocean and an hour from Boston. The campus is both functional and very beautiful. UNH offers a large variety of academic programs. I was interested in Business and they have an outstanding Business program.
UNH has a very good and successful hockey program. Under Coach Umile’s direction the team has many achievements to its credit. The facilities are very modern and very functional. Hockey is very big at the school and also for the state of New Hampshire.
This was our second trip to the school and on both occasions it was obvious that the people are very friendly and genuine. The coaching staff were very direct and sincere, the players enthusiastic and helpful and the staff very supportive.
It has always been an aspiration of mine to be a part of an elite Division 1 NCAA program and as of this year when UNH approached me things just fell right into place. With a great hockey and academic program, UNH couldn’t have been a better fit for me and I am extremely excited to be a part of such a prestigious program.

Mike Lowry: What other college programs were recruiting you?
Warren Foegele: There were many schools that were interested in me. I do not think it would be appropriate to name them.

Lowry: Have you and the UNH coaches agreed on a target date for you to enroll as a freshman at UNH and join the team?
Foegele: Yes, we have had discussions with the coaches about a starting date. The schedule is to have me start my freshman year in the fall of 2015. If by chance my growth and development exceed expectations, then the date could move up. Right now I am working towards 2015.

Lowry: At this stage in your hockey development, what are the strengths of your game? What areas are you trying to improve?
Foegele: My speed has improved significantly this year. I have a very explosive start. I am one of the quickest skaters in our league. I have good hand eye co-ordination which allows for puck handling with finesse. I have got visual perception and good hockey sense.
(I'm working) to get stronger and faster...improve my shooting release...improve my defensive play.

Lowry: Do you primarily play left wing, center, or both?
Foegele: I have played center for most of my hockey career. This year because of my speed I moved to left wing and have enjoyed great success. I enjoy playing wing.

Lowry: Do you plan on returning to St. Andrews to play in your senior year?
Foegele: I have been at St. Andrew’s from grade 6. I plan to return to SAC next year and graduate and I will play for the Varsity team again. I am applying to be a Prefect (like a student counselor) next year.

Lowry: Do you anticipate playing a year of junior hockey before coming to UNH? If so, what leagues would you consider playing in?
Foegele: Upon graduating from St. Andrew’s in 2014, I plan to play Jr A hockey in the fall of 2014. We have received several offers to play in the BCHL league. Our coach at St. Andrews has been contacted by a USHL team that would like me to play for them.

Lowry: Last summer, you were invited by the Ontario Program of Excellence to try out for Team Ontario in the World Under 17 Championship. What was that like?
Foegele: The U17 camps were outstanding. As a member of the final camp I got to play with and against the best 96 players. The camps are by invitation only.
Approximately 450 skaters are selected in the province and put into groups of 60 players per camp. 15 skaters from each camp advance to the next camp and so on.
The final camp had 60 skaters that made up four teams. 22 of this group represented Team Ontario in the U17 World Championships. All the players selected for the final team are members of a Major Jr.A team in Ontario (OHL).
I will never forget my experience at the three camps that I attended. I enjoyed the high level of competition and also to get re-acquainted with former team mates.

Lowry: As you finish up your junior year at St. Andrews, what are your academic strengths?
Foegele: I am a good student. My average is 86% and I am taking courses that will complement my desire for Business. I have good analytical skills and am a good debater. I manage my time well.

Lowry: Are there are other topics you would like to comment on?
Foegele: One area that has had a very positive impact on my hockey has been my training.
Outside of the hockey season I train with Gary Roberts, retired NHL player. Gary has developed successful training and nutrition programs. From April to June, Sept-October I train with Gary 3x a week. In July and August, we increase the frequency to 5x per week. His focus is to increase my strength, speed and agility.

Monday, February 18, 2013

UNH Recruits Update: Feb-18-2013

UNH Recruit Liam Darcy
(Photo: Berwick Academy)

UNH Recruit Liam Darcy
(Photo: Berwick Academy)

Player of the Week - Liam Darcy

A couple weeks shy of his 16th birthday, defenseman Liam Darcy put up some big numbers for Berwick Academy (Maine) in the New England Prep Hockey League. On Wednesday, the Berwick Bulldogs (11W-10L-1T) travelled to Brookline, MA to battle Dexter Academy (18W-1L-5T) - the 5th-ranked team in the U.S. Hockey Report Prep Poll. Darcy, a 5'11", 170 lbs. sophomore, tied the game at 1-1 on a power play goal. It was his 4th goal of the season. In a see-saw contest, Berwick lost 4-5 on a Dexter goal midway through the third period.

Two days later, Berwick stormed past Worcester Academy 14-1 lead by Liam Darcy's hat trick, which included the game-winning goal. With 7 goals and 14 assists, Darcy is the leading scorer among defensemen on the Berwick squad. His 21 points in 22 games places him in a tie for 10th in scoring among all defensemen in the New England Prep League.

With a record of 3 points over .500, Berwick Academy is in the fight for a playoff berth in the New England Prep Small School Tournament. Their three remaining games are home against Pingree on Wednesday and on the road against Governor's on Friday and the big finale against 10th-ranked Cushing Academy on Saturday. Liam Darcy is committed to UNH for either 2015 or 2016. Wildcat fans interested in seeing him play can make the 11-mile drive from the Whittemore Center up Route 108 to South Berwick.

