First-in-the-Nation: UNH's Poturalski-Kelleher-Correale Line
Enter "First in the Nation" into google and you see dozens of sites about New Hampshire's Presidential Primary coming up on February 9th. This year, New Hampshire is gaining recognition for another "First-in-the-Nation" - the top scoring line on the UNH Men's Hockey team. Over the first 16 games of the 2015-16 season, sophomore center Andrew Poturalski, junior right winger Tyler Kelleher and senior left winger Dan Correale have combined for 32 goals and 75 points. The Poturalski-Kelleher-Correale line is the #1 goal scoring and #1 scoring line in all of NCAA Division I hockey.
The North Dakota Fighting Hawks have the #2 scoring line in NCAA hockey. Known as the "CBS line", Drake Caggiula, Brock Boeser and Nick Schmaltz have combined for 29 goals and 74 points. They have played together for the last 17 games. Caggiula has played in 19 games while Boeser, a first round draft pick of the Vancouver Canucks, and Schmaltz, a first round pick of the Chicago Blackhawks, have played in 20 games. Poturalski, Kelleher, and Correale are undrafted, free agents.
The last time UNH had the top scoring forward line in the nation was the 1998-99 season. That was the year UNH lost to Maine in overtime in the NCAA Championship Game. Centerman Jason Krog was the leading goal scorer (34) and scorer (85) in the nation and won the Hobey Baker Award. Left winger Mike Souza, the current UNH Associate Head Coach, tied for 4th in scoring with 23 goals and 65 points. Right winger Darren Haydar was the 6th leading scorer with 31 goals and 61 points.
In the first game of this season, a 7-3 victory over American International College, the Poturalski-Kelleher-Correale line accounted for 4 of the UNH goals. In my postgame interview with UNH Captain Collin MacDonald, I asked him what makes them such an effective scoring threat. He said:
"These three are definitely fun to have on your team. Each guy brings something different to the table and they just work well together. Kells can obviously finish, Pots is so dangerous with the puck on his stick and makes great plays, Corrs works so hard to get pucks and with his speed he’s always a threat."Little did we know that they would emerge as the top scoring line in the country.
Player Spotlight - Andrew PoturalskiAndrew Poturalski is the leading scorer in NCAA Division I hockey. In 16 games, he has posted 16 goals and 16 assists for a total of 32 points. Poturalski is tied for 1st in goal scoring in the nation. Austen Ortega of Nebraska-Omaha moved into a tie with Andrew after scoring 4 goals against Arizona State last week. Ortega has played in 17 games so far this season. Poturalski is tied for 2nd in power play goals with 6. In his first season and 1/2 at UNH, Andrew has scored 30 goals and 31 assists. Here are some of Andrew's highlight goals from the first half of the 2015-16 season:
Player Spotlight - Tyler KelleherTyler Kelleher is the 2nd leading scorer in the nation. As the right winger on the top-scoring line, Tyler has potted 6 goals and dished out 29 assists over the first 16 games of the season. Kelleher is tied for 1st in assists with UND's Nick Schmaltz, who has played in 4 more games. In his 2 and 1/2 seasons at UNH, Tyler Kelleher has accumulated 87 points - just 13 shy of membership in the UNH Century Club. These video highlights show 5 of Tyler's goals from the first half of this season - several of his assists can be seen on the Poturalski and Correale videos:
Player Spotlight - Dan CorrealeAfter scoring 11 goals over his first three seasons at UNH, Senior Alternate Captain Dan Correale has exploded for 10 goals so far this season. That places him in a tie for 5th in goal scoring among all NCAA Division I players. Five of Correale's goals have come on the power play. He is tied for 3rd in Division I power play goals. UNH has the 4th best power play in the country with a scoring percentage of 26.7. Poturalski, Kelleher, and Correale have scored 13 out of UNH's 20 power play goals. Here are some of Dan Correale's highlight goals, including 2 of his power play goals, from the first half of the 2015-16 season:
UNH has an overall record of 6-6-4 and is 2-1-4 in Hockey East competition. They return to action tonight and tomorrow night in two non-conference games against Maine. Tonight's game is in Portland and tomorrow the two teams will play in Manchester. This Saturday, UNH will travel to the University of Vermont for another non-conference game.