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UNH Hockey 2023-2024 Season Thread - End Of The Cellar-Dweller Era??

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  • Originally posted by Dan View Post

    Another challenge met - and in decisive fashion. Great sign. UNH should now be notably favored in (at the very least) seven of their next eight…

    Getting ahead of ourselves, but - Can they head into the first 2024 BU matchup at 13-3-1 or better?
    When you post something like this I know it's getting pretty serious up in these neck of the woods!! But yeah, hey, why not?? Right now, there is so much to like/love
    about this team...they play hard, usually all 60 minutes, have been getting contributions from the newbies (I mentioned to Ryan Conmy when I met him at the
    autograph sesh that he reminded me of TyK...he said "I'll have to look him up" ha! ) Speaking of Conmy he's had a couple of great games; that shortie (UNH's 4th of
    the season for those keeping track) last night was amazing; he never gave up on that puck for that wrap around...Great to see Jason Siedem get on the
    scoresheet as well.

    Let's see, checking my notes, UNH is #7 in pairwise, with 5 HE teams in the top 10 (if I have that right). Our PK is #3 in the nation, which came in pretty
    handy this weekend as we were plagued with penalties esp Friday with the 5 min major. And, isn't it refreshing that we actually get more than one chance in the
    zone? Seems like a weird thing to say but it stands out and is showing on the score board. Our break outs have improved as well...

    Was happy for Nick Cafarelli getting one last night as he had spent alot of time the second half of last season injured. We are developing (if we don't have it already)
    a top line and I think Sardo has really become a great play maker. Egads, could it be that UNH has some DEPTH this season??? And we have TWO capable goal tenders...
    was thrilled for Hellsten (listed as the #1 tendie at the moment with a .951 sv%) getting the shut out/TyMuz had a great game Friday night.

    Yeah, I'm prob getting ahead of myself but seeing this team doing so well right now, you can't help it. Wishing everyone out there a great Thanksgiving!! Not
    going to RIT I do have my limits....lol

    EDIT: just checking some stats, the last time UNH swept NU was in the 2012-2013 season. Then we beat them in a great HE match up
    in 2014 sending us to the Garden that year. Time to get back there...
    Last edited by HockeyRef; 11-19-2023, 10:49 AM.
    I'm just here for the hockey...

    Comment


    • Originally posted by d.gerry View Post

      That will certainly be a tough one for Rich. The decision probably becomes clearer if the freshman class continues to achieve and sophomores improve. If that happens it becomes hard to argue he isn’t starting to bring in talent you can build on.

      Edit: I had the ‘Cats coming out of the weekend with a single point, glad I’m horrible at predictions!
      Join the club; my predicts have been pretty atrocious this past season after coming off a pretty stellar run last season. It's great to be wrong isn't it??
      I'm just here for the hockey...

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Darius View Post
        I feel your excitement, am still tempering expectations. NU is 41 in the Pairwise. In seven league games they've scored 8 and surrendered 25 goals. Last night they played a goal tender whose career NCAA numbers are 0 - 7 - 0, GAA: 5.0, SV%: .813. The next three games against ranked opponents on the road will tell a lot. RIT is 32 in the Pairwise so maybe a bit of a poser, but UMO is Pairwise 7 and very tough to play especially coming off losing two at BU.
        Agree with all of your points sir. You can't overlook anyone or look past anyone. UNH (like any team) is bound to have their hiccups of course and I think RIT is going to be a
        tough weekend. I mean the ride alone up there...was glad our son chose UNH instead as he was interested in that school.

        I think it's how a team prepares, and responds/rebounds to set backs. What a time to be alive tho!

        Ps
        Good luck Soccer Cats!

        Pss In other "must know news" D1 NCAA field hockey clash #1 v #2 today for the title. Alittle info that's interesting...North Carolina's HC Erin Matson at 23 is
        the youngest D1 coach for any sport. An NC alum who has won 4 straight titles, I think she has a clue...
        Last edited by HockeyRef; 11-19-2023, 10:11 AM.
        I'm just here for the hockey...

