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UNH Wildcats 2019 Offseason - How Much Progress Did We Really Make This Past Season?

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  • UNH Wildcats 2019 Offseason - How Much Progress Did We Really Make This Past Season?

    Just wanted to put a bow on this now-completed season, which was Coach Souza's first season fully in charge. We saw some good things, and some not-so-good things over the last 6 or so months. Just thinking things over a bit in the last few days, and before we turn our complete attention to what lies ahead next season and beyond, I think it's a fair and an appropriate time to ask a simple question … how much progress did UNH really make this past season?



    I think there's a lot of different ways we can look at this, so I'm going to try to just set the table and allow folks to assess the pros and cons in kind of a post-mortem of the last 12 months of UNH Hockey. Some of the major basic talking points pro … a move up to 8th in the league from 11th (last) the previous season … a lot less losses, and a better second half of the season … some signs of hope on the recruiting front with the emergence of some talented young players who probably made a bigger early impact on the program than they may have been allowed to a year earlier … and a seemingly renewed sense of optimism among the long-term UNH fanbase. And among the cons … a rough first half that nearly matched the second half of last season for futility, only two more W's added to the year-end total … the team still struggling to find consistent offense … and a "typical UNH" end to the post-season, featuring both a huge blown lead at the worst time AND a "Umile-ation" style blowout loss.

    I turn the podium over to whomever wants to step up and say their piece on exactly what we've just seen over the last 30-something games since Coach Umile officially retired. Maybe a question to ask is, "Are you more convinced or less convinced Coach Souza was the right choice for the top job?" I have my opinions, but I'll keep them in check for now. Go for it …
    Last edited by Chuck Murray; 03-17-2019, 12:26 PM.
    Sworn Enemy of the Perpetually Offended
    Montreal Expos Forever ...

  • #2
    Re: UNH Wildcats 2019 Offseason - How Much Progress Did We Really Make This Past Seas

    Originally posted by Chuck Murray View Post
    Just wanted to put a bow on this now-completed season, which was Coach Souza's first season fully in charge. We saw some good things, and some not-so-good things over the last 6 or so months. Just thinking things over a bit in the last few days, and before we turn our complete attention to what lies ahead next season and beyond, I think it's a fair and an appropriate time to ask a simple question how much progress did UNH really make this past season?



    I think there's a lot of different ways we can look at this, so I'm going to try to just set the table and allow folks to assess the pros and cons in kind of a post-mortem of the last 12 months of UNH Hockey. Some of the major basic talking points pro a move up to 8th in the league from 11th (last) the previous season a lot less losses, and a better second half of the season some signs of hope on the recruiting front with the emergence of some talented young players who probably made a bigger early impact on the program than they may have been allowed to a year earlier and a seemingly renewed sense of optimism among the long-term UNH fanbase. And among the cons a rough first half that nearly matched the second half of last season for futility, only two more W's added to the year-end total the team still struggling to find consistent offense and a "typical UNH" end to the post-season, featuring both a huge blown lead at the worst time AND a "Umile-ation" style blowout loss.

    I turn the podium over to whomever wants to step up and say their piece on exactly what we've just seen over the last 30-something games since Coach Umile officially retired. Maybe a question to ask is, "Are you more convinced or less convinced Coach Souza was the right choice for the top job?" I have my opinions, but I'll keep them in check for now. Go for it
    As an eight seed losing to a one seed? Really?
    I will not be out cheered in my own building.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: UNH Wildcats 2019 Offseason - How Much Progress Did We Really Make This Past Seas

      It depends entirely on how you look at it - most people who are high on this season or Souza are pleased due to intangible reasoning. How they look on the ice, regardless of the result. Fair enough, that matters, but I've always been more concerned with results and here is how that breaks down...

      UNH vs Tournament Teams
      17-18: 1-5-1
      18-19: 0-8-1

      UNH vs Top-20
      17-18: 1-7-1
      18-19: 1-8-3

      UNH vs Top-30
      17-18: 2-11-3
      18-19: 2-12-6

      UNH vs Bottom-30
      17-18: 8-9-3
      18-19: 10-3-3

      Clearly, any tangible improvement for UNH came against the bottom tier of NCAA Hockey. I think it goes without saying that UNH still has a long way to go before they're a competitor for championships and tournament bids, but how do we interpret their success down the ladder...?

      A) UNH improved its winning percentage against bottom-30 teams from .475 to .719! That shows a much more consistent effort and an improved mind-set/confidence. While UNH has not yet joined the ranks of the above-average they have distanced themselves from the bottom half of the sport. This is further backed up by their GF/GA splits...