New Recruit - Warren Foegele

St. Andrews College (a prep school in Ontario) forward Warren Foegele (DOB: 4/1/1996) has committed to play for the University of New Hampshire. Look for a "Recruit Profile" coming soon on The UNH Men's Hockey Blog.

Latest Statistics

NOTE:  The statistics for the recruits, presented in the table, are categorized by the year the player and UNH coaches have targeted for enrollment in UNH.  For example, the "2013 Recruits" have a target of the Fall of 2013 to begin playing for UNH.

2013 Recruits
Matias Cleland  (D)WaterlooUSHL30227
Omaha LancersUSHL438212930
Tyler Kelleher  (F)USA U18 TeamUSHL1778158
USA U18 TeamNCAA201181916
Dylan Maller  (D)Tri-City StormUSHL4414539
Jordan Masters  (F)Jersey HitmenEJHL1725732
Andrew Poturalski (F)Cedar RapidsUSHL359142323
2013 or '14 Recruit
Michael McNicholas  (F)Nanaimo ClippersBCHL351022326
2014 Recruits
Dylan Chanter  (D)Merritt CentsBCHL488111927
Adam Clark  (G)Salmon ArmBCHL3315W16L2.74.918
Shane Eiserman  (F)USA U18 TeamUSHL1544823
USA U18 TeamNCAA203366
Cam Marks  (D)Coquitlam ExpressBCHL342468
2014 or '15 Recruit
Jason Kalinowski  (F)Salisbury Prep NEPSHC18 718 25-
2015 Recruits
Charlie Kelleher  (F)Junior Bruins U18USEHL5411142513
Joseph Masonius  (D)Jersey HitmenEmpJHL175121724
Jersey HitmenEJHL710116
2015 or '16 Recruit
Liam Darcy  (D)Berwick Academy NEPSHC24 714 21-
Patrick Grasso (F)Des MoinesUSHL100110
Omaha Lancers U16NAPHL221321348
Brendan van Riemsdyk (F)Jersey Devils U16AYHL2318133150
Christian BrothersJersey Prep21142943-

News & Notes

United States Hockey League:

~ 2013 recruit Matias Cleland added a goal and 2 assists to his scoring totals last week and maintained his position as the 2nd leading scorer among all USHL defensemen. Cleland's 17 power play assists leads all defensemen in the league.

Eastern Junior Hockey League:

~ On his 16th birthday last Sunday, 2015 recruit Joe Masonius scored his first goal as a member of the EJHL. Masonius' goal was the game-winner for the Jersey Hitmen in their 6-4 victory over the South Shore Kings.

North American Prospects Hockey League:

~ 2015 or '16 recruit Patrick Grasso and the Omaha AAA 16U team have won the NAPHL Championship played in Troy Michigan. After winning the first 4 games of the tournament against teams from Texas, Pittsburgh, San Jose, and New Jersey, Omaha defeated the Pittsburgh Viper Stars 4-2. Grasso posted 2 assists in the Championship Game. Overall, he scored 2 goals and 6 assists and finished tied for 4th in scoring among all players.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Is UNH Ready for the Stretch Run?

UNH vs PC: Faceoff in Series Finale (Photo: Mike Lowry)

In today's Foster's Daily Democrat, Coach Umile and goalie Casey DeSmith commented on the team's performance in the 1-0 loss to Providence College on Wednesday night (see "#5 UNH Loses Season Series to Providence") and their prospects over the remaining 7 games of the regular season. Umile expressed satisfaction with how hard the team is playing but acknowledged the need to score more goals. DeSmith noted the team is playing well defensively. Both stressed the importance of winning most of the remaining games.

Six teams, including UNH, are battling for home-ice advantage in the HE Quarterfinal Playoff Series which is granted to the top four teams at the end of the regular season. UNH, currently 5th in the PairWise National Rankings, is also in the hunt for a bid in the NCAA Championship Playoffs in late March. So, a great deal is at stake in the remaining away games against Boston College (1 game) and Vermont (2 games) and the final four home games against UMass (2) and Maine (2).

Only 7 points separate the top 6 teams in Hockey East. UNH (24 points) is tied for 2nd place with Merrimack and trails league-leading BC by one point. Both Merrimack and BC have played one less game than UNH. Third-place Providence (23 pts.) trails UNH by only one point, BU (21) is in 4th-place and UMass-Lowell (18) is in 5th-place. Both BU and Lowell have 2 games in hand over UNH and Providence.

Six of the 7 remaining games for UNH are against teams with little chance of finishing the season in the top 4. Other than the game against BC this Sunday, UNH will have no opportunities to directly gain ground on the other 5, top contending teams. To finish in the top 4, UNH must win most of their remaining games. If they do, then their final position in the standings will depend on how the other contending teams perform.

Attempting to predict how UNH will fare down the home stretch is a fool's errand. Over the first 15 games of the season, the Wildcats only lost 2 games and were ranked #1 in the nation during the first week of December. However, over the last 13 games, beginning with the loss to Boston University on Dec. 8th, UNH has been a below .500 team losing 7, winning 5, and tying 1.