        Comment


        • Regarding the "elephant in the room" ... let's see where this all ends up. Where it's currently headed, seems to be in a (surprisingly) very good direction. I take comfort from Darius' prediction that an NCAA bid would net a modest extension, as opposed to the long-term deal from the new AD. I've raised the prior history with Coach MacDonnell (Football) where he struggled for several seasons, before turning that ship around for a nice long cruise of moderate postseason success. His program turned when assistant Chip Kelley turned Ricky Santos and David Ball into the dynamic pair that literally changed the face of how offensive football is now played at ALL levels of the game, and while Kelly would move on to bigger and better things ... MacDonnell maintained the program as a postseason fixture for well over a decade afterwards.

          I'm not sure what's behind the MS7 early season turnaround? There is the possibility that this is just another mirage, and we've seen a few of these spurts dotted across his coaching career to date. And even if you want to take the media's general take on this - which is that this is an extension of the 'Cats strong second half play last season - you have to overlook the fact that UNH finished last season losing 4 or 5 straight, and that last Winter's "spurt" if extended out, really wasn't more than a two month stretch of .500 hockey.

          Souza has not brought any new assistant coach onto his staff, or even shuffled duties and responsibilities like MacDonnell did that led to Kelly's emergence. There really hasn't been any player on the Santos/Ball level to transform things, unless you want to say Leclerc is that guy? I'd love to see someone interview a returning player who could explain beyond the bland coachspeak things ("one game at a time, next man up") what is different between last year's team and this year's team? Absent that, I still worry, this may be a mirage to some degree.

          The next eight games definitely gives UNH a chance to really build some distance above .500 before the meat of the HEA schedule returns in early 2024. Anyone going out to Rochester next weekend, be sure to check out the Dinosaur BBQ, which is right across the river from the AHL arena in town (probably not close to RIT, but worth the trip):

          Rochester BBQ Restaurant & Catering (dinosaurbarbque.com)

          Off to see the UNH Men's Soccer team host the defending NCAA Champion Syracuse Orangemen in Durham today. A win over the defending champs could lead to another home game at midweek in the national Round of 16.

          On a sad note ... just read that the B's enforcer Milan Lucic got pinched this week in Boston. Same sad old story ...
          Sworn Enemy of the Perpetually Offended
          Montreal Expos Forever ...

          Comment


          • I think that if you heard Souza talk about the season going in he felt that he had a good group chemistry wise..without getting into the rest of
            his commentary about players leaving...I don't think he has to bring in any new assistants and my feeling about that is why should he when he wants to
            run the show. He's not in the MacDonald realm age wise (and not trying to be ageist) and he's definitely not planning to surrender at this point. I mean, the guy is coaching
            for his collective career right now, and he's going to do whatever it takes to preserve that, even tho I do agree, if he gets a contract extension, it's not going to
            be more than a 1-2 year thing (IMHO)

            Personally while I don't think the way the transition went down was the right thing to do...(water under the proverbial bridge at this point and prob not
            even worth discussing? anymore) I have always wanted to see him succeed as I'm sure many still do. Obviously something is working out well but as many of you
            pros say its still too early and there's a ton of hockey to play. (Thank God for that)

            I mean, the 'Whitt has been full at this point which is huge in itself speaking to the support area (and beyond) fans want to give to the 'Cats. I overheard a convo
            walking around 'finally we are good again'...just hope it pans out. Right now? I'm booking a trip to Burlington tho Chuck you do know how to get to a Southern gals
            heart with your barbeque recommendation! Wonder if it would match the barbeque we had in Schenectady? Ha!
            I'm just here for the hockey...

            Comment


            • Soccer 'Cats up 2-0 with 8 mins to go in the first...
              I'm just here for the hockey...

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Chuck Murray View Post
                Regarding the "elephant in the room" ... let's see where this all ends up. Where it's currently headed, seems to be in a (surprisingly) very good direction. I take comfort from Darius' prediction that an NCAA bid would net a modest extension, as opposed to the long-term deal from the new AD. I've raised the prior history with Coach MacDonnell (Football) where he struggled for several seasons, before turning that ship around for a nice long cruise of moderate postseason success. His program turned when assistant Chip Kelley turned Ricky Santos and David Ball into the dynamic pair that literally changed the face of how offensive football is now played at ALL levels of the game, and while Kelly would move on to bigger and better things ... MacDonnell maintained the program as a postseason fixture for well over a decade afterwards.

