Sunday, March 31, 2013

Without Offensive Core, UNH Bows to Lowell

NCAA Northeast Regional MVP Connor Hellebuyck
(Photo: Mike Lowry)

MANCHESTER, NH - To defeat the stingy defensive style of the UMass-Lowell Riverhawks, a team needs all of its top offensive weapons. With top-line center Grayson Downing and second-line center Kevin Goumas out with concussions, the UNH Wildcats made a valiant effort to compete with the hottest team in NCAA hockey. But in the end, UNH was unable to get the puck past UML's freshman goalie Connor Hellebuyck and dropped a 2-0 decision.

Right up until the last minute of the second period, UNH and Lowell were locked in a laborious, defensive battle with neither team scoring. The Riverhawks have become the masters of the neutral zone trap which clogs the center of the ice with all 5 players. It effectively limited UNH's opportunities to move the puck quickly across the red line or attack the UML zone with 2 or 3-man rushes. The UNH forwards were forced to dump the puck deep into the UML end and chase after it.

For its part, UNH was effectively limiting UML to isolated shots on goal. The UNH defensemen and backchecking forwards were not allowing UML to transition into the zone with odd-man rushes. When UML generated a shot, it was either blocked by a UNH defender or, when the puck got through to sophomore goalie Casey DeSmith, the defense cleared UML players and the puck away from the front of the net. With a minute left in Period 2, UNH had only managed to post 15 shots on goal while UML had only 17 SOG.

The Turning Point
With 50 seconds remaining in the second period, UML dumped the puck around the dasher to Casey DeSmith's left. UML forward Adam Chapie stopped the puck on the backboard and senior defensive stalwart Brett Kostolansky pinned him to the boards. Chapie kicked the puck to Scott Wilson who had joined him behind the UNH net.

Chapie and Wilson exchanged passes, trying to elude Kostolansky, and Chapie slid to the bottom of the faceoff circle to DeSmith's left. At that point, UNH was in a solid defensive position with 4 players - Kostolansky, senior captain Connor Hardowa, Dalton Speelman and Nick Sorkin - surrounding the net. Chapie shot a quick wrister which DeSmith saved and Hardowa backhanded out to the point. Defenseman Zack Kamrass fired a wrist shot from the top of the faceoff circle to DeSmith's right but the puck went wide of the net, around the dasher and back out to top of the faceoff circle to DeSmith's left.

Right defenseman Chad Ruhwedel flicked a shot toward the net and UNH sophomore Casey Thrush blocked it with his skate. The puck caromed behind the UNH net and Wilson stretched as far as he could to touch the puck. At that point, Hardowa was protecting the right crease. Both Hardowa and Wilson reached for the loose puck and Wilson just barely tapped the puck off Hardowa's stick.

To win, a team needs to get the bounces and this was UML's turn. The puck trickled to the front of the net. Kostolansky smothered forward Michael Fallon as he attempted to get to the loose puck. Wilson swatted at it with his backhand and DeSmith made the initial save. Fallon, who had been knocked over by Kostolansky, fell into Wilson knocking him over. But as Wilson was falling down, he reached for the loose puck and swept a forehand shot just past DeSmith's flashing, right skate. It was Wilson's outstanding individual effort which put UML right where it wanted to be.

Entering the third period, the cards were stacked in UML's favor. They had a one goal lead and the hottest goalie in NCAA hockey on its side of the ledger. Add to that a clingy, smothering defensive scheme and UNH was facing an uphill battle.

When it comes to moving the puck through the neutral zone and creating scoring opportunities in the opposition's end, Grayson Downing and Kevin Goumas are UNH's two most creative forwards. Downing succeeds with deft passes and quick movements around opponents. Goumas jumps on loose pucks and streaks to the nearest open swath of ice. Goumas lead UNH with 32 assists and Downing added 16 more (the second highest among UNH forwards). Until they were knocked out by Denver, Goumas had scored 10 goals and Downing had 15.

A Determined UNH Effort
Senior leaders John Henrion and Austin Block stepped up with 4 and 3 shots on goal, respectively, and sophomore Casey Thrush fired 3 SOG. Junior Jeff Silengo, filling in for Downing on the first line, played well generating 2 SOG and winning several faceoffs. Fellow junior Nick Sorkin also did well filling in for Goumas on the second line. He helped his linemates Dalton Speelman (2 SOG) and Henrion get into positions to generate shots. Silengo and Sorkin had only returned to the lineup recently after recovering from injuries of their own. Silengo missed 7 games with a concussion and was playing in his 4th game since his return. Sorkin was out a total of 9 games with a broken bone in his hand and had not played in the final two games against Providence in the Hockey East Quarterfinals.

UNH's strategy to compensate for Downing and Goumas' absence also included having their defensemen jump into the offense. The pairing of the offensively-gifted Trevor van Riemsdyk and Brett Pesce lead to crisp passes and the occasional rush up ice. TvR also had 2 shots on goal and second-year defenseman Eric Knodel excelled with 4 SOG.

Credit UMass-Lowell's disciplined play for allowing only one UNH power play. Without Goumas and Downing on the first power play unit, UNH managed one shot on goal and UML cleared the puck a few times.

The Final Push
In the third period, UNH outshot UML 7-2. With 6:15 left in the game, the reunited "Energy Line" of Dan Correale-Jay Camper-Matt Willows flew through the neutral zone. Correale raced up the left wing with the puck and crossed the UML blueline. Correale fed a pass between the legs of a UML defender to Willows at the faceoff dot to the right of Hellebuyck. Willows attempted to pass back to freshman defenseman Brett Pesce who had jumped into the rush. The puck was just barely deflected by Scott Wilson back out toward the blueline.

With all of the energy line plus Pesce caught deep in the zone, Adam Chapie broke out on a 1-on-1 rush against Kostolansky. Chapie tried to break around the right side of Kostolansky when they reached the faceoff circle to DeSmith's right. Kostolansky, who had been back-skating all the way from the redline, pivoted to stay with Chapie. Kostolansky stretched to poke-check the puck wide of the UNH net but Chapie extended a couple inches further and backhanded the puck at the goal. DeSmith was effectively hugging the post and tried to poke the puck away with his stick but it went under his right armpit for the insurance goal.

With just under 3 minutes left in their season, UNH pulled Casey DeSmith for an extra attacker. UNH effectively kept the puck in the UML zone for much of the final 2 and 1/2 minutes and fired over 15 shots at the UML goal. Hellebuyck made a handful of solid saves and that was it. Final Score: UML 2, UNH 1.

UML advances to the Frozen Four in Pittsburgh for the first time in the school's history. UNH returned to the Elite Eight for the 4th time in the last 5 seasons. With a seasoned-group of freshmen, sophomores, and juniors returning next season and a talented group of incoming recruits, UNH will aim to return to the NCAA Tournament for the 19th time in the last 23 years.

Video highlights of the game and post-game news conferences are available at

THANK YOU SENIORS Austin Block, Greg Burke, Connor Hardowa, John Henrion, Brett Kostolansky, and Scott Pavelski for a Tremendous 4 Seasons

Saturday, March 30, 2013

UNH Eliminates Denver 5-2

Tale of the Scoreboard, UNH Thumps DU (Photo: Mike Lowry)

Time to retire the "One and Done" label. Four times in the last 5 years, the UNH Wildcats have qualified for the NCAA Tournament and each time they have won the opening game. This time around, it was at the expense of the Denver University Pioneers. Before Friday night, UNH's first round victims were North Dakota in 2009, Cornell in 2010, and Miami in 2011.