If UNH plays the rest of the season the way it did in the first two months, then they will have a good chance of advancing deep into the Hockey East and NCAA Playoffs. Conversely, if they don't correct some of the problems which cropped up over the last two months, the 2013 postseason will be a disappointment. With that in mind, it's instructive to review how the UNH Wildcats have performed lately in key areas of the game.

Intensity and Effort

In the 6-5 loss to Providence on Jan. 19th, UNH lacked intensity and speed in the early going and gave up the first 4 goals of the game. They were getting beaten in battles for loose pucks and allowing their opponents to gain a stride on them in all three zones. In their next game, UNH squandered a 2-1 lead at Merrimack and lost 3-2. The following night, Merrimack travelled up Interstate 93 for a rematch at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester. Prior to the game, the seniors held a rare, players-only meeting and emphasized the need to play with intensity and speed on every shift. The immediate result was a convincing 6-2 victory over the Warriors.

Having covered the last 4 games - at Northeastern, Merrimack and Providence at the Whittemore Center, and at Providence - I would say that UNH has largely solved the problem of inconsistent effort. Individual players, forward lines, and defensive pairings are not "taking off shifts". They're playing with the level of speed and intensity needed to be competitive in every game. Some individuals, such as Brett Kostolansky, Austin Block, Kevin Goumas, and Dan Correale, consistently play with an extraordinary level of intensity and grit.

Team Defense

Under the tutelage of Associate Coach Jim Tortorella, the historically offensive-minded Wildcats have bought into a system of team defense. During most of the season, UNH has allowed fewer goals per game than most teams in the country. Despite giving up 6 goals to Merrimack and Providence and 5 to BC last month, UNH still has allowed the fewest goals in Hockey East.

Much of the defensive success can be attributed to UNH defensemen and one or two forwards funneling back into the UNH zone to prevent odd-man rushes. Watch the team closely and you'll see players calling out to each other and pointing to opposing players who need to be covered on the back check. This aspect of team defense had fallen off a bit after the holiday break and reportedly was a topic for emphasis in the players-only meeting prior to the second Merrimack game. On Wednesday night in Providence, UNH's back-checking was outstanding despite PC's uptempo game.

There is still room for improvement in one aspect of team defense - coverage below the goal line. Too many scoring plays are initiated by an opposing player controlling the puck directly behind or over the shoulder of goalie Casey DeSmith. At times, either a UNH defenseman or back-checking center aggressively attacks the puck carrier down low and either steals the puck or pins the guy up against the boards. However, this needs to happen more consistently. This is an area in which UNH could become more physically intimidating to opponents. The occasional well-timed rubout into the backboards might send the message that free movement below the goal line will be discouraged.

Penalty Kill

Entering the nationally-televised games against Providence at the Whittemore Center last Sunday, UNH lead all NCAA teams in penalty killing. They had prevented a power play goal a remarkable 92.8% of the time. As CBS analyst Dave Starman pointed out on the broadcast, Coach Tortorella deserves much of the credit for establishing an active, aggressive scheme for the UNH penalty kill. Thanks to his on-air analysis and the assistance of a follower of the blog, I have a much better understanding of how the "diamond" penalty kill is supposed to work. UNH almost always utilizes the diamond set up and it obviously has been very effective.

Early in the 3-3 tie with Providence on Sunday, UNH uncharacteristically gave up two power play goals. These prevented UNH from coming away with a much needed win. For UNH to succeed in the remainder of the regular season and into the playoffs, they needed to figure out what went wrong with the diamond coverage and make corrective adjustments.

The diamond penalty kill has two phases. First, when the opposition attempts to carry the puck through the neutral zone, one UNH forward skates in the neutral zone and tries to interfere with the puck carrier. The 2 UNH defenseman and remaining UNH forward line up across the UNH blueline. Their job is to stop or impede the movement of the puck into the zone. The second phase of the diamond set up comes when the puck has entered the UNH zone. A diamond pattern is established with a forward at the top point of the diamond at the top of the slot, one defenseman on the left point of the diamond near the faceoff dot to the left of the UNH goalie, the other defenseman at the bottom of the diamond in the low slot, and the other forward on the right point of the diamond near the right faceoff dot. The diamond penalty kill is designed to aggressively challenge the puck carrier, impede the movement of the puck, and intercept passes.

UNH had four problems executing the diamond strategy in the 3-3 tie against Providence. First, on a few occasions, a PC puck carrier entered the UNH zone along the boards in front of the UNH bench without being stopped. Second, a PC forward positioned near the halfwall to the left of goalie DeSmith was allowed to hold then pass the puck without being effectively challenged by the UNH player on the left corner of the diamond. Third, PC was able to get the puck to a forward below the goal line a few strides to DeSmith's left. That forward assisted on both power play goals. Finally, on one of the goals, a PC forward got behind the UNH forward on the right side of the diamond and shot into a nearly open net.

The main adjustment UNH made on Wednesday night, which translated into an effective use of the diamond penalty kill, was utilizing personel who aggressively challenged PC's movement of the puck along the side boards and down below the goal line. For the diamond strategy to succeed, you need skaters who can quickly accelerate to challenge the opposing puck carrier and to intercept passes. Connor Hardowa and Brett Kostolansky are particularly effective in this role. My guess is that the diamond penalty kill was practiced extensively following the loss to PC last Sunday and will be re-emphasized for the rest of the season.