      UNH vs Tournament Teams
      GF: 12 (1.33/GM)
      GA: 40 (4.44/GM)

      UNH vs The Rest
      GF: 78 (2.89/GM)
      GA: 63 (2.33/GM)

      Outside of games against NCAA Tournament Teams UNH finished the season 12-7-8 and was a plus-15 in goal margin. That is a notable results improvement from last season...

      B) Last years's second-half skews the results. The 17-18 team was far more talented than they showed late last season and something off the ice must have contributed greatly to their 1-15-4 finish. Not only did the team fare poorly down the stretch, but they went 1-8-2 against bottom-30 clubs in that span. A pedestrian 5-5-1 mark against those teams would have resulted in a 14-17-5 (.444) record that is right in line with this year's 12-15-9 (.458) and the 16-17 mark of 15-20-5 (.438). Indicating that UNH is the same slightly below .500 overall and below average HE team for the third year in a row...

      Analysis) I would tend to take a little from column A and B - I do think the 17-18 finish was a fluke. No way was that team, with similar roster to this year's team, THAT bad. But, it did happen and give Souza and the team credit for not letting it happen again this season minus a bit of a slow start. All told, I give the new era of UNH Hockey a still (but less) skeptical incomplete...

      The coming year is the key. UNH will likely have its best team, from a talent/depth combination, in years. They need to be an above .500 team, pushing towards a four-seed in the HE playoffs and a fringe Tournament contender. If they can meet those expectations that is two years in the right direction. If they fail to accomplish that it will he concerning considering the talent (upper class skill, two strong SO, return of Engaras, good bottom-six depth, goaltending, etc)...

      And from the broken record department - recruiting remains the absolute key to any sustained improvement. Ask the UMaine fans how many mirages have popped up indicating a light at the end of the Gendron tunnel only for them to still be stuck in neutral some six years later...

      One of two things need to happen (hopefully both) - the young forwards playing junior or prep hockey in the east need to move west to the BCHL/USHL and produce at notable to high levels and/or the rate and value of return on the recruiting trail needs to ratchet up to include more dominant young talent like Stutzle and Margel...

      A good season, next year, on the ice and on the trail and I'll climb on board - until then there are still a lot of unanswered questions, regardless of how much more enjoyable this season was to watch than last...
      Last edited by Dan; 03-17-2019, 01:38 PM.
      Live Free or Die!!
      Miami University '03

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: UNH Wildcats 2019 Offseason - How Much Progress Did We Really Make This Past Seas

        Originally posted by Darius View Post
        As an eight seed losing to a one seed? Really?
        Game One: three (3) goal lead going into the last minute of the second period. Lose 5-4 in double OT
        Game Two: down by four goals within the first 15 minutes (give or take)

        It wasn't so much "against who", Darius … it was (to me, anyway) the "I've seen this before" thing - with the "blowout in the elimination game" scenario coming (I believe?) most recently against UML.

        Maybe I'm wrong, but even in #1 vs. #8 QF match-ups - or any match-ups - postseason blowouts are seemingly rare. Which is probably why it's something that stuck to Umile in the past. I'll be first to admit I'm a little unsettled to see UNH lose a pair of QF games the way they did this weekend. Post-season folds (Game One) and no-shows (Game Two) were the last things I was hoping to see MR7 taking with him from the legacy of his retired mentor. But they BOTH happened, in the same series, too.

        Hope that helps clarify my thoughts on that issue, and apologies if I was initially vague. See what happens when I try to edit my posts and be more succinct??
        Sworn Enemy of the Perpetually Offended
        Montreal Expos Forever ...

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: UNH Wildcats 2019 Offseason - How Much Progress Did We Really Make This Past Seas

          A 6 - 2 NCAA loss to RIT, losing a 4 - 1 lead against BC in the HEA semi finals, losing to ME 7 - 2 in the NCAAs, I understand. This year I was happy not being blown out in the first period of the first game in Amherst. For a while on Friday I was considering asking you to pick Powerball numbers for me.
          I will not be out cheered in my own building.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: UNH Wildcats 2019 Offseason - How Much Progress Did We Really Make This Past Seas

            Originally posted by Chuck Murray View Post
            Game One: three (3) goal lead going into the last minute of the second period. Lose 5-4 in double OT
            Game Two: down by four goals within the first 15 minutes (give or take)

            It wasn't so much "against who", Darius it was (to me, anyway) the "I've seen this before" thing - with the "blowout in the elimination game" scenario coming (I believe?) most recently against UML.

            Maybe I'm wrong, but even in #1 vs. #8 QF match-ups - or any match-ups - postseason blowouts are seemingly rare. Which is probably why it's something that stuck to Umile in the past. I'll be first to admit I'm a little unsettled to see UNH lose a pair of QF games the way they did this weekend. Post-season folds (Game One) and no-shows (Game Two) were the last things I was hoping to see MR7 taking with him from the legacy of his retired mentor. But they BOTH happened, in the same series, too.