                I'm not sure what's behind the MS7 early season turnaround? There is the possibility that this is just another mirage, and we've seen a few of these spurts dotted across his coaching career to date. And even if you want to take the media's general take on this - which is that this is an extension of the 'Cats strong second half play last season - you have to overlook the fact that UNH finished last season losing 4 or 5 straight, and that last Winter's "spurt" if extended out, really wasn't more than a two month stretch of .500 hockey.

                Souza has not brought any new assistant coach onto his staff, or even shuffled duties and responsibilities like MacDonnell did that led to Kelly's emergence. There really hasn't been any player on the Santos/Ball level to transform things, unless you want to say Leclerc is that guy? I'd love to see someone interview a returning player who could explain beyond the bland coachspeak things ("one game at a time, next man up") what is different between last year's team and this year's team? Absent that, I still worry, this may be a mirage to some degree.

                The next eight games definitely gives UNH a chance to really build some distance above .500 before the meat of the HEA schedule returns in early 2024. Anyone going out to Rochester next weekend, be sure to check out the Dinosaur BBQ, which is right across the river from the AHL arena in town (probably not close to RIT, but worth the trip):

                Rochester BBQ Restaurant & Catering (dinosaurbarbque.com)

                Off to see the UNH Men's Soccer team host the defending NCAA Champion Syracuse Orangemen in Durham today. A win over the defending champs could lead to another home game at midweek in the national Round of 16.

                On a sad note ... just read that the B's enforcer Milan Lucic got pinched this week in Boston. Same sad old story ...
                You’re going to find this answer very unsatisfying but in my opinion it just takes a lot of time in college hockey before you really own a program. I think the best and fairest way to assess a coach would be to look at what they are doing in years six, seven, eight, nine, etc. I’m sure it’s taken Souza some time to figure out what works and doesn’t work then implement it.

                I thought what UNH did in the second half last year was incredibly impressive. It’s easy to play decent hockey when things are going your way but to turn it around when they’re not is incredibly difficult. Watching the two games against Maine last winter they clearly had their act together.

                Beyond UNH’s record this year the fact that Souza got a big donation in the door, the Whitt is filling up again, and UNH has got sone good recruits lined up have to go a long way. I definitely took notice of the fact UNH has four or five guys on the draft watch list and Maine had none. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has already signed an extension.
                Originally posted by BobbyBrady
                Crosby probably wouldn't even be on BC's top two lines next year

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Drew S. View Post

                  You’re going to find this answer very unsatisfying but in my opinion it just takes a lot of time in college hockey before you really own a program. I think the best and fairest way to assess a coach would be to look at what they are doing in years six, seven, eight, nine, etc. I’m sure it’s taken Souza some time to figure out what works and doesn’t work then implement it.

                  I thought what UNH did in the second half last year was incredibly impressive. It’s easy to play decent hockey when things are going your way but to turn it around when they’re not is incredibly difficult. Watching the two games against Maine last winter they clearly had their act together.

                  Beyond UNH’s record this year the fact that Souza got a big donation in the door, the Whitt is filling up again, and UNH has got sone good recruits lined up have to go a long way. I definitely took notice of the fact UNH has four or five guys on the draft watch list and Maine had none. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has already signed an extension.
                  I’m a glass half full type of guy so I like this post.

                  Admittedly, Northeastern is not a world beater right now but to take all three from them is impressive and tough to do in Hockey East. That and a couple of big wins already gives me some hope for this club.
                  UNH Hockey: You can check out any time you like but you can never leave!

                  Comment


                  • Talk about impressive both UNH football teams had big wins this weekend as well:-)
                    UNH Hockey: You can check out any time you like but you can never leave!