UNH #1 Star - Casey Thrush (Photo: Mike Lowry)
The fortunes of UNH in the second half of the season have been poor when giving up the first goal of the game. Against Denver, it happened again just 2 minutes and 24 seconds into the game. But this time around, Casey Thrush answered with one of the most important goals of the 2012-13 season. In his first NCAA tournament, the sophomore left winger played an inspired game. He put it into a gear that I hadn't seen before. On the strength of 2 goals, 4 shots on goal, and a +/- rating of +2, Thrush gets my #1 UNH star.

Casey Thrush's outstanding performance was exemplified by a play on which he didn't score or even get a shot on goal. With the game tied at 2 and a little over two minutes left in the second period, Thrush zipped through the neutral zone and across the midpoint of the DU blueline. He blew by both DU defenders and was tripped from behind. On the ensuing power play, senior Brett Kostolansky fired a 3/4 slap shot from high slot and Dalton Speelman buried the rebound. It turned out to be the game-winning goal.

UNH #2 Star - John Henrion (Photo: Mike Lowry)
Much of UNH's success this season can be credited to career seasons by seniors John Henrion (15 goals) and Austin Block (15 goals). On this night, both Block and Henrion fired 9 shots on goal. One of Block's shots came on a breakaway set up by Trevor van Riemsdyk's long pass through the neutral zone with 8 minutes left in the game. Block's tried to beat DU goalie Juho Olkinuora on his blocker side by the save was made.

John Henrion earns the #2 UNH Star of the Game in part for scoring the third-period goal that put the game out of reach. The scoring play was set in motion by an outstanding rush into the DU zone by second-year defenseman Justin Agosta. He carried the puck to the faceoff circle to Olkinuora's right and fed a diagonal pass to Henrion in the opposite faceoff circle. Henrion buried it with one of his laser wrist shots. UNH 4, DU 2.

UNH #3 Star - Casey DeSmith (Photo: Mike Lowry)
Way back at Thanksgiving time, sophomore goalie Casey DeSmith had great difficulty getting on track in the Mile-High City. DeSmith relinquished 3 goals on only 5 shots in the first 9 minutes of the game against Denver. He was replaced by junior Jeff Wyer who went on to backstop a dramatic, come-from-behind, 6-4 victory for UNH. On Friday night, DeSmith got his revenge.

After giving up 2 goals in the first period on plays which began with odd bounces of the puck off the boards, DeSmith shut down the Pioneers. He ended up making 31 saves on 33 shots and was clearly energized in the final period as DU pressed to get back in the game. This was the Casey DeSmith who registered three consecutive shutouts in November and was the best goalie in Hockey East over the first half of the season. In first appearance on the big stage of the NCAA tournament, DeSmith came up big. He gets the #3 UNH Star of the game.

Will Kevin Goumas Play Against Lowell? (Photo: Mike Lowry)
When UNH embarrassed Denver in front of their home crowd at Thanksgiving time, both Grayson Downing and Kevin Goumas scored hat tricks. On Friday night, DU set out to slow both of them down. Downing ended up getting a cut on his chin after a big hit in 2nd period. Goumas got it even worse.

Throughout the first two periods, DU was hitting Goumas hard almost every time he tried to carry the puck through center ice or around the DU zone. Less than a minute into the 3rd period. DU centerman Nick Shore creamed Goumas in neutral ice in front of the penalty box. Goumas dropped on all fours (see photo) and this time, there was no embellishment. He stayed down for several minutes and was evaluated on the ice to rule out a concussion. Eventually he slowly worked his way to the bench and was continually monitored by the UNH trainer.

Shore left the game with a well-earned, 5-minute major, contact to the head penalty. It was an undisciplined penalty which allowed UNH to maintain the momentum it had gained late in the second period. Although UNH did not score during the major penalty, they built up a 36-25 advantage in shots on goal by the time Henrion scored the Wildcats' fourth goal.

For the remainder of the third period, Kevin Goumas was alternately standing and sitting at the end of the UNH bench. He did skate across the ice to the penalty box to serve a penalty but he did not play for the remainder of the game. As of post time, his status for Saturday's game against UMass-Lowell had not been publicized. Lowell defeated Wisconsin 6-1 in the opening game of the evening. UNH defeated Lowell three times in the first half of the season. Lowell improved markedly after that, winning both the Hockey East regular season title and the HE Playoffs. Game time for Saturday is 6:30 at the Verizon Wireless Arena.

Video highlights from

Post-game, UNH news conference.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Former UNH Captain Josh Ciocco Runs for Charity

It's NCAA Tournament time. UNH hockey players are aiming for peak performance on the road to Manchester, and hopefully, Pittsburgh. Former UNH Captain Josh Ciocco remembers what it's all about. In his four seasons at UNH, Ciocco and the Wildcats played in the NCAA tournament every year.

This year, as the ice on the ponds is melting and the trees are starting to bud, Josh Ciocco is on a road of his own. On Monday, April 15th Josh will run the first marathon of his life. Not just any marathon, the Boston Marathon.

As many UNH fans know, Josh is the Assistant Coach of the Milton Academy varsity hockey team and prime contributor to the U.S. Hockey Report - the premier amateur hockey publication. So what's a hockey player - built to make quick stops and starts and sprint within the confines of a hockey rink - doing in a marathon? It's all for a great cause, the Joe Andruzzi Foundation to Beat Cancer. Andruzzi, the former offensive lineman for the New England Patriots, battled and beat lymphoma in 2007. Joe and his wife Jen run the Joe Andruzzi Foundation, which provides financial assistance for patients and their families as well as funding pediatric brain cancer research.

Supporting Josh's effort and contributing to the Joe Andruzzi Foundation couldn't be easier. Simply go to Josh Ciocco's Fundraisers and donate whatever you can. All contributions are fully tax deductible.

Recently, I had an opportunity to interview Josh about his upcoming marathon for charity. He also generously provided an analysis of what it takes to succeed in the NCAA Tournament and UNH's chances.

Mike Lowry ("C-H-C"): UNH Hockey fans will be interested to know that you will be running the Boston Marathon to raise funds for the JOE ANDRUZZI FOUNDATION INC. Would you tell us a little about this charity and how you got involved with them?
  Josh Ciocco:  In a nutshell, the Joe Andruzzi Foundation raises money for families dealing with economic hardships due to the financial burdens associated with cancer treatments. Dealing with the mental and physical challenge of cancer is more than enough for any individual and their family members---adding financial burdens into the mix is simply devastating for some families.

Mike Lowry: How is your training for the Marathon coming along?
Josh Ciocco: Marathon training is extremely time consuming. I have been running to stay fit since I stopped playing, but usually 3-5 miles at a time. You really have to budget a lot of time to prep for a marathon---the long runs take up to 3 hours!
I have had my ups and downs. Sometimes I run 15 miles and feel great. The next week I will run about the same distance and I can barely walk by the end of the run. It is a mental and physical grind for sure.

Josh Ciocco (Photo:
Lowry: During your 4 years at UNH, the team qualified for the NCAA Tournament every year. Your sophomore season (2004-05), the Wildcats beat Harvard in the opening round but then lost a close one to Denver - the eventual NCAA Champion. The other three years, UNH didn't win in the first round. In general, what does it take for a team to advance to the Frozen Four?
Ciocco: Three things: You have to be good, you have to have goaltending, and you have to be lucky.
Personally, I do not like the single game elimination format. I think you need a minimum best of three to figure out who the best team really is. Anything can happen in a single elimination game---this adds to the excitement of the game, which is what the NCAA likes about the format.
I think if the tournament was a best of three series you would see more consistency and the best teams would be rewarded. It is rare that the best team in college hockey actually wins the whole thing---it happens, but not all the time.

Lowry: Your senior year at UNH, you captained a team that rose to #1 in late January (2007) and entered the NCAA tournament as the 3rd-ranked team. This year's team also rose to #1 midseason but slowly moved down to #10 in the second half. Do you see similarities and differences between your team and the current Wildcats squad? For UNH to reach the Frozen Four this season, what will be their keys to success?
Ciocco: Well, I am not in the locker room of the current team so I cannot speak of the challenges they have faced in the second half of the season. My senior year the team was really rolling and we got hit with some injuries to key players.
I remember we lost Mike Radja (1st line center) for about a month, Jacob Micflikier (1st line winger) for like 3 weeks, and Brett Hemingway (1st line winger) for the hockey east tournament games. It was hard to get things rolling because the lines were constantly shifting.
I remember the NCAA game against Miami well—we were the better team, outplayed them, but their goalie had a good day. Not much you can do.
The bottom line is UNH has made it to the tournament again. They have enough talent to beat anyone. The team who gets the momentum first will likely win.
DeSmith has to be good. The bottom line is DeSmith was the top goalie in Hockey East the first half of the year. The second half the top goalies were Gillies and Hellebuyck. If DeSmith is the best goalie in the tournament, UNH will go far---if he isn’t, they won’t go far.
It’s a lot of pressure, but that is the reality of single elimination games. You live and die by your goaltending—just like in football you won’t go anywhere without a quarterback and in baseball your pitcher can win and lose you a game.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

UNH Recruit Joe Masonius Makes US NTDP

UNH Recruit Joe Masonius at Empire
All-Star Game (Photo: Mike Lowry)

17-year-old UNH recruit Joe Masonius (DOB: 2/17/1997) has made the USA Hockey National Team Development Program.

Here's a profile of the defenseman from Spring Lake, New Jersey who is committed to play for UNH in the Fall of 2015. When I saw him play at the Empire Junior Hockey League All-Star game in early February, these are the skills that stood out:

~ Agility with the puck - On one play, Masonius carried the puck into the neutral zone and eluded a defender with a tight, spin move near the red line. During another sequence, he fired a slap shot while moving backwards away from the net.

~ End-to-end rushes - In the first period (the All-Stars played two, 25-minute periods), Masonius gathered the puck behind his own net and carried it through the three zones. All 5 opposing players took a crack at impeding his progress and he eluded all of them. He made a similar play in the second period stick-handling past a couple opponents.

~ First pass out of the defensive zone - A few times, Masonius made perfect lead passes from the faceoff circle in his own end to a forward breaking into the neutral zone. On one particularly eye-opening play, Masonius sent a teammate in on a breakaway. Masonius threaded a pass from just inside his zone and connected with his teammate positioned near the opposition's blueline.

~ Play-making in the offensive zone - During one sequence, Masonius carried the puck behind the opponent's net, stopped, then passed to a teammate in the faceoff circle for a shot on goal.

~ Physical play - All-Star games tend to be devoid of body checks. However, Masonius stood an opposing forward up with a clean body check just as the skater attempted to cross the blueline into Masonius' end.

UNH Recruits Update: March-25-2013

News Release

Joe Masonius has made the USA Hockey National Team Development Program. More details to follow.

Playoff Edition I

British Columbia Hockey League
Four UNH Recruits recently completed their seasons in the BCHL. Three played for teams that advanced to the BCHL Playoffs.
Michael McNicholas
Prior to breaking a bone in his lower leg on January 7th, McNicholas was the third leading scorer on the Nanaimo Clippers. In 35 games, he had posted 32 points including 10 goals. His 22 assists put him in 8th place among all BCHL players.

Nearly 9 weeks after breaking his leg, McNicholas returned to the Clippers' lineup for the first game of the playoffs against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs. Nanaimo won Game 1 and McNicholas assisted on the game-winning goal. After winning the first two games, the Clippers lost three in a row and were eliminated from the playoffs by Alberni Valley. McNicholas played in 4 games.

Dylan Chanter.
In his second season in the BCHL, 2014 recruit Dylan Chanter scored 9 goals, an increase of 7 over his rookie year. The 17-year-old defenseman finished the regular season with 20 points, including 3 power play goals.

Chanter and the Merritt Centennials played the West Kelowna Warriors in the opening round of the playoffs. Chanter scored a power play goal in Merritt's only win of the series. West Kelowna won 4 games and advanced to the next round.

Adam Clark.
2014 recruit Adam Clark became the starting goaltender for the Salmon Arm SilverBacks in his second season in the league. In 37 games, Clark won 18, lost 16, and helped the SilverBacks return to the playoffs after missing them in the 2011-12 season. Clark's save percentage of .914 was the 8th best among all BCHL goalies.

In the opening round of the playoffs, Salmon Arm faced the Penticton Vees - a team which earned 17 more points than the SilverBacks during the regular season (75 pts vs. 58). The Vees swept the playoff series in 4 games. Adam Clark played the first two periods of Game 1 and all of Game 4. Over the 5 periods of play, Clark faced 52 shots on goal and allowed 9 goals. Angus Redmond, the SilverBacks' backup goalie, did not fair much better, giving up 7 goals on 63 SOG.

Cam Marks
In his rookie season with the Coquitlam Express, 17-year-old defenseman Cam Marks scored 2 goals and added 4 assists in 40 games. Midseason, Marks missed 15 games with a broken bone in his foot. Coquitlam did not qualify for the BCHL playoffs.

Eastern Junior Hockey League
The Jersey Hitmen won the 2013 EJHL Championship on March 15th defeating the Islanders Hockey Club in the best of 3 championship round. It was the third time in 5 years that the Hitmen have won the Dineen Cup. The last time the Hitmen were EJHL Champions was the 2010-11 season when current UNH sophomore Matt Willows was the team's and the league's leading scorer.

Defenseman Joe Masonius, who just turned 16 on Feb. 17th, played the final 10 games of the EJHL Hitmen's regular season and scored a goal and 2 assists. Masonius also played in the deciding game of the EJHL playoffs with the victorious Hitmen. Forward Jordan Masters has fully recovered from a lower body injury which limited his playing time with the Hitmen during the regular season. He was a healthy scratch in the EJHL playoffs.

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 LancersUSHL549263539
Tyler Kelleher  (F)USA U18 TeamUSHL2811102112
USA U18 TeamNCAA211192016
Dylan Maller  (D)Tri-City StormUSHL5614557
Jordan Masters  (F)Jersey HitmenEJHL1835834
Andrew Poturalski (F)Cedar RapidsUSHL4611193041
2013 or '14 Recruit
Michael McNicholas  (F)Nanaimo ClippersBCHL351022326
2014 Recruits
Dylan Chanter  (D)Merritt CentsBCHL569112031
Adam Clark  (G)Salmon ArmBCHL3718W16L2.89.914
Shane Eiserman  (F)USA U18 TeamUSHL22561127
USA U18 TeamNCAA213368
Cam Marks  (D)Coquitlam ExpressBCHL402468
2014 or '15 Recruit
Jason Kalinowski  (F)Salisbury Prep NEPSHC23 918 27-
2015 Recruits
Warren Foegele  (F)St. Andrews CollegeCISAA/MPHL2816203632
Charlie Kelleher  (F)Junior Bruins U18USEHL5411142513
Joseph Masonius  (D)Jersey HitmenEmpJHL175121724
Jersey HitmenEJHL1012335
U18 PlayoffsUSEHL21012
Danny Tirone  (G)Loomis ChaffeeNEPSHC2412W11L1T.914
2015 or '16 Recruit
Liam Darcy  (D)Berwick Academy NEPSHC27 715 22-
Patrick Grasso (F)Des MoinesUSHL111010
Omaha Lancers U16NAPHL221321348
Brendan van Riemsdyk (F)Jersey Devils U16AYHL2418133154
Christian BrothersJersey Prep23163046-
PlayoffsJersey Prep3516-