Goal Scoring

Before the season began, some UNH fans voiced concern over whether the team had enough "goal scorers". For most of the season, UNH has scored a more than adequate amount of goals. Seniors Austin Block (11 goals) and John Henrion (9 goals) have been particularly productive. As of today, UNH trails only Boston College in total goals scored among Hockey East teams. The loss to PC was only the second time UNH has been shut out all season - the other being a 0-0 tie with Northeastern back in October.

On a few occasions this season, the UNH coaches have made major changes in the forward lines in an effort to generate more goal scoring. Following the 4-1 loss to Dartmouth at their holiday tournament, the "energy line" of Dan Correale-Jay Camper-Matt Willows was created. Over the next four games, that line posted 3 goals and 9 assists. After not registering points in the following two losses to Providence (6-5) and Merrimack (3-2), the line was broken up with the move of Correale to the first line with Grayson Downing at center and Austin Block on right wing. The positive results were immediate as the new first line combined for 3 goals and 3 assists in the 6-2 win over Merrimack in Manchester. However, the Correale-Downing-Block line didn't score in UNH's last two loses.

Injuries to two veteran forwards - Greg Burke (shoulder and concussion) and Nick Sorkin (broken bone in hand) - have also been costly and necessitated changes in the forward lines. When healthy, Burke was effective as both a power forward and power center. Sorkin missed 5 games and played with a cast on his hand in several others. He has yet to regain his scoring touch.

Although UNH has not found the back of the net enough in two of the last three games, they are generating many shots on goal (e.g., 52 in the 4-1 loss to Merrimack). In each game, UNH has hit the post at least once and has created quality scoring bids. Even so, it's quite likely the UNH coaches will juggle one or more of the lines prior to the Boston College game in an effort to generate more scoring.

One key player in UNH's scoring attack is the offensively-gifted defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk. Over the first 19 games of the season, TvR teamed with Captain Connor Hardowa on the first defensive unit. Although he's a right-shot, he has played left defense. In the first 17 games, TvR was a leading scorer among Hockey East defensemen posting 6 goals and 9 assists.

Following a lop-sided, 5-1 loss to Boston College on Jan. 11th, defensive stalwart Brett Kostolansky was moved up to the first pairing with Hardowa. Kostolansky has quietly played outstanding defense and he matches up well against the leading scorer on the opposing teams. However, since TvR was moved down to the third defensive pairing, his offensive impact has diminished. He has not scored a goal in 8 games and, except for a 4 assist night in the 6-2 win over Merrimack at the Verizon Wireless Arena, he has posted only 1 assist. TvR is an impact player who is much too talented to be playing in the 5th or 6th defensive slot.

Power Play

UNH currently has the 4th most effective power play in Hockey East. The Wildcats score on 17% of their power plays. In the frustrating 1-0 loss to Providence on Wednesday night, UNH went 0 for 6 on power play opportunities. The PC forwards were particularly effective in skating out and challenging UNH's two defensemen positioned on the points at the blue line.

Earlier in the season, it seemed that UNH was utilizing the umbrella set up more often. In that scheme, the most offensive defenseman is positioned at the middle of the blue line with the other defenseman near the halfwall to the right of the opposing goalie and a play-making forward (e.g., Grayson Downing, Kevin Goumas) at the halfwall to the goalie's left. This may be a more effective strategy than the two-point set up in generating quality shots on goal.


Following the goalie duel between long-time friends Casey DeSmith and Providence's Jon Gillies, PC coach Nate Leaman described DeSmith as an elite goalie. With the exception of a couple of off nights, DeSmith has been the best goalie in Hockey East and one of the best in the nation. With the help of goalie coach Mike Buckley of Goaltending Development Services, DeSmith has made successful adjustments in technique following an off game.

In his junior hockey career in the USHL and his freshman season with UNH, DeSmith earned a reputation for excelling in pressure-packed, playoff games. There's no reason to doubt that he'll come up big again in the remaining games of the 2012-13 season.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

#5 UNH Loses Season Series to Providence

UNH's Casey DeSmith Stops Penalty Shot (Photo: Mike Lowry)

PROVIDENCE, RI - In the first two games of the season series between UNH (Overall: 16-8-3; Hockey East: 11-7-2) and Providence College (Overall: 11-10-6; Hockey East: 9-6-5), the Wildcats made mistakes that cost them and needed to be corrected. In the 6-5 loss on Jan. 19th, they lacked intensity and speed in the early going, played inconsistent team defense, and gave up the first 4 goals of the game. Last Sunday afternoon, UNH managed to earn a point on a tying goal late in the third period but their league-leading penalty kill gave up 2 goals.

Tonight, in a half-empty Schneider Arena on the Providence campus, UNH corrected it's previous problems but suffered a frustrating 1-0 loss on a PC goal in the waning minutes of the game. The intensity and effort were there, the team defense gave up few prime scoring opportunities, and the penalty kill units shut down the PC power play. Still, UNH lost to PC for the second time this season.