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Chuck Murray View Post
                      Regarding the "elephant in the room" ... let's see where this all ends up. Where it's currently headed, seems to be in a (surprisingly) very good direction. I take comfort from Darius' prediction that an NCAA bid would net a modest extension, as opposed to the long-term deal from the new AD…
                      Just maintaining this season’s performance level would net a modest extension. An NCAA bid alone wouldn’t add to it, but winning a game might and a HEA championship or advancing out of the regionals would. An NCAA championship makes him coach for life. I’m still waiting to see what the next two weekends bring.
                      I will not be out cheered in my own building.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Drew S. View Post
                        You're going to find this answer very unsatisfying but in my opinion it just takes a lot of time in college hockey before you really own a program. I think the best and fairest way to assess a coach would be to look at what they are doing in years six, seven, eight, nine, etc. I'm sure it's taken Souza some time to figure out what works and doesn't work then implement it.
                        Yours is actually a fair take all around Drew, so let me focus on the parts where we may still have disagreement. There are a lot of coaches who don't get the benefit of getting to "years six, seven, eight, nine, etc." without showing some ability to win before that late in the game. Even the MacDonnell/UNH Football comp started to pay dividends earlier than MS7 has. The household names in Hockey East that we've all seen over the past generation - Walsh, Umile, York, Parker, or even more recent names like Bazin, Carvel, Leaman and Barr - they've had the programs they took over turned around in half the time or (much) less. Heck, Borek has done more with less, and more quickly too, than MS7 at UNH up to this point. The only semi-comps to MS7's pattern I can think of in recent HEA history are Madigan at NU, and MS7's "svengali" down in Storrs (my BFF Luce Canaan), who at this point is looking very much like the poster child for not giving a hefty long-term extension to someone who has taken a long time to (barely) get out of the starting blocks. More on that later ...

                        Originally posted by Drew S. View Post
                        I thought what UNH did in the second half last year was incredibly impressive. It's easy to play decent hockey when things are going your way but to turn it around when they're not is incredibly difficult. Watching the two games against Maine last winter they clearly had their act together.
                        Another fair point. One can look at it that way ... or one could look at it as a desperate UNH team led by a desperate HC coming off what, a 10 plus game winless streak in late '22, playing with a "nothing to lose" mentality against a series of overconfident, more talented teams biding their time in the middle of winter for the games that really count come late February into early March. At which point, UNH went pffffttttt ...

                        Originally posted by Drew S. View Post
                        Beyond UNH's record this year the fact that Souza got a big donation in the door, the Whitt is filling up again, and UNH has got sone good recruits lined up have to go a long way. I definitely took notice of the fact UNH has four or five guys on the draft watch list and Maine had none. I wouldn't be surprised if he has already signed an extension.
                        I'm not sure MS7 can take a bow for the huge DiLorenzo gift (I'm sure he'd take credit for it though), my guess is DiLorenzo's interest in UNH Hockey probably attaches more closely to the Umile Era - and of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't state the obvious and point out he is paisan as well. Then again, one wonders why Blue Skies didn't usher the DiLorenzo largesse into the UNH camp earlier, if it was a Umile thing? Timing is always the key, and it seems like DiLorenzo is starting to shift into "legacy" mode after one of his kids had a close call with death, then bought the island property estate in Portsmouth, fit in the UNH donation, and now is waiting to close on the game-changing McIntyre property. There almost seems to be a race between Joe Faro (Tuscan etc.) and DiLorenzo (Key Auto) to see which borderline boomer UNH grad emerges as the NH Philanthropist of the first half of the 21st century. UNH being on board with one is great; being on board with both would be spectacular.

                        But the arena is getting closer to its old sold-out glory, and at least for a little bit of time right now, there seems to be a buzz emerging that has been missing for quite awhile. And good for that, Drew, 'cuz otherwise your guy up in Orono is going to dominate the Border Battle for a long, long time. Maybe it took UMaine hiring a guy like Barr, and UNH letting his contract wind down, to get MS7's full attention to apply the necessary urgency to his job??

                        This will all be a very important decision for our new AD, and hopefully one that she handles like a seasoned professional. She just let a more successful and experienced Men's Hoops HC walk the plank while in the same circumstances last Spring as MS7 will likely be in this coming Spring ('24). If these promising green shoots of growth continue to mature into a good ending of the season, then I can live with a one-two year extension, depending on whether the success is just a winning record (one year extension) or real postseason accomplishment/progress (two years). The worst thing UNH can do is to splurge on a long-term deal for a guy who may (or may not?) be just breaking through into a longer run of success. Look at what's happened to the guys at UMass and UConn, both of whom signed long-term deals not so long ago. In Carvel's case, he transformed UMass (permanently or temporarily, the jury is still out) into a national championship and perennial HEA power, which has seemed to lose some traction recently. But who wouldn't "settle" for a NC, right?? UConn apparently signed Luce to the biggest deal in HEA (D-1?) history to fend off supposedly losing him to BC (see Umile plays UMass, March 2000) on the basis of one (1) winning season, and one (1) trip to the HEA Tourney in Boston. PLEASE don't fall into that trap, AD Rich.