News & Notes

United States Hockey League:

~ The USHL teams have only 6 or 7 games remaining in the regular season. The top 4 teams in the Eastern and Western Conferences qualify for the USHL Playoffs. Here's how the teams with UNH recruits stand:
Western Conference:
Omaha Lancers (Matias Cleland) - 5th place, 16 points ahead of 7th place team.
Tri-City Storm (Dylan Maller) - 6th place, 2 points ahead of 7th place team.
Eastern Conference:
Cedar Rapids Rough Riders (Andrew Poturalski) - 6th place, 4 points ahead of 7th place team.
Team USA* (Tyler Kelleher & Shane Eiserman) - 8th place, 6 points behind of 6th place team.
* The Team USA games in the USHL are divided between the US NTDP U18 and U17 teams. The U18 team, who Kelleher and Eiserman play for, have only 2 USHL games remaining in the regular season, while the U17 team has 6 games left.

~ On March 22nd, 16-year-old Patrick Grasso scored his first USHL goal as the Des Moines Buccaneers dropped a 5-6 decision to the Tri-City Storm. Grasso has played 11 games with the Bucs this season as an affiliate player.

USA Hockey National Team Development Program

~ Over the last several days, the US NTDP held its evaluation camp for the top American players born in 1997. 2015 UNH recruits Charlie Kelleher and Joe Masonius participated in the camp. Look for a report on their play in a future "UNH Recruits Update".

Monday, March 25, 2013

UNH Recruit Profile: Goalie Danny Tirone

Danny Tirone (Photo:

One of the premiere goalies in prep school hockey has committed to play for the University of New Hampshire. 18-year-old Danny Tirone (DOB: 6/3/1994), the 5'11", 180 lbs. netminder and co-captain for the Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, Connecticut, recently completed an award-winning season. Tirone (Pronounced Ti-row-knee) was in goal for 24 of Loomis' 25 games and played nearly every minute for the Pelicans (1253 out of 1340 total minutes). He posted an impressive .933 save percentage which was 3rd-best among all New England Prep School goalies. He allowed only 1 goal in 9 games and 2 or fewer goals in 12.

UNH's Newest Recruit Danny Tirone
For his banner senior season, Danny Tirone was selected to the First Team of the All-New England team by the NE Prep School Ice Hockey Coaches. A couple weeks ago, Tirone earned the Prep School Player of the Year Award from U.S. Hockey Report. Former USHR Prep Players of the Year have included Brian Hart, Kevin Hayes and Chris Kreider. In his junior year, Tirone missed 17 out of 25 games with an injury and Loomis Chaffee finished with a record of 2-23-0. This season, with Tirone in net, they improved to 13-11-1 and just missed qualifying for the NE Prep Large School Tournament.

Danny Tirone played his fall season hockey with the Connecticut Wolf Pack U18 Midget Major Elite team based in Cromwell. The Wolf Pack compiled a record of 20-8-4 and are currently ranked 13th among USA Midget U18 teams. Tirone's record was 8-3-1 with a 1.53 Goals Against Average.

In his sophomore year, Tirone ventured from his home in Cromwell, CT to attend the prestigious Shattuck-St. Mary's School in Faribault, MN. Tirone split the goaltending duties for the U16 team with Anthony Brodeur, son of legend Martin Brodeur. Tirone played in 27 games for Shattuck-St. Mary's and had a winning record of 24-2-1. His 1.88 GAA and .922 Save% was somewhat better than Brodeur's.

For the last few years, Tirone has trained with Goalie Development Services (GDS) which is based at the Ice Den Arena in Hooksett, NH. Mike Buckley, the President and Head Instructor at GDS, is also the goalie coach for UNH.

Over the weekend, I had an opportunity to interview Danny Tirone, 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?
  Danny Tirone:  There were so many reasons why I decided UNH was the right place for me. I always wanted to play Hockey East, so that was a huge bonus for me. I really liked the campus and the town. I felt that the community was certainly a good fit for me.
UNH has always been in the hunt for a national championship and I felt that UNH would give me the best chance to be on a championship team. The tradition of UNH hockey is so strong and I could feel it when I watched a game on my visit. I had such a fantastic experience just watching a game in the “Whitt” that I can only imagine playing in it!

  Mike Lowry:  What other college programs were you considering?
Danny Tirone:  I was also considering the University of Vermont and Harvard, but when it came time to make a decision, UNH really stood out and made it an easy choice for me.

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?
  Tirone:  Yes, the UNH coaches and I have agreed that I will be joining the team as a freshman in the fall of 2015.

Lowry:  You just completed a very successful season as the captain of the Loomis-Chaffee team. After you graduate this spring, do you plan on playing junior hockey? If so, what leagues would you consider playing in?
Tirone:  Yes, I plan on playing junior hockey for the next two years before I arrive at UNH. I think right now I am mostly looking at the USHL. I have heard excellent remarks about the league and I have quite a few friends who have had successful careers in the USHL. Some other leagues that I would consider playing in are the BCHL and the EJHL.

Lowry:  Please describe your training experiences at the Goalie Development Services (GDS). Which goalie instructor(s) do you currently work with?
Tirone:  I have trained with GDS since the summer of 2010. The whole time I have been training with the founder of GDS, Mike Buckley. I work with Mike three times a week in the summer and numerous times throughout the season.
Since I started training with Mike, I have seen all areas of my game improve. Mike has helped me not only increase my physical game on the ice by making me more efficient and technically sound, but he has also helped me reach new levels when it comes to my focus and mental approach to the game.

Lowry:   What are the strongest aspects of your goaltending skills and what areas are you working to improve?
Tirone:  I think that the strongest aspects of my goaltending skills are my speed, my athleticism, and my overall compete level when I am in the net. I feel that it is always important to be working to improve both strengths and weaknesses.
I am always trying to get faster and more powerful. Lately, I have been working to improve my ability to read the play, my aggressiveness on the shooter, and efficiency in my movements throughout the crease.

Lowry: What are your academic strengths? Is there a major course of study you would like to pursue when you get to UNH?
Tirone:  Throughout high school, I have done well in my science classes. This year I have been taking Anatomy and have really enjoyed the class and a lot of the information we have studied has appealed to me. Over the past few years I developed an interest in Kinesiology. UNH offers Kinesiology as a major, which is another reason why I felt the school would be a great fit for me.

Adam Clark, currently the goalie for the Salmon Arm SilverBacks of the British Columbia Hockey League, is on target to enroll at UNH in the Fall of 2014. With Danny Tirone coming in the Fall of 2015, UNH will have a formidable goalie tandem through the end of the decade.

Monday, March 18, 2013

UNH Out of Hockey East Tourney, Sets Sights on NCAA's

Gillies' Best Friend: Kostolansky Hits Post (Photo: Mike Lowry)

PROVIDENCE, RI - On the strength of two power play goals in 44 seconds, Providence College came from behind to defeat UNH 3-2 in the rubber game of the best-of-three, Hockey East Quarterfinals series. Entering the game, the immediate goal for both teams was earning a trip to the semifinals next weekend at the TD Bank Garden and a chance to win the Hockey East Championship. For the second year in a row, PC advances to the Semis and UNH does not.

Of course, the other major prize in play on Sunday was an invitation to the NCAA Tournament which begins on March 29th. If PC had lost to UNH, they would have lost any chance of playing in the NCAA's. PC's only clear path to the national tournament is to win the Hockey East Championship (as a result of an automatic bid). Providence is currently tied for 16th in the national PairWise Rankings. If they win their Hockey East semifinal matchup against UMass-Lowell next Friday but lose in the Championship game, then they could very well be on the outside of the NCAA Tournament looking in.

UNH, on the other hand, entered yesterday's game knowing they had a good chance of going to the NCAA's, even if they lost to PC. After the loss, UNH is still in 8th place in the PairWise Rankings. According to David Hendrickson of USCHO, "New Hampshire can (almost certainly) expect an NCAA tournament berth." Since UNH is the host school for the NCAA Northeast Regionals in Manchester, they would play the opening round of the NCAA's at the Verizon Wireless Arena.

Game Summary

First Period:
PC came out of the gate on the attack. Their bread-and-butter offensive strategy is to enter the UNH zone, preferably with three attackers, and converge on the front of the net. It got them on the scoreboard just a minute and a half into the game. Mark Jankowski lead a 3-on-2 rush across the UNH blueline to the top of the slot. He made a nifty backhand pass to his linemate Tim Schaller on the right wing. Eric Knodel and John Henrion converged on Schaller leaving Jankowski open in front of Casey DeSmith. Schaller threaded a perfect backhand feed to Jankowski for a one-timer over DeSmith's left leg pad. PC 1, UNH 0.

Over the last half of the season, UNH has lost more than they have won when they've given up the first goal of the game. This was not the start they wanted. PC continued the pressure building up a 7-1 advantage in shots on goal midway through the period. Following an interference penalty to Grayson Downing at 10:03, Derek Army hit the post from just below the hash marks to DeSmith's left.

UNH started to gain a bit of momentum on their second power play of the opening stanza. Connor Hardowa passed to Brett Kostolansky near the middle of the blueline. Kostolansky blasted a slap shot which beat PC goalie Jon Gillies over his glove but hit the post (see photo above).

With 3 minutes left in Period 1, Jeff Silengo won a faceoff to the right of Gillies and passed to John Henrion on the left boards. Henrion fired a sharp angle shot that Gillies paddled behind the net. The entire Thrush-Silengo-Henrion went below the goal line and Silengo backhanded a pass to Trevor van Riemsdyk at the right point. TvR snapped a low wrist shot, Gillies stopped it but left the rebound in the crease. Henrion poked at the puck once, Gillies kicked it out with his left leg, and Henrion buried the rebound five-hole. It was Henrion's 14th goal of the season. UNH 1, PC 1. Shots on Goal: UNH 6, PC 11.

Second Period:
Beginning at 18:30 in the second period, UNH controlled the puck in the PC end for four consecutive line changes and tied the shots on goal at 12-12.

At 10:30, Jon Gillies made a flurry of outstanding saves. Henrion was sent in on a breakaway by a perfect, bank pass through the neutral zone from Casey Thrush. Henrion allowed the puck to move through the faceoff circle to Gillies left, then snapped a wrist shot in full-stride. Gillies just barely flashed his right leg pad out in time to redirect the puck to his right. The PC defenders failed to gather the puck and Jeff Silengo followed on with a slap shot from the midslot. Gillies stopped that one with his chest but the puck bounced into the low slot. Henrion pounced on it and wristed the puck past Gillies but Alex Velischek, positioned behind Gillies in the crease, shot it out of the zone.

With 10 minutes left in Period 2, UNH's pressure finally paid off. PC was called for an interference penalty and Coach Umile sent out what has become a productive power play unit - Block-Downing-Goumas up front, TvR on the right point and Eric Knodel on the left. Following a faceoff, they established the umbrella setup with TvR at the midpoint of the blueline, Goumas to his right and Knodel to his left. Goumas fed TvR who faked a slap shot but stopped his swing just before contacting the puck (a la Tiger Woods). TvR wound up again but deliberately aimed the puck at Grayson Downing's stick, resting on the ice just to Gillies left. Downing (15th goal) directed it home on one of the prettiest goals of the season. UNH 2, PC 1.

So, exactly halfway through the game, UNH had regained what they had lost in the opening minutes - a one-goal lead. They also had gained the momentum. Then, it all slipped away in a matter of minutes when UNH did two things they rarely do:
~ Commit three, consecutive penalties and
~ Give up two power play goals.

It all began with a slashing penalty to Kevin Goumas at 8:00. Austin Block almost turned the lump of coal into gold with a short-handed bid midway through the penalty. Block was sent in alone by another long-distance, bank pass through center ice, this time by Eric Knodel. Block gathered the puck in full-stride at the top of the faceoff circle to Gillies' left. Block snapped a low wrist shot aimed at Gillies' five-hole. Gillies tucked his right leg underneath himself and just barely directed the puck wide of the net. UNH killed off the penalty allowing only 1 SOG.

Only 34 seconds later, Connor Hardowa was called for an interference penalty as he knocked a PC player into the UNH net. Both teams drew an unusually high number of interference penalties in the game. Some tired legs resulting from 3 games in 3 days may have been a factor. In any event, UNH had to try to kill another penalty in short order - and they almost succeeded.

Providence's power play looked anemic as UNH killed off the first 1:48 of the penalty, only allowing one long distance shot on goal from the neutral zone. But then, just as TvR gained control of the puck behind the UNH net, Henrion stuck his stick between the legs of a PC player in front of DeSmith and flipped him forward onto the ice. The referee's arm went up but PC controlled the puck. Kevin Hart made a nice diagonal pass from the top of the faceoff circle to DeSmith's left down to Tim Shaller at the right faceoff dot. Schaller beat DeSmith with a pinpoint shot just over the blocker in the top corner of the net. PC 2, UNH 2.

And UNH's self-imposed travails weren't yet over. PC had a fresh power play opportunity. Less than a minute into the power play, Paul DeJersey executed a diagonal pass down to an open Nick Saracino to DeSmith's left. Saracino tried to redirect the puck into the net but DeSmith made a right pad save. The puck squirted out in front while DeSmith was sprawled on his stomach without his stick. Brett Pesce batted the puck away twice but three PC players were poking at it and Saracino finally lifted it into the net with a backhand shot. PC 3, UNH 2. Shots on Goal: UNH 21, PC 20.

Third Period:
UNH kept hustling in the final period and outshot PC 11 to 5.

With 7:30 remaining, Grayson Downing nearly tied it up but the post helped Gillies out one more time. Dalton Speelman carried the puck across the middle of the blueline into the PC zone. Two PC defenders covered him and he flipped a backhand pass to Downing coming down the left wing.

Downing collected the pass and snapped a wrist shot from the faceoff dot. The puck beat Gillies just to the right of his blocker but hit the post. The referees reviewed the video and confirmed that the puck didn't go in.

Final Shots on Goal: UNH 32, PC 25.

Points of Interest

~ Since the holiday break, UNH has lost 9 out 22 games. 6 of those loses have been by 1 goal.

~ In the latest USCHO Poll, UNH is ranked #10 in the nation.