The highlight reel play for UNH was Casey DeSmith stopping a penalty shot bid by Ross Mauermann with 55 seconds left in the second period (see photo above). The low point was Stefan Demopoulos' goal with only 2:48 left in the game.

With the loss, UNH did not add to its 24 points in Hockey East competition. UNH remains in a tie with Merrimack for second place in Hockey East. UNH trails first place Boston College by one point. Both Merrimack and BC have a game in hand. UNH is now ahead of third-place Providence by only one point.

Losing the season series with PC is bad enough - that hasn't happened since the 1995-96 season. What's more frustrating is the realization that UNH has only one game remaining with any of the top 6 teams in Hockey East. The matchup at BC next Sunday is the last regular season game against a top-6 team. UNH no longer directly controls its fate in the battle for home-ice in the Hockey East Quarterfinals. They must win most of the remaining games with the lower-tier teams - Vermont, UMass, and Maine and hope either BC, Merrimack, Providence, BU, and/or UMass Lowell loses several games.

Between The Lines

The Forward Lines & Defensive Pairings
Starting Lineup: Dan Correale (LW) - Grayson Downing (C) - Austin Block (RW); Brett Kostolansky (LD)- Connor Hardowa (RD); Casey DeSmith (Goalie)

Forward Lines: Sorkin-Goumas-Henrion; Speelman-Camper-Willows; Thrush-Pavelski-Gaudreault; Defensive Pairings: Knodel-Pesce; Agosta-Trevor van Riemsdyk.

~ The Correale-Downing-Block line was the 1st line on paper. However, Coach Umile sent the Sorkin-Goumas-Henrion line out at the beginning of each period. Both coaches appeared to be maneuvering to ensure a matchup between each team's #1 line.

~ The third and fourth UNH lines were the ones that played together in the final period of Sunday's game against PC. Speelman played left wing on the third line and Thrush played on the fourth line. Otherwise, all the forward lines and defensive pairings were the same as last Sunday.

~ Given the absence of goal-scoring tonight, look for one or more of the forward lines to be juggled for the game against Boston College.

Game Highlights

2nd Period - 00:55. Providence Penalty Shot

With just over a minute left in the second period, sophomore Ross Mauermann (PC's 2nd leading scorer) broke into the UNH zone on a partial breakaway.

As Mauermann was motoring down the slot to Casey DeSmith's right, 2nd-year defenseman Justin Agosta made a valiant effort to dive and sweep the puck away from Mauermann.

Mauermann attempted a shot and fell over Agosta in the same instant. From my vantage point at the other end of the rink, it looked like Agosta may have gotten a piece of the puck. In any event, the referee immediately signalled for a penalty shot.

On the penalty shot, Mauermann moved from his left to his right midway into the slot and attempted to flip a backhand shot past DeSmith. Casey made the glove save.

3rd Period - 4:00. Best UNH Bid: John Henrion.

Senior right winger John Henrion carried the puck into the PC zone and gained a step on the PC defender.

As Henrion reached the top of the faceoff circle to Jon Gillies' left, on the halfwall side of the circle, he ripped a 3/4 slap shot.

The puck whistled just inches past the goal post to Gillies' right. A few inches in the other direction and it would have beat Gillies.

3rd Period - 2:48. Providence Goal: Stefan Demopoulos (6th goal of the season).

Mark Jankowski had the puck in the midslot in front of Casey DeSmith but Connor Hardowa and Brett Kostolansky were clogging up the area directly in front of DeSmith.

Jankowski spun and passed over to the faceoff circle to DeSmith's right. It's not clear whether Jankowski saw Demopoulos at the top of the faceoff circle or was just hoping a teammate would be there.

Demopoulos was skating at full speed as he reached the faceoff circle. He had just jumped onto the ice on a line change.

Austin Block was positioned near the top of faceoff circle to the right of DeSmith and turned around just in time to see Demopoulas zoom past him. Demopoulas fired a one-timer that beat DeSmith just over his right leg pad. Providence 1, UNH 0.

Points of Interest

~ As of the time of this post, there are no video highlights of the game available.

  ~ Look for an analysis on The UNH Men's Hockey Blog of what worked for UNH in the 1-0 loss to Providence, what didn't work, and what might work in future games.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

UNH Recruits Update: Feb-11-2013

Player of the Week - Andrew Poturalski

It's been a season of ups and downs for Cedar Rapids' forward and UNH recruit Andrew Poturalski. In July, he fractured his fibula during a summer skate and was in a cast until late August. While his teammates were building up their physical conditioning and endurance, Poturalski was on the sidelines. He didn't get cleared to skate again until mid-September. Finally, three months after Poturalski broke his leg, he played in the first game of his rookie USHL season.

Poturalski burst onto the scene scoring the game-winning goal against the Indiana Ice in his first game followed by 2 goals and 2 assists the next night in another Cedar Rapids victory over Indiana. He gained instant notoriety as the USHL named him CCM Forward of the Week on October 22nd. The Rough Riders were also off to a fast start winning 5 out of their first 7 games and losing in overtime twice.

In November and December, both Poturalski and Cedar Rapids markedly cooled off. Over an 18-game stretch, the Rough Riders won 6, lost 11 and had 1 overtime loss. During that time, Poturalski scored 1 goal and 3 assists. He was a healthy scratch in 4 games.

