Hockey East Honors Kelleher, Grasso & Cleland
In it's weekly press release, Hockey East honored UNH's Tyler Kelleher, Patrick Grasso, and Matias Cleland for their performance last weekend at St. Lawrence University and Clarkson University. After losing to 15th-ranked St. Lawrence 6-2 on Friday night, the Wildcats bounced back with a come-from-behind 5-3 victory over the Clarkson Golden Knights on Saturday. The offensive production of seniors Kelleher and Cleland and freshman Grasso was instrumental in the turnaround.
Hockey East/Warrior Player of the Week - Tyler KelleherTyler Kelleher entered his final season as a member of the UNH Century Club. In his first three seasons, Tyler compiled 33 goals and 71 assists. For his efforts over the weekend in upstate New York, Hockey East named Kelleher the Warrior Player of the Week.
On Friday night in Canton, New York, Kelleher scored his first goal of the 2016-17 season in the third period on a 5-on-3 power play against the St. Lawrence Saints. Freshman winger Patrick Grasso passed the puck behind the net to sophomore Ara Nazarian who touch-passed it out to Kelleher in the mid-slot. Kelleher blasted a 3/4 slapshot for the Wildcats' second goal of the game.
On Saturday in Potsdam, New York, Kelleher scored the game-winning goal late in the third period. UNH battled back from 2-0 deficit against Clarkson to tie the game 3-3 on a goal by Grasso. With less than 2 minutes remaining in regulation, junior Jason Salvaggio stole the puck, skated around a Clarkson defender, and sent a perfect cross-slot pass to Kelleher crashing the net. He converted the one-timer to give UNH a 4-3 lead.
With 40 seconds remaining and the Clarkson net empty, senior defenseman Matias Cleland blocked a shot on goal. Kelleher gathered the loose puck at the half-wall, flicked a 150-foot wrist shot into the center of the net, and sealed UNH's first win of the season. Kelleher also assisted on the Wildcats' first and second goals, fired 6 shots on goal, and blocked a shot. Here are the video highlights of Kelleher's three goals:
Hockey East Weekly Top Performer - Patrick GrassoJust three games into his freshman season, Patrick Grasso has become an offensive threat. In addition to playing right wing on the all-freshman, third line with Liam Blackburn and Brendan van Riemsdyk, Grasso plays right wing on UNH's first power play unit. On the strength of two power play goals plus and an even strength tally in two weekend games, Patrick Grasso was named a Hockey East Weekly Top Performer.
Grasso scored his first NCAA goal on Friday against St. Lawrence. With 7:16 left in the second period and the Wildcats trailing 3-0, Grasso converted on a 5-on-3 power play. While Grasso was parked to the right of the St. Lawrence goalie, Matias Cleland fed him a perfect pass and Grasso one-timed the puck into the back of the net. Near the end of the game, Grasso also assisted on Tyler Kelleher's power play goal.
On Saturday night, UNH trailed Clarkson 2-0 midway through the first period. With 8 minutes left in the period and the Wildcats on the power play, Cleland passed to Kelleher who passed down to Grasso near the boards on the goal line. Patrick skated straight toward the goalie and stuffed it between his pads. After UNH fell behind 3-2, Grasso scored the critical game-tying goal with 4 minutes left in the second period. Center Ara Nazarian won a faceoff back to Grasso at the top of the faceoff circle to the right of the Clarkson goalie. Grasso snapped a wrist shot into the back of the net for his third goal of the weekend.
Patrick Grasso is the first UNH freshman since All-American Sean Collins to score 3 goals in his first 3 games. In the 2001-02 season, Collins scored a goal in each of the first 4 games. Collins went on to score a remarkable total of 77 goals and 96 assists in his four seasons at UNH. He is currently tied for 10th among all-time UNH scorers.
Here are the video highlights of all Grasso's goals:
Hockey East Weekly Top Performer - Matias ClelandIn his senior season at UNH, Matias Cleland is the team's anchor. The captain is the starting left defenseman, point person on UNH's first power play unit, and the backbone of the first penalty kill unit. In the St. Lawrence and Clarkson games, Cleland dished out a total of 3 assists, fired 4 shots on goal, blocked 4 shots, and posted a +/- rating of +1. Like his young teammate Patrick Grasso, Cleland was named a Hockey East Weekly Top Performer.
The following video of Patrick Grasso's first NCAA goal shows how important Cleland is to the UNH power play. It shows him keeping the puck in the zone, taking shots on goal, and feeding passes to his teammates.
Kelleher, Grasso, Cleland and the rest of the UNH team will face Colorado College on Saturday night at the Whittemore Center in Durham. Puck drop is at 7:00.