~ Here are video highlights of the game from hockeyeastonline.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

UNH Evens Series with Providence

Casey DeSmith Steadies the Ship (Photo: Mike Lowry)

PROVIDENCE, RI - Facing elimination from the quarterfinals of the Hockey East Tournament, UNH needed to achieve something that had eluded them all season - a victory over Providence College. On the strength of sharp goaltending from Casey DeSmith and a hat trick from most improved player Matt Willows, UNH downed PC 4-1 at Schneider Arena on Saturday afternoon. The win sets up a winner-take-all game on Sunday at 4:30 (Broadcast by NESN).

In the first game on Friday, UNH outshot PC 37-24 and held a large edge in territorial play. As Providence Coach Nate Leaman said after the game: "I thought we were fortunate to get a win...We were on our heels a lot of the night." On Saturday, PC played a more complete game outshooting UNH 39-24. However, UNH scored the first two goals of the game, withstood heavy pressure in their own end after PC got to within one goal, and finished them off with a Jeff Silengo goal late in the final period.

UNH Stars of the Game

#1 Star - Matt Willows
~ Sophomore forward Matt Willows got limited icetime in the first half of the season playing in only 6 out of the first 17 games and posting 1 assist. That all began to change when the "Energy Line" of Willows, Jay Camper (center) and Dan Correale ( left wing) was formed in late December. Since then, Willows has played in 20 consecutive games, scored 8 goals, and added 4 assists. Two of his goals have been game-winners (including tonight's) and another was the tying goal against Boston College.

~ In late February, Willows began playing on a line with Kevin Goumas (along with Casey Thrush) in an effort to get Goumas the puck more often. Beginning March 2nd against UMass, Dan Correale joined Willows and Goumas, and they gelled right away.

~ Matt Willows' first two goals against PC demonstrated two prime ways to beat Jon Gillies - one of the best goalies in Hockey East and the backbone of PC.

~ With a little less than 5 minutes left in the first period, Willows bulled his way across the Providence blueline with the puck. When confronted by a PC defender, Willows poked the puck up the side wall to Goumas. Goumas carried the puck along the halfwall to Gillies' left and fed Willows coming down the slot. Willows froze Gillies with a deke, shifted the puck to Gillies' left, and stuffed it behind him along the ice. UNH 1, PC 0.

~ On their first shift of the second period, the Willows-Goumas-Correale line found another way to beat Jon Gillies - this time with a backdoor feed. Their line carried the puck into the PC zone, Correale sent a bank-pass off the backboard behind Gillies to Goumas, who was on the goal line to Gillies' left.

Goumas threaded a cross-ice pass between Gillies and a PC defender to Willows who was wide open just below the faceoff dot to Gillies' right. Willows one-timed a wrister to the half open net. UNH 2, PC 0.

~ Willows third goal of the game was a wrist shot into an empty net with 1:37 left in the game.

~ As Willows' confidence and playing time have increased, he has shown himself to be a tenacious checker, deft passer, fast skater, and solid body checker. And he can put the puck in the net.

#2 Star - Casey DeSmith
~ At the end of the game on Friday night, Casey DeSmith's disappointment in his own performance was evident. He lead the handshake line, hurried through it, and skated to the runway before anyone else left the ice. On Saturday, he bounced back, making the routine saves and adding a few big ones.

~ From the beginning of the game, DeSmith was tracking the puck well and anticipating the angle of shots coming at him. For example, with about 3 minutes left in the first period, DeSmith moved quickly to his right to deflect a shot which was headed wide of the net.

~ With PC turning up the pressure in the UNH end in the third period, DeSmith made at least 4 Grade A saves.

~ In all, DeSmith made 38 saves which is his second highest total in the second half of the season.

#3 Star - Jeff Silengo
~ Junior center/right winger Jeff Silengo has been out of the UNH lineup since Feb. 22nd with concussion symptoms. On Saturday, UNH fans were reminded of Silengo's unique skill set.

~ Silengo is tall and has long arms. He is particularly adept at extending his stick to block passes and poke check the puck away from opposing skaters.

~ Silengo appears to win more faceoffs than he loses. His style is similar to former UNH All-American Trevor Smith. As Silengo swipes at the puck with his stick, he turns his hip into the faceoff opponent. This gives Silengo more room to gain control of the puck.

~ In the PC game on Saturday, Silengo was particularly effective at helping the UNH defensemen backcheck when the puck was below the dots in the UNH end. Immediately before Silengo scored the goal that put the game away for UNH with less than 3 minutes to play, PC was applying pressure in the UNH end.

Both Eric Knodel and Connor Hardowa skated into the corner to Casey DeSmith's left to cover the PC puck carrier and another PC forward. That might have left the front of the net unprotected but Silengo was in the low slot battling with a PC skater.

Silengo then went out to the mid-slot to block a shot coming from the blueline. Silengo blocked the shot, hustled to gather the loose puck at the UNH blueline, and carried it into the PC zone.

Just over the PC blueline, Silengo pulled up and fired a wrist shot from the top of the faceoff circle to the right of Gillies. The shot went through Gillies' five-hole and many PC fans headed to the exits.

Points of Interest

~ With its victory on Saturday night, UNH moves up from #10 in the PairWise Rankings to #7. UNH's prospects for earning an invitation to the NCAA Northeast Regional Tournament at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, NH remain very good but are not yet guaranteed. According to Jason Moy of USCHO, "New Hampshire is hanging on right now, but might be safe if it loses (on Sunday)".

~ If UNH defeats PC on Sunday, they would advance to the Hockey East Semifinals for the first time since the 2010-11 season. That year, UNH lost to Merrimack 4-1 in the Semis.

Here are video highlights of UNH's 4-1 win over PC from hockeyeastonline.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

UNH on Verge of Elimination

UNH Drops Game 1 to PC (Photo: Mike Lowry)

PROVIDENCE, RI - The 2012-13 UNH Wildcats continued their "Tale of Two Seasons" by dropping a 3-2 decision to Providence in the first game of the Hockey East Quarterfinals. Season 1 began with four consecutive wins, followed by an 8-game stretch with 7 wins and 1 tie. UNH was scoring plenty of goals and playing effective team defense. Sophomore goalie Casey DeSmith became the first UNH goalie in 84 years to post three consecutive shutouts and was the best goaltender in Hockey East, if not the nation. UNH rose to the #1 rank in the nation on December 3, 2012.

Those heady times are a distant memory. In Season 2, UNH has been a below .500 hockey team. Since a 3-2 loss to Boston University on December 6th, UNH has won 7 games, lost 9, and tied 5. With a few exceptions (e.g., convincing victories over RPI, Merrimack, and UMass plus a key win over Boston College), UNH has been unable to put it all together in the second season.

Friday's loss to PC at the Schneider Arena may be the most frustrating of all. Aside from the opening minutes of play, UNH dictated the style of play and had PC back on it's heals for large portions of the game. For the most part, UNH easily moved the puck through center ice and into the PC zone. Once there, UNH often cycled effectively, moved the puck smartly, and generated plenty of shots on goal. UNH outshot PC 15-4 in the first period, 11-4 in the third, and 37-25 overall.

On this night, it would be a few turnovers in the defensive end which cost UNH the game. Two minutes into the second period, freshman defenseman Harry Quast - playing in place of regular defenseman Justin Agosta - failed to clear the puck up the halfwall. Shane Luke stole the puck and tapped it to UNH nemesis Nick Saracino. He skated the puck from the circle to DeSmith's left, DeSmith went down, and Saracino lifted it over DeSmith's left shoulder. DeSmith was not screened on the play. It was only the 6th shot on goal that DeSmith had faced.