            Hope that helps clarify my thoughts on that issue, and apologies if I was initially vague. See what happens when I try to edit my posts and be more succinct??
            Not only was it #8 against #1 but PairWise it was #32 against #1.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: UNH Wildcats 2019 Offseason - How Much Progress Did We Really Make This Past Seas

              Originally posted by Darius View Post
              A 6 - 2 NCAA loss to RIT, losing a 4 - 1 lead against BC in the HEA semi finals, losing to ME 7 - 2 in the NCAAs, I understand. This year I was happy not being blown out in the first period of the first game in Amherst. For a while on Friday I was considering asking you to pick Powerball numbers for me.
              Yeah, no kidding. I think chickod mentioned it elsewhere first, but I'm pretty certain that if UNH makes it to the second break still up 3-0 on Friday, we're at least playing a Game 3 on Sunday. Which of course doesn't rule out just delaying what happened in the first period on Saturday until the first period on Sunday. To me, that's the maddening part. Whether UNH is an underdog or a favorite (historically), these things seem to crop up with alarming regularity (and similarity). So much of what they did this season was at least a subtle switch from the way the Umile Era was handled at the helm. But the ending was way too familiar. It's a cycle someone has got to end, and soon.

              As I write this, it's not lost on me that other HE road teams have advanced as #7 and #6 seeds ...
              Sworn Enemy of the Perpetually Offended
              Montreal Expos Forever ...

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: UNH Wildcats 2019 Offseason - How Much Progress Did We Really Make This Past Seas

                Originally posted by Chuck Murray View Post
                As I write this, it's not lost on me that other HE road teams have advanced as #7 and #6 seeds ...
                And now the 5th (BU), and the 7th (BC).

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: UNH Wildcats 2019 Offseason - How Much Progress Did We Really Make This Past Seas

                  Originally posted by chickod View Post
                  And now the 5th (BU), and the 7th (BC).
                  My apologies, I'd forgotten BU was #5 and not #6 (UMaine).

                  This whole phenomenon of seeing the old "Big Four" as the current "Next Four" takes some adjusting to.
                  Sworn Enemy of the Perpetually Offended
                  Montreal Expos Forever ...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: UNH Wildcats 2019 Offseason - How Much Progress Did We Really Make This Past Seas

                    Originally posted by Chuck Murray View Post
                    My apologies, I'd forgotten BU was #5 and not #6 (UMaine).

                    This whole phenomenon of seeing the old "Big Four" as the current "Next Four" takes some adjusting to.
                    I hear you. And jump over to the Maine thread to read my comment regarding the discussion of the whole idea of conference tournaments anyway.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: UNH Wildcats 2019 Offseason - How Much Progress Did We Really Make This Past Seas

                      So.Crookshank---So. Pierson ---Jr.Kelleher
                      Sr. BVR --------Sr.Blackburn ----Sr.Grasso
                      Fr.Stevenson---So.Engaras------Jr.MacAdams
                      So.Esposito----Fr._________----Sr.Fregona
                      Sr.Sacco-------So.Cipollone-----Jr.Sato

                      Jr.Gildon--------Sr.Wyse
                      Jr.Maass--------Fr.Ericksson
                      So.MacKinnon -So.Verrier
                      Sr.Dawson------So.Hickey

                      Jr.Robinson-----So.Taylor---Sr.Lazzaro

                      2020
                      Jr.Crookshank---Jr. Pierson ---Sr.Kelleher
                      Fr.Stutzle ------Jr.Engaras ----Sr.Grasso
                      So.Stevenson--Fr.Margel-----Sr.MacAdams
                      Jr.Esposito-----Fr.Sweeney----So.______
                      Fr.Wazny------Jr.Cipollone-----Sr.Sato


                      Sr.Maass-------So.Ericksson
                      Jr.MacKinnon --Jr.Verrier
                      Fr._______---Fr.________
                      Fr.McElhaney---Jr.Hickey

                      2021
                      Sr.Crookshank---Sr. Pierson ---So.Stutzle
                      Jr.Stevenson------Sr.Engaras----Jr.______
                      Sr.Esposito-----So.Margel-----Fr.Curran
                      Fr.Sweeney-----Fr.Jones---Fr.Cronin
                      Fr.Devlin---Sr.Cipollone---Fr.Sacco
                      So.Wazny-----

                      Sr.MacKinnon ---Jr.Ericksson
                      So._______----So.________
                      Fr.Ardanaz-------Sr.Verrier
                      So.McElhaney---Sr.Hickey

                      Fr.__________-----Sr.Taylor---So.________
                      Last edited by NCAA watcher; 03-18-2019, 08:40 AM.
                      ETTD

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: UNH Wildcats 2019 Offseason - How Much Progress Did We Really Make This Past Seas