                        I'll touch on the actual real glory that is UNH Soccer later tonight after I get back from the celebrations ... ;-)
                        Sworn Enemy of the Perpetually Offended
                        Montreal Expos Forever ...

                        Comment


                        • I echo your feelings e.cat about Drew's post; its nice to get feedback from others who can be objective. I got to thinking after reading it and
                          it came to me that just like players coaches have 'break out years'. I mean, is that a thing a coach can do? Has Mike Souza come into his
                          own? That is a serious q btw...

                          All I know is this team plays with purpose which isn't something you can coach. Mr. HR said last night on the way home that this is
                          the first team he's seen in awhile that doesn't quit (that Conmy shortie he never gave up on the puck) as well as other things..

                          Ps Congrats to the Soccer 'Cats! I flipped back and forth between the d1, d2 field hockey championships and that game so I was
                          quite busy in the sports world today. Enjoyed watching them play and might just go next weekend to see them in the second round.
                          (Seeing theres no more field hockey and all....)
                          I'm just here for the hockey...

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Darius View Post
                            I feel your excitement, am still tempering expectations. NU is 41 in the Pairwise. In seven league games they've scored 8 and surrendered 25 goals. Last night they played a goal tender whose career NCAA numbers are 0 - 7 - 0, GAA: 5.0, SV%: .813. The next three games against ranked opponents on the road will tell a lot. RIT is 32 in the Pairwise so maybe a bit of a poser, but UMO is Pairwise 7 and very tough to play especially coming off losing two at BU.
                            Anyone else find it curious that we are playing two OOC games away against a team that has never visited Snively or the Whitt, and in the only game that we have played against one another, RIT “Umiliated” us 6-2 at the Albany NE Regional Final on 27 March 2010? The night before, RIT upset #1 seed DU 2-1, and we beat #2 seed Cornell 6-2 in the semi’s. I was so excited about our prospects after those two semi-final games that I was not paying attention to the fact that my vehicle got locked inside a downtown parking garage forcing me to pay the big bucks for a downtown hotel room after leaving the bar (fortunately I had not already made reservations for an el cheapo motel outside Albany, as I was planning to drive home had we lost to Cornell). I really thought that we were heading to the FF at Ford Field until RIT broke the 1-1 tie late in the second, and then scored three more times in the third to go up 5-1. One longggg downhill slide into oblivion since then. Before that disastrous season finale, we commonly visited Ann Arbor, East Lansing, Grand Forks, Minneapolis, and other midwestern sites for a couple regular season OOC games, and those teams would return the favor by visiting the Whitt. The last midwestern team to visit the Whitt for two was Nodak a few years ago, I think. That said, our Wildcats cannot look beyond the Tigers, who are perennial regular season champions in the AHA.
                            Last edited by Snively65; 11-19-2023, 06:25 PM.

                            Comment


                            • Congrats to Coach Hubbard and his team for a dominant 3-0 win over defending national champions Syracuse this afternoon at The House That Blue Skies Built. As opposed to the team that lost to Bryant 1-0 in the second overtime period in the conference championship game last weekend, UNH had control over this one from start to finish, jumping ahead after just over 5 minutes, doubling that margin to 2-0 later in the first half, and putting it away at the hour mark in the second half at 3-0. Syracuse - which had beaten BU in their preliminary Round of 48 meeting last week - returned 5 starters, and 9 overall players from last year's National Championship team, and reading some of the pregame notes, there was an indication that they relied heavily on corner kicks and set pieces to generate their offense. UNH never really let them play their game, and it felt like the teams could have played all night without the Orangemen denting the 'Cats resolute defense.

                              The #8 overall seeding - UNH's best-ever for the national tourney - comes in handy next weekend, when #9 Clemson comes to Durham for the Round of 16 match (3rd round technically, including UNH's prelim round bye) fresh off their own 3-0 home win over Charlotte. Two years ago, another perennial power from the Carolinas (UNC) made the trip to frosty Durham, and lost decisively 4-1 to the 'Cats, in the game otherwise known for the Bridger Hanson "bicycle kick" goal. One wonders if the probable post-Thanksgiving cold weather could prove decisive (again) for UNH against their Southern rivals. The winner advances to the national quarterfinals (Round of 8) to face the winner of #1 overall Marshall and unseeded Stanford. If UNH can win, it would be the high-water mark for Coach Hubbard's program, and IF Stanