Union's 3-Goal Flurry Downs UNH
|Captain Matt Willows Scores |
First UNH Goal of Season
With a newly unfurled National Championship banner hanging in the rafters, a full crowd on hand, and three veteran players on suspension, the Union College Dutchman handed UNH a 3-1 loss in the Wildcats' season opener. UNH was the first to get on the scoreboard early in the second period on a pretty passing play by the first line of Matt Willows, Grayson Downing and Dan Correale.
After successfully killing off 4 consecutive power plays awarded to Union, it was UNH's power play which let them down. In a one-minute span midway through the second period, Union scored two short-handed goals. Former UNH recruit Mike Vecchione finished off the scoring with only a couple minutes later. Three minutes, three Union goals.
Down by two goals, UNH had several scoring chances the rest of the way. They outshot Union 12 to 5 in the third period and 34 to 24 overall. Senior goalie Colin Stevens, who backstopped Union's championship run last season, was up to the test.
Scoring BreakdownUNH 1, Union 0
Four mininutes into the 2nd period, senior Grayson Downing stole the puck along the Union half-wall to Colin Stevens' right and centered a pass to junior Dan Correale streaking down the slot. Correale flipped a perfect, backhand pass to Matt Willows wide open to Stevens' right. Willows buried it for the first goal of the UNH season.
UNH 1, Union 1
With 7:40 remaining in Period 2, UNH was just beginning its first power play of the night (Union had already had 4 power plays). After the faceoff to Stevens' right, a Union clearing pass around the boards jumped over Matias Cleland's stick at the left point. Mark Bennett pounced on the puck and lead a 2-on-1 down the ice. He flipped a cross-ice pass to Sam Coatta at the top of the faceoff circle and he beat freshman UNH goalie Adam Clark over his sprawling right leg pad.
Union 2, UNH 1
One minute after Union's first short-handed goal, UNH was still on the power play. Grayson Downing attempted to carry the puck into the Union zone but he was stripped of the puck at the blueline. Daniel Ciampini raced through the neutral zone, skated around a back-checking Maxim Gaudreault in the UNH zone, and tapped a backhander at Clark. He made the initial save but the puck lay there for Sebastien Gingras who slapped it in the open net.
Union 3, UNH 1
Two minutes later, Mike Vecchione carried the puck into the UNH zone and gained a half-step on freshman defenseman John Furgele. Vecchione snapped a wristshot from the faceoff circle to Adam Clark's left and beat Clark five-hole.
UNH Player Highlights
Adam ClarkWhen a new goalie comes to town, it takes a while for he and his defensemen to get used to playing with each other. Such is the case with 6'5" freshman goalie Adam Clark and the UNH defensive corp - made up almost exclusively of underclassmen including 4 freshmen. Because of Clark's size and style, there will be times when the puck bounces off some part of his body (e.g., shoulder, chest, even face mask) and rebounds somewhere nearby. Clark is bound to improve on his rebound control with experience and his defensemen will learn to corral rebounds that are beyond his reach. In the meantime, Clark made some outstanding saves last night in his first NCAA game.
Warren FoegeleUNH lost 5 of its top 6 scorers from last year's squad including their most dynamic offensive player, Kevin Goumas (52 points). This raises the obvious question - who will emerge as offensive threats this year? One answer is bound to be freshman Warren Foegele. In his first NCAA game, the 3rd round draft pick of the Carolina Hurricanes demonstrated that his speed, agility, and knack for making things happen offensively are well-suited to college competition. Foegele registered 4 shots on goal last night.
Dylan MallerDefenseman Dylan Maller joined the team as a freshman in second semester of last year. A broken arm has put a damper on his preseason preparation. Remarkably, he had his cast taken off last week and was skating a regular shift last night. He showed some offensive flare against Union with breakout passes and a few shots from the blueline.
Shane EisermanShane Eiserman - the other UNH freshman drafted in the 2014 NHL Draft (4th Round by Ottawa Senators) - had played in several games against top NCAA teams two years ago when he played for the US National Team Development Program Under-18 team. Check out his speed and ability to drive to the net in the game against Union College.
Next up for UNH, Friday and Saturday night games against Michigan out in Ann Arbor - part of the Big Ten/Hockey East Challenge.