With just over 7 minutes left in the second period, Luke carried the puck around Quast to the side of the net and tried a wraparound shot. The puck was blocked but Luke swatted it out to John Gilmour at the top of the faceoff circle to DeSmith's right. Gilmour blasted a slap shot through a partial screen and over DeSmith's blocker. PC 2, UNH 0.

On the ensuing faceoff after PC's second goal, Grayson Downing was cross-checked leading to UNH's second power play of the game. The number 1 power play unit of Goumas-Downing-Block plus Trevor van Riemsdyk and Eric Knodel quickly established the umbrella with TvR at the midpoint of the blueline and Goumas and Knodel on either side. Goumas made a pretty cross-ice pass to Knodel who one-timed a pass to Grayson Downing in the mid-slot. Downing buried it. PC 2, UNH 1.

UNH would tie the game two minutes into the final period thanks to a nifty move by senior Brett Kostolansky to keep the puck in the PC end. Kostolansky gathered a loose puck, deked around a PC defender and laid a back-hand pass to Austin Block in the low slot. Block beat PC goalie Jon Gillies over his right leg pad.

And then came the stretch of play which should have put UNH ahead but ended with PC scoring the game-winning goal. First, the Dan Correale-Kevin Goumas-Matt Willows line maintained the puck in the PC zone for their entire shift. Willows got off two Grade A bids and TvR added another. Next, the Maxim Gaudreault-Scott Pavelski-Jay Camper line - who played very well all night - took their turn keeping the pressure on Gillies. Gaudreault nearly beat Gillies and Camper's followup shot was blocked.

PC finally cleared the puck up ice into the UNH end. Captain Connor Hardowa chased it down along the halfwall but Saracino poked the puck loose and Ross Maurerman fed it to Shane Luke at the top of the faceoff circle to DeSmith's right. Luke passed to Saracino at the top of the slot and he fired past 2 UNH players and a PC linemate screening DeSmith. PC 3, UNH 2.

Beginning Saturday afternoon at 4 PM, it's do-or-die for UNH. Win and they force a Game 3. Lose and the Hockey East season is over. The loss on Friday dropped UNH to 10th in the PairWise Rankings. The PWR predicts which 16 teams will qualify for the NCAA Tournament. If UNH qualifies for the NCAA's, they will play at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, NH on the last weekend of March. Earlier in the week at the Hockey East new conference, Coach Umile said "At this point, we've got to win hockey games. Otherwise we won't get there (NCAA Eastern Regionals at Manchester)." According to some who crunch the numbers, UNH is likely to get to Manchester even if they lose to PC. However, this team needs a win to prove they have what it takes to succeed in the playoffs.

Here are video highlights from hockeyeastonline.

Monday, March 11, 2013

UNH Recruits Update: March-11-2013

Co-Players of the Week - Charlie Kelleher and Warren Foegele

The UNH recruits who are 16 or 17 years old have been competing in their playoff seasons over the last few weeks. Whether they play for prep schools, high schools or midget teams, this is the time of year they look forward to all season. Over the past week, two players who plan to enroll at UNH in the fall of 2015 - Charlie Kelleher and Warren Foegele - helped their teams win a league championship.

Charlie Kelleher
Charlie Kelleher
Last September, a new league known as the United States Elite Hockey League was formed. The USEHL is the first AAA Midget league based in the East. It includes an Under-18 Midget Major division and an Under-16 Midget Minor division.

Over the weekend, the USEHL held its first annual playoffs at the Capital One Bank Ice Vault in Wayne, New Jersey - home of the Jersey Hitmen organization. A round-robin tournament was held in both the U16 and U18 divisions. The top six U18 teams and top five U16 teams participated.

16-year-old Charlie Kelleher (DOB: 2/4/97) and the Boston Junior Bruins U18 team competed against the Jersey Hitmen, Connecticut Yankees, Islanders Hockey Club, Selects Adacemy, and Hill Academy. The Jr. Bruins advanced to the semifinals and faced Hill Academy (Vaughan, Ontario). The teams tied 2-2 in regulation then played 4-on-4 in a 5-minute, sudden death overtime. With 1:20 remaining in OT, Kelleher scored the game-winning goal.

In the Championship Game against the Selects Academy team (South Kent, CT), the Jr. Bruins took a 1-0 lead midway through the 2nd period on a goal by Hamilton Whyte and assisted by Charlie Kelleher. The Selects team tied it up in the waning seconds of the period. With 14:16 left in the third period, the Jr. Bruins went on a 5-on-3 power play. Charlie Kelleher, a right-shot forward, plays left wing on the power play unit. At 13:46, Zachary Malatesta scored the game-winning goal, assisted by Kelleher and Whyte. Kelleher finished the USEHL Tournament with a goal and 2 assists in 5 games. He tied for 5th in scoring.

So what's next for Charlie Kelleher? The U.S. Hockey Report recently predicted that Kelleher will be invited to the U.S. National Team Development Program's evaluation camp later this month. If he is invited and is fortunate enough to earn a spot on the NTDP Under-17 team, he will be following in the footsteps of his brother, Tyler Kelleher. Tyler has signed a National Letter of Intent to play for UNH beginning next fall.

Warren Foegele
Warren Foegele
By any measure, Warren Foegele's junior year with the St. Andrews College (Ontario) hockey team has been a big success. The left-shot forward, who turns 17 on April 1st, and his teammates compete 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 in 15 games, tying him for second in scoring in the league. He tied for the lead in scoring during the MPHL regular season scoring 7 goals and 10 assists in 13 games.

St. Andrews advanced to the Championship Game of the MPHL Tournament defeating St. Francis School (Outside Buffalo, NY) and Stanstead College (Quebec). They lost the Championship Game 2-1 on a goal late in the third period by the Edge School (Calgary, Alberta). Foegele finished the MPHL Playoffs as the leading scorer with 2 goals and 5 assists.

In late February, St. Andrews swept the semifinal round of the CISAA Playoffs defeating Appleby College (Oakville, Ontario) 4-0 and 4-3. Foegele scored the game-winning goal in the first game and scored the first goal in the second game.

In the best-of-three Championship Round, St. Andrews faced Nichols School (Buffalo, NY). St. Andrews won the first game 2-1 and Foegele assisted on the first goal. Nichols won the second game 4-2, setting up the rubber game for the CISAA Championship. Last Wednesday, the two teams battled to a 2-2 tie by the end of regulation. 1:49 into overtime, Warren Foegele scored the game-winning goal. Foegele finished the CISAA Playoffs with 3 goals and 2 assists in 5 games, placing him in a tie for 3rd in scoring. He plans on returning to play his senior year at St. Andrews.

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 LancersUSHL508243239
Tyler Kelleher  (F)USA U18 TeamUSHL2389178
USA U18 TeamNCAA211192016
Dylan Maller  (D)Tri-City StormUSHL5014543
Jordan Masters  (F)Jersey HitmenEJHL1835834
Andrew Poturalski (F)Cedar RapidsUSHL4111172841
2013 or '14 Recruit
Michael McNicholas  (F)Nanaimo ClippersBCHL351022326
2014 Recruits
Dylan Chanter  (D)Merritt CentsBCHL569112031
Adam Clark  (G)Salmon ArmBCHL3718W16L2.89.914
Shane Eiserman  (F)USA U18 TeamUSHL1945923
USA U18 TeamNCAA213368
Cam Marks  (D)Coquitlam ExpressBCHL402468
2014 or '15 Recruit
Jason Kalinowski  (F)Salisbury Prep NEPSHC23 918 27-
2015 Recruits
Warren Foegele  (F)St. Andrews CollegeCISAA/MPHL2816203632
Charlie Kelleher  (F)Junior Bruins U18USEHL5411142513
Joseph Masonius  (D)Jersey HitmenEmpJHL175121724
Jersey HitmenEJHL1012335
U18 PlayoffsUSEHL21012
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-
PlayoffsJersey Prep3516-

News & Notes

British Columbia Hockey League:

~ 2013 or '14 recruit Michael McNicholas will rejoin the Nanaimo Clippers' lineup on Friday in the first round of the BCHL Playoffs. The Clippers will face the Alberni Valley Bulldogs in a best-of-five series. McNicholas has been out of the Nanaimo Clippers' lineup since January 6th when he broke a bone in his lower leg.