                        Im taking the glass half full approach. Last years team was an abomination. They lost plenty of games to teams that they should have beaten. This year they won or tied the vast majority of those games. The talent level is not there to compete with top level teams like Northeastern and UMass. BTOH, they did not lose to Lowell this year and were more than competitive with Providence. In fact, Id venture to say that if UNH had somehow converted a couple of those ties into wins, edged into 7th, they would have taken PC to three games. Thats something you could not say about last year. The question is whether this year is an aberration or an indicator of things to come. I would expect that sometime this week Gildon will sign a pro deal. I am assuming he is the only one who will. That leaves a core group returning that should give the program something to build on. People say that the incoming class is just meh, so maybe there will be no big leap next season. But if they can continue to hold their own with the bottom half of the league and somehow convert a few of those ties into wins, that will be progress.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: UNH Wildcats 2019 Offseason - How Much Progress Did We Really Make This Past Seas

                          Originally posted by NCAA watcher View Post
                          So.Crookshank---So. Pierson ---Jr.Kelleher
                          Sr. BVR --------Sr.Blackburn ----Sr.Grasso
                          Fr.Stevenson---So.Engaras------Jr.MacAdams
                          So.Esposito----Fr._________----Sr.Fregona
                          Sr.Sacco-------So.Cipollone-----Jr.Sato

                          Jr.Gildon--------Sr.Wyse
                          Jr.Maass--------Fr.Ericksson
                          So.MacKinnon -So.Verrier
                          Sr.Dawson------So.Hickey

                          Jr.Robinson-----So.Taylor---Sr.Lazzaro
                          Will be shocked if Gildon is back (otherwise, this is essentially exactly what I'd expect - with updated D pairs below). However, if we're going to add a forward from outside the pipeline why settle for a role-playing FR when you can add a real difference maker...

                          https://www.eliteprospects.com/playe...9/brendan-budy
                          https://www.eliteprospects.com/playe...atias-maccelli

                          Crookshank - Pierson - Kelleher
                          [Budy/Maccelli] - Blackburn - Grasso
                          BVR - Engaras - Fregona
                          Stevenson - Sacco - MacAdams
                          Esposito/Cipollone

                          MacKinnon - Wyse
                          Eriksson - Maass
                          Dawson/McElhaney - Verrier

                          Robinson
                          Taylor
                          Last edited by Dan; 03-18-2019, 12:14 PM.
                          Live Free or Die!!
                          Miami University '03

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: UNH Wildcats 2019 Offseason - How Much Progress Did We Really Make This Past Seas

                            Originally posted by Greg Ambrose View Post
                            I’m taking the glass half full approach. Last year’s team was an abomination. They lost plenty of games to teams that they should have beaten. This year they won or tied the vast majority of those games. The talent level is not there to compete with top level teams like Northeastern and UMass. BTOH, they did not lose to Lowell this year and were more than competitive with Providence. In fact, I’d venture to say that if UNH had somehow converted a couple of those ties into wins, edged into 7th, they would have taken PC to three games. That’s something you could not say about last year. The question is whether this year is an aberration or an indicator of things to come. I would expect that sometime this week Gildon will sign a pro deal. I am assuming he is the only one who will. That leaves a core group returning that should give the program something to build on. People say that the incoming class is just meh, so maybe there will be no big leap next season. But if they can continue to hold their own with the bottom half of the league and somehow convert a few of those ties into wins, that will be progress.
                            Great. So when Gildon leaves, how do we go about selling the "next Gildon"?

                            "Hey _____ come to UNH - we're all about slow, steady progress. We're beating the teams we should beat, and if it all goes to plan, we'll be 6th by your senior year, and might have home ice by the time you make The Show."

                            You're a few years older than I am, Greg. I admire your patience, but I'm losing mine. If this is going to be the "Red Gendron Lite" version of a rebuild, I'm not going to be a happy camper. We just … frittered away a decade on the "Bon Voyage Richie" wet kiss, and I think a lot of folks are anxious to see some results. If there was a thought that somehow Coach Souza was going to be a better instructor/teacher of the game and/or a better in-game strategist, those hopes took a few dents this past weekend.

                            OK ... part of that was "devil's advocate", and part of that was legit and raw after a sobering QF exit - not the exit itself, but the way it transpired. Way too much same-old, same-old vibe for my liking ...
                            Sworn Enemy of the Perpetually Offended
                            Montreal Expos Forever ...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: UNH Wildcats 2019 Offseason - How Much Progress Did We Really Make This Past Seas

                              Gildon might leave but he's far from ready IMHO!

                              It's also far too early to stir the pot on Souza. We had this conversation last year during golf season.
                              GO BLUE/GO UNH

                              COLLEGE HOCKEY RULES

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