While the Rough Riders have continued to struggle since the holiday break, Poturalski's play has been on the upswing. Over his last 14 games, he has posted 4 goals and 8 assists. Last Saturday, Poturalski scored a power play goal and added an assist in a 3-2 win over the Chicago Steel. He registered 4 shots on goal and was awarded the #1 Star of the Game. On Sunday, he posted another assist as Cedar Rapids tied Green Bay in regulation but lost in overtime.

Thanks to his nearly point-a-game pace in recent weeks, Poturalski has moved up to a tie for 4th in scoring on the Cedar Rapids roster. He is also tied for 2nd in assists.

Latest Statistics

NOTE:  The statistics for the recruits, presented in the table, are categorized by the year the player and UNH coaches have targeted for enrollment in UNH.  For example, the "2013 Recruits" have a target of the Fall of 2013 to begin playing for UNH.

2013 Recruits
Matias Cleland  (D)WaterlooUSHL30227
Omaha LancersUSHL407192630
Tyler Kelleher  (F)USA U18 TeamUSHL1778158
USA U18 TeamNCAA201181916
Dylan Maller  (D)Tri-City StormUSHL4114537
Jordan Masters  (F)Jersey HitmenEJHL1625732
Andrew Poturalski (F)Cedar RapidsUSHL338142221
2013 or '14 Recruit
Michael McNicholas  (F)Nanaimo ClippersBCHL351022326
2014 Recruits
Dylan Chanter  (D)Merritt CentsBCHL45891725
Adam Clark  (G)Salmon ArmBCHL3215W15L2.70.919
Shane Eiserman  (F)USA U18 TeamUSHL1544823
USA U18 TeamNCAA203366
Cam Marks  (D)Coquitlam ExpressBCHL342468
2014 or '15 Recruit
Jason Kalinowski  (F)Salisbury Prep NEPSHC16 717 24-
2015 Recruits
Charlie Kelleher  (F)Junior Bruins U18USEHL5411142513
Joseph Masonius  (D)Jersey HitmenEmpJHL175121724
Jersey HitmenEJHL30004
2015 or '16 Recruit
Liam Darcy  (D)Berwick Academy NEPSHC22 314 17-
Patrick Grasso (F)Des MoinesUSHL100110
Omaha Lancers U16NAPHL221321348
Brendan van Riemsdyk (F)Jersey Devils U16AYHL2216132950
Christian BrothersJersey Prep21142943-

News & Notes

United States Hockey League:

~ On Saturday afternoon, 2013 recruit Matias Cleland and the Omaha Lancers played in the first ever USHL outdoor game. The Lancers defeated the Lincoln Stars 4-2. Cleland was traded from the Waterloo Black Hawks to Omaha after the second week of the season. In January, Cleland was elected by his new teammates as the Lancers' Captain. With 27 total points so far this season, Cleland is the 2nd leading scorer among all USHL defensemen. Here is a feature article on Matias Cleland from the Omaha World-Herald.

Team USA:

~ 2013 recruit Tyler Kelleher, 2014 recruit Shane Eiserman, and the U.S. National Under-18 Team finished the Five Nations Tournament with a record of 2 wins and 2 loses. Kelleher was the second leading scorer for Team USA posting 2 goals and 2 assists. Eiserman scored a goal in the 5-1 win over the Czech Republic.

Major Midget, Under-18 Hockey:

~ Head Coach Chris Masters of the Junior Bruins U-18 team provided the latest statistics for 2015 recruit Charlie Kelleher. In 54 regular season games, Kelleher has scored 11 goals and 14 assists. He is currently tied for 4th in scoring on the Jr. Bruins U-18 team.

Monday, February 11, 2013

UNH Scrambles for Tie with Providence

UNH Ties Providence 3-3 (Photo: Mike Lowry)

DURHAM, NH - After beginning the season with 11 wins, 2 ties and only 2 loses, UNH (Overall: 16-7-3; Hockey East: 11-6-2) has been scrambling to break even ever since. In their final home game in February, the Wildcats managed a come from behind, 3-3 tie against Providence College (Overall: 10-10-6; Hockey East: 8-6-5).

Three weeks ago, UNH put forth its worst effort of the season losing to this same Providence team 6-5 in Durham. They came out of the gate with low energy, played poor team defense, and gave up some soft goals. In the five games since that low point, UNH has largely solved the first problem. They've been skating hard from start to finish. In the last two games - the loss to Merrimack and tie with PC - UNH has dominated the territorial play through most of the first period.

One key aspect of team defense has also improved. UNH's defensemen and centers have been getting back into the UNH end ahead of opposing attackers and have prevented odd man rushes. As Austin Block put it earlier this week, the players have been funneling back and effectively backchecking.

The prime problem which continues to plague UNH is allowing the opposition to set up goals from below the goal line behind Casey DeSmith. All three of PC's scoring plays originated deep in the UNH zone. Each time, a UNH defenseman was unable to take the player with the puck out of the play. When an opposing player passes the puck from behind the goal line, it's difficult for DeSmith to anticipate exactly where the puck will end up. The opponent who receives the puck in either faceoff circle or the high slot has a split second advantage on DeSmith as he attempts to guess where the shot will be coming from.

