Wyer Backstops UNH Win Over Brown
|UNH Senior Goalie Jeff Wyer|
DURHAM, NH - The UNH Wildcats continued to build momentum with a 4-2 victory over Brown University last night at the Whittemore Center. It was UNH's third win in 5 days and improved their overall record to 4-5-1 (2-2-0 in Hockey East competition). UNH outshot the Brown Bears 41-26. BOX SCORE
Strategically, the team played well in two key aspects of the game. First, the defensemen and forwards were effective at getting back into their zone to prevent odd-man rushes. When UNH is playing good team defense, you'll see the back-checking players hollering to each other and pointing to the men they are going to cover and those who need to be covered.
UNH was also effective at beating Brown's 1-2-2 neutral zone trap. This setup has one opposing forward forechecking between the UNH blueline and the redline, the remaining two forwards positioned at the redline, and the two defensemen at their own blueline. The strategy is designed to slow down and disrupt UNH's ability to work the puck into the offensive zone. Teams such as Providence and UMass-Lowell execute this trap exceptionally well. Last night, the UNH defensemen were often successful at skating and passing the puck out of their zone and connecting with UNH forwards about to attack the Brown zone.
#1 UNH Star - Jeff Wyer Senior goalie Jeff Wyer made his fourth start of the year and made several key saves at critical points in the game. The first sequence of the video highlights (shown below) occurred just after senior Jeff Silengo had put UNH ahead 3-1. In the waning seconds of the second period, Brown desperately tried to get one back with sustained pressure in the UNH zone. Wyer was up to the challenge.
In the second part of the clip, Brown continues the pressure as it came out of the gate in the third period. The end of the video clip shows the final 49 seconds of the game. Brown had just scored their second goal and had pulled their goalie for an extra attacker. Wyer makes a bunch of saves, some on shots through screens, as Brown swarmed in the scoring zone. At one point, Wyer briefly lost his stick but retrieved it and shut the door. In all, Wyer made 24 saves.
#2 UNH Star - Nick Sorkin A key element of UNH's success last season was the goal-scoring of seniors Austin Block and John Henrion who each scored 15 goals. One question entering this season was whether anyone would step up and fill the scoring void. So far, part of the answer has been Nick Sorkin.
Last night against Brown, Sorkin posted a goal and an assist. It was his second goal in as many games and his 5th goal of the season. In his junior year, Sorkin's goal-scoring fell off to 2 goals.
Part of Sorkin's resurgence can be attributed to his ability to carry the puck into the offensive zone with speed and to go strong toward the net. As these video highlights show, this leads to numerous shots on goal - Sorkin finished with 5 SOG:
#3 UNH Star - Jeff Silengo Trailing by a goal late in the second period, Brown shifted to a more aggressive forechecking scheme and began to control the puck more often in the UNH zone. A Brown goal at that point could have shifted the momentum in their favor entering the final period. Instead, as the clock wound down, senior Jeff Silengo moved the puck down the right boards and it came out to Trevor van Riemsdyk at the point. Silengo went to the front of the net. TvR leveled a slap shot which richoceted off a Brown defender and Silengo one-timed the rebound into the back of the net.
In addition to scoring the game-winning goal, Silengo had 4 shots on goal and won 2 out of 3 faceoffs. The Casey Thrush-Kyle Smith-Silengo line played another strong game with Smith posting an assist and Thrush firing 2 shots on goal. In addition to Silengo's goal, this video shows him setting up Thrush's shot early in the 2nd period which appeared to hit the post.