~ Dylan Chanter and the Merritt Centennials finished the regular season with the 5th highest points in the BCHL. They will play the West Kelowna Warriors in the first round of the playoffs.

~ 2014 recruit Adam Clark helped the Salmon Arm SilverBacks clinch a playoff spot by defeating the Merritt Cents 5-4. Clark made 37 saves in the victory. The SilverBacks will play the Penticton Vees in the first round of the playoffs.

Prep School Hockey:

~ Jason Kalinowski and the Salisbury Prep Crimson Knights won the NE Prep Elite 8 Tournament defeating the Kent School 4-1.

~ Brendan van Riemsdyk and the Christian Brothers Academy advanced to the Semifinals of the New Jersey Non-Public School Tournament by defeating Seton Hall Prep 9-0 and Morristown-Beard 3-2. BvR scored 4 goals in the victory over Seton Hall. However, CBA's bid to win the State Championship fell short as they lost to Don Bosco 3-5 in the semifinals. In the three playoff games, BvR scored 5 goals and added an assist.

Eastern Junior Hockey League:

~ The Jersey Hitmen have advanced to the EJHL Finals scheduled for Wednesday through Friday at New England Sports Center in Marlborough, MA. Jordan Masters has fully recovered from a lower body injury which limited his playing time during the regular season. He has been a healthy scratch in the early rounds of the playoffs.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

UNH Ties Maine on Senior Night - Next Stop Providence

Congratulations to UNH Seniors (Photo: Mike Lowry)

DURHAM, NH - On the night to honor seniors Connor Hardowa, Greg Burke, Brett Kostolansky, John Henrion, Scott Pavelski, Austin Block, and Mathew Myers, UNH salvaged yet another come-from-behind tie, this time against the University of Maine. Prior to the game, the Wildcats had an outside chance of sharing the Hockey East Regular Season Title. They needed to win and have UMass-Lowell and Providence tie in their final game. Home ice for the quarterfinals of the Hockey East Tournament was more easily in reach. A UNH win would have guaranteed it and a tie might have worked.

UNH Ties Maine 4-4 (Photo: Mike Lowry)
Though UNH earned a 4-4 tie on an Eric Knodel goal late in the third period, it wasn't enough. The White Out the Whitt game late Saturday afternoon was one of the most exciting of the season. Despite being on spring break, avid student supporters nearly filled three sections of the arena. There were few empty seats and the cheering level over the final half of the third period and in overtime rivaled those of the good old days at Snively Arena.

UNH jumped ahead 2-0 on a goal by senior Scott Pavelski (4th goal of the season) off a beautiful pass from freshman Maxim Gaudreault (5th assist of the season) followed by a Gaudreault goal (3rd of the season). UNH built another 2-goal lead late in the second period with a goal by Grayson Downing (13th goal of the season).

Maine stormed back with 3 unanswered goals to go up 4-3 with 13 minutes left in regulation. Eric Knodel's game-tying goal (10th goal of the season) came on a power play with 3 and 1/2 minutes left in regulation. The UNH power play unit of Block-Downing-Goumas with Trevor van Riemsdyk and Knodel moved the puck smartly utilizing an umbrella setup. Knodel, positioned at the middle of the blueline passed down to Goumas in the faceoff circle to the left of Maine goalie Martin Ouellette. Goumas moved toward the net then passed back to Knodel who blasted a slap shot past Ouellette.
Here are the video highlights provided by hockeyeastonline.

The first two objectives the team established for the 2012-13 season - the Regular Season Title and home-ice in the Quarterfinals - were not met. When UNH was ranked #1 in the nation on December 3rd, both goals were well within reach. Inconsistent team defense and goal-scoring in the face of stiffer competition in the second half of the season have forced the team to accept the disappointments and refocus on the prizes still on the table.

UNH (Overall: 18-9-7. Hockey East: 13-8-6) finished the regular season with 32 points which placed them in a three-way tie with Boston University and Providence College for third place. Lowell finished in first place with 34 points and BC landed in second place with 33 points. UNH swept the 3-game season series against #1 Lowell, tied the series with #2 BC, and won 2 out of 3 games against #3 BU. However, losing the season series with Providence 0-2-1 cost UNH the final home-ice slot.

Next Stop Providence

To earn a trip to the TD Bank Garden and the Hockey East Semifinals in two weeks, UNH must travel to Providence next weekend and win 2 out of 3 games. The regular season series between UNH and PC couldn't have been much closer. The first game at the Whittemore Center on Jan. 19th was billed as a duel between two top goalies Casey DeSmith and Jon Gillies. Neither played their best as PC held on to win 6-5. UNH staged a comeback late in the third period - a recurring pattern - scoring two goals in the last 5 minutes.

In Game 2, also in Durham, UNH's top-ranked penalty kill unit gave up two goals and UNH trailed by a goal midway through the third period. Gillies made an impossible save, robbing Kevin Goumas with 5 minutes left. UNH persisted and Scott Pavelski tied it up, 3-3 in the waning minutes.

The rubber game of the regular season series was played with playoff intensity. UNH travelled to Schneider Arena for a game postponed by a snow storm the previous week. UNH played tight team defense and Casey DeSmith was solid. The game featured an amazing save by DeSmith on a penalty shot in the second period. Each team had quality scoring chances and UNH outshot PC 37-34. With less than 3 minutes left in regulation, UNH made an awkward line change allowing Stefan Demopoulos to jump onto the ice and sneak in behind the UNH defense for the game-winning goal.

At this stage of the season, UNH and PC are evenly-matched in several ways. UNH outshot Providence 42 to 27 in the initial game but that was an outliar. In the last two games, the shots on goal were 44-42 and 37-34, slightly in favor of UNH. DeSmith and Gillies - friends and former teammates on the USHL's Indiana Ice - have nearly identical goalie stats in Hockey East competition. DeSmith has posted slightly better numbers - 2.04 vs 2.17 GAA; .923 vs .929 Save%. UNH has scored slightly more goals per game than PC (3.00 vs 2.78) and allowed fewer goals (2.15 vs 2.33).

Providence has played better than UNH since the holiday break. PC's record over their last 16 Hockey East games is 8-4-4. UNH has played slightly below .500 hockey with a record of 5-6-5. Four out of the 6 loses were by a single goal.

UNH has the edge in special teams - often the determining factor in playoff hockey. UNH's power play has improved in recent weeks and is ranked #2 in Hockey East. The Wildcat's penalty kill has been dominant in the nation throughout the season. They're currently ranked #1 in Hockey East, effectively killing off the penalty 92.3% of the time.

NCAA Tournament

As of today, UNH is no longer projected to be the #1 seed in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, NH. They are currently projected as the #2 seed though the positioning is fluid and likely to change over the next two weeks.

UNH last played in the Hockey East Championship Game 6 years ago and has not been to the NCAA Frozen Four for 10 years. Both are still on this season's to do list.

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