In the offensive end, UNH has generated 95 shots on goal over the last two games - 43 during regulation against Providence and 52 against Merrimack - but didn't win. Ordinarily, those are winning efforts but they came against two talented goalies - former UNH goalie Bruce Gillies' son Jon and Merrimack's Sam Marotta - who performed better and better as the game progressed.

Over the last 12 games, beginning with the loss to Boston University on Dec. 8th, UNH has won 5, lost 6 and tied 1. During that stretch, UNH has won every game when they scored the first goal and lost or tied every game but one when the opponent scored first. The only exception was the 5-2 loss to BC at Chestnut Hill when Jay Camper scored the first goal of the game.

Last night's game highlights the importance of scoring first. Over the first 12 minutes, UNH outshot PC 10-2 and controlled the puck in the PC end for long stretches. Jon Gillies looked like he was fighting the puck as he bobbled it three times during what should have been routine saves. PC then scored a power play goal on their 3rd shot of the game with 8 minutes left in the period. From that point on, Gillies made numerous outstanding saves and PC played with more energy.

Between The Lines

The Forward Lines & Defensive Pairings
Starting Lineup: Dan Correale (LW) - Grayson Downing (C) - Austin Block (RW); Brett Kostolansky (LD)- Connor Hardowa (RD); Casey DeSmith (Goalie)

Forward Lines: Sorkin-Goumas-Henrion; Thrush-Camper-Willows; Speelman-Pavelski-Gaudreault; Defensive Pairings: Knodel-Pesce; Agosta-Trevor van Riemsdyk.

~ After breaking a bone in the base of his hand in the Bemidji State game, Junior Nick Sorkin missed three games, played two with a cast on, missed two more games, then played with the cast last weekend against Merrimack. During this last week, Sorkin had the cast removed and he was moved up to the second line with Kevin Goumas at center and John Henrion on right wing.

~ Dalton Speelman moved down to the 4th line and freshman Maxim Gaudreault replaced Jeff Silengo.

~ During the third period, Speelman was moved up to the third line with Camper and Willows and Casey Thrush dropped down to the 4th line.

Scoring Details

1st Period - 6:33. Providence Goal: John Gilmour (3rd of season).

Over the first 12 minutes of the game, UNH dominated outshooting PC 10-2. One prime scoring opportunity came at 16:14 when Grayson Downing intercepted a pass at the faceoff dot to the right of Gillies. Downing knifed into the low slot and lifted a backhander at the gap between Gillies' glove hand and body. Gillies did not handle the puck cleanly and looked behind him to see if the puck got past him. It didn't.

At 7:54, Austin Block was called for interference. UNH's first penalty kill unit of Hardowa, Kostolansky, Henrion and Sorkin effectively killed off the first 50 seconds without allowing a shot on goal.

UNH changed up with Knodel, Pesce, Downing and Goumas taking the ice. On a PC break through center ice, Knodel was unable to stop Shane Luke as he carried the puck over the UNH blueline and along the boards. That left Knodel out of position along the halfwall and Pesce moved over to the same side of the ice as Knodel.

PC worked the puck around Knodel who was far away from the net out in the faceoff circle to DeSmith's left.

Luke fed the puck down to Nick Saracino at the goal line to the left of DeSmith and Pesce tried to catch up with him but couldn't.

While DeSmith was hugging the left post, Saracino zipped a diagonal pass to a wide-open Gilmour in the low slot to the right of DeSmith.

DeSmith managed to slide over to his right but Gilmour beat him on the blocker side. PC 1, UNH 0.

2nd Period - 9:54. Good Goaltending Involves Some Luck

Throughout the 1st period and into the 2nd, UNH outshot PC by a 2-to-1 margin. Gillies was holding off the barrage but needed some luck to keep UNH off the scoreboard.

Kevin Goumas lead a rush through the neutral zone and across the PC blueline. At the top of the slot, Goumas snapped a wrister just wide of the net to Gillies right.

The puck bounced off the backboard to a wide-open Nick Sorkin in the low slot. Sorkin fired a wrist shot which had Gillies beaten high on his blocker side. However, Gillies flailed at the puck and it ricocheted off the butt end of his stick just over the net.

2nd Period - 5:08. UNH Goal: Grayson Downing (11th goal of the season).
Assists: Dalton Speelman (6th assist of season), Maxim Gaudreault (3rd assist of season)

UNH's persistence finally paid off late in the second period. Freshman Maxim Gaudreault fed Dalton Speelman with a nifty pass off the boards at the red line and Speelman carried the puck into the PC zone.

Speelman skated to the top of the slot and fired a wrister which Gillies deflected with his blocker.

The rebound fell into the low slot, Speelman gathered it and made a behind the back, backhand pass to Grayson Downing who had just jumped onto the ice for a line change.

Downing launched a slap shot from the mid slot which beat Gillies top corner over his glove. UNH 1, PC 1.

3rd Period - 19:30. UNH Goal: Dan Correale (2nd goal of the season).
Assists: Grayson Downing (10th assist of season), Trevor van Riemsdyk (14th assist of season)

At the start of the third period, UNH had 1:18 left on a power play. Grayson Downing worked the puck down low behind Gillies and sent a pass around the dasher out to TvR at the right point.

