UNH Captain's Corner: Roller Coaster Weekend at UMass & Union
|UNH Captain Collin MacDonald|
The first road trip of the 2015-16 season was a combination adventure ride, horror show, and victory lap all rolled into one. On Friday night, UNH took the ice at the Mullins Center on the campus of the University of Masschusetts Amherst for the first Hockey East matchup of the season. The game turned out to be two distinct contests. Over the first two periods, UNH built up a 6-1 lead on the strength of a hat trick by senior Alternate Captain Dan Correale, Captain Collin MacDonald's first goal of the season, Andrew Poturalski's second goal of the season, and Windham, New Hampshire native Chris Miller's goal in his first NCAA game.
Even when UMass scored their second goal with 3 and 1/2 minutes left in the second period, UNH largely controlled the game. Then, UMass stormed back with 4 unanswered goals in the third period. UNH held on to salvage a tie in the overtime period.
The next day, UNH headed to Schenectady, New York for it's third game of the season against an Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference opponent. Union College, the 2014 National Champion, was ranked 18th in the country by USCHO. During its championship season, Union defeated UNH twice in Durham and UNH lost at Union last season. This time around, UNH left town with a convincing 5-2 win over the Dutchmen.
Sophomore goalie Adam Clark got his first start this season and made 34 saves en route to the victory. Last season, Clark started in net for the first 17 games. When Danny Tirone enrolled for the second semester, he started in the final 14 games
Although Union jumped out to a 1-0 lead then a 2-1 advantage, UNH tied it up both times on goals by Alternate Captains Dan Correale and Maxim Gaudreault.
Tyler Kelleher scored the game-winning goal in the second period and added 2 assists. Linemate Andrew Poturalski assisted on Kelleher's game-winner then scored a critical power play goal at the beginning of the third period. Sophomore defenseman Richard Boyd capped off the UNH scoring with an empty-net goal near the end of the game. It was Boyd's first NCAA goal.
Yesterday, Hockey East announced that Dan Correale was named the Warriors Hockey Player of the Week. Correale scored 4 goals and 1 assist over the weekend and currently leads the team in goal scoring with 5 goals in 5 games.
Here's my interview with UNH Captain Collin MacDonald on the team's 3-point weekend:
Mike Lowry ("C-H-C"): Friday night at UMass Amherst, the team built up a 5-goal lead with 5 minutes left in the second period. Then, the Minutemen scored 5 unanswered goals to tie the game with less than 3 minutes remaining in regulation. The game ended in an overtime tie. Were there things that UNH stopped doing well during the UMass comeback? Were there aspects of the game that UMass improved on as they were making their comeback?
Collin MacDonald: Looking back on it, the goal that made it 6-2 at the end of the second period was an underrated one for them. I believe that gave UMass a little life in the locker room. We shot ourselves in the foot with a couple too many men on the ice penalties, and we also didn’t capitalize on our power play opportunities in the third. They brought the building to life in their favor obviously, and used it to their advantage. It was disappointing to us, and almost felt more like a loss honestly.
Mike Lowry: Late in regulation, UNH was penalized on two separate occasions for too many men on the ice. UMass's final two goals were scored on the ensuing power plays. In general, what do players and/or coaches need to do to avoid too many men on the ice penalties?
Collin MacDonald: It’s just all about focus and communication, knowing who your changing for is important. Those penalties happen from time to time, but we want to avoid them especially toward the end of the game like that. It’s definitely something we’ll learn from.
Lowry: After the disappointing outcome on Friday night, the team drove further west to Schenectady, NY for a Saturday night game against Union College. When there is such a brief turnaround between two games, is it best to forget about what happened the night before and focus on the next opponent or does the team benefit from reviewing what went wrong the night before?
MacDonald: I think coach does a good job at that, in the morning he’ll recognize things we could’ve done better for sure. But he knows we have to focus on the game at hand, and we’ll just move on for the time being and direct all our attention to how we’re going to be successful that night.
Lowry: UNH convincingly defeated 18th-ranked Union 5-2. What team and individual efforts stood out as positives in your mind?
MacDonald: As a team, we did the little things right. Union played a “in your face” type of game, so we chipped pucks behind them and tried to use the ice available to us. We blocked shots as a group, took hits to make plays, it was great to see. Individually, I can’t recognize Clarky’s performance enough, he’s a competitor and it showed all night. Cors, Pots, and Kells had another big game offensively, but I don’t want to overlook how they helped us defensively as well. Nothing fires up a team more than when you see those guys blocking shots, and winning battles like they did.
Lowry: 5'11" Danny Tirone and 6'5" Adam Clark have different styles of goal-tending. Do your defensemen and centers make any adjustments in how they play defense in front of these two different goalies?
MacDonald: We recognize that they play two different styles, but at the end of the day the goal is to keep the puck out of the net. That’s means strong positional play in the D-zone, blocking shots, and clearing pucks are all a must. Both goalies are talented and hardworking, we know they’re going to give it 100% so we just try to do the same for them.