TvR smartly sent the puck right back around the dasher to Downing still positioned behind the PC net.

Freshman Dan Correale crashed the net from the corner to the left of Gillies and Downing sent a backhand pass in his direction.

Defenseman Steven Shamanski briefly intercepted the pass but Correale stole it from him and beat Gillies 5-hole with a wrister from the top of the crease. UNH 2, PC 1.

3rd Period - 14:55. Providence Goal: Nick Saracino (4th of season).

With 16:20 left in regulation, PC broke into the UNH on a 3-on-2. Dan Correale hustled back to catch up with Ross Mauermann, the third rushing forward but didn't reach him in time. As Maurmann fired a shot on DeSmith, Correale slashed him and was sent to the box.

Once again, UNH sent Kostolansky and Hardowa out on the first penalty kill unit along with Henrion and Sorkin. Kostolansky blocked a shot and the 1st unit did not allow a SOG.

UNH changed its PK unit with 1:35 left in the powerplay. Knodel, Pesce, Block and Speelman came onto the ice.

After Speelman cleared the puck, PC carried the puck into the UNH zone and set up. This time, Knodel and Pesce were initially positioned properly in front of DeSmith to his left and right.

As they had during their first power play goal, PC worked the puck down below the goal line in the corner to the left of DeSmith. This time, it was Saracino who was by himself deep in the corner.

Saracino skated the puck up to the top of the faceoff circle and Knodel left his position in front of DeSmith and tried to skate out to Saracino.

Saracino sent a pass which eluded Knodel and went to Luke who had moved to the same, deadly spot on the goalline in the corner to DeSmith's left.

With Knodel out of position, Pesce tried to skate across to the corner but Luke centered a pass to Paul de Jersey. Knodel tried to drape over de Jersey from behind but did not stop de Jersey's backhand shot.

DeSmith made the initial save but left the rebound in the crease and Saracino banged it home. UNH 2, PC 2.

3rd Period - 10:25. Providence Goal: Nick Saracino (5th of season).

The go ahead goal by Providence began with a harmless dump into the UNH zone. PC was initiating a line change. Pesce tried to jump and catch the puck but it got over his head and he briefly fell down.

The puck bounced off the backwall behind DeSmith and to his right. In an attempt to cover for Pesce, Knodel skated over from his position to the left of DeSmith and lifted the stick of Noel Acciari along the backwall. By then, Pesce had recovered and tried to pass the loose puck to Matt Willows in the corner to DeSmith's right.

Willows was unable to control the pass and it went to Drew Brown deep in the corner. Brown made a cross-ice pass to Saracino in the high slot.

Saracino sent a 3/4 slap shot past DeSmith who was partially screened by Acciari who had gotten around Knodel to the front of the net. PC 3, UNH 2.

3rd Period - 6:19. A Borderline Miraculous Save by Gillies

A few minutes after PC went ahead, Jon Gillies robbed Kevin Goumas of the tying goal.

John Henrion gathered the puck in the corner to the left of Gillies and made a diagonal pass to Knodel at the midpoint of the blueline. Knodel ripped a slap shot and Gillies made the initial save with his left leg pad.

Meanwhile, Kevin Goumas was parked at the side of the crease to Gillies left. Goumas scooped up the rebound and lifted the puck toward the top shelf.

Somehow, Gillies reached behind him and caught the puck before it crossed the goal line. A replay of this save of the season has shown up on youtube.

3rd Period - 3:26. UNH Goal: Scott Pavelski (3rd goal of the season).
Assists: Casey Thrush (8th assist of season), Maxim Gaudreault (4th assist of season)

UNH would finally claw their way back to a tie late in regulation thanks to gritty work by the 4th line of Thrush-Pavelski-Gaudreault.

Casey Thrush forced his way behind the PC goal but had the puck bumped off his stick by Shamanski. Maxim Gaudreault picked up the loose puck in the corner to Gillies' left and fed Connor Hardowa at the left point.

Hardowa sent a wrister toward the net as Pavelski and Thrush battled for position in front of Gillies. Pavelski redirected the shot just wide of Gillies.

Gaudreault, with Shamanski hounding him, managed to leave the puck behind the net for Thrush who raced around the back of the net and collected the puck.

Thrush made a soft, centering pass to senior Scott Pavelski all alone in front of Gillies. Pavelski lifted a wrist shot just over Gillies right leg pad as he sprawled on the ice.

There was some justice in UNH scoring the tying goal on a play set up behind the opposing goalie. UNH 3, PC 3.

With 1 and 1/2 minutes left in regulation, Matt Willows was called for tripping in the neutral zone. Thanks to several outstanding defensive plays by Brett Kostolansky, UNH killed off the penalty.

Neither team scored in overtime. Final Shots on Goal: UNH 44, PC 42.

Points of Interest

~ Video highlights of the game are available from hockeyeastonline.

~ With the tie, UNH moves to within 1 point of BC for the top spot in Hockey East. UNH and Merrimack are tied for 2nd place with 24 points. Providence moves into a tie for 3rd place with Boston University (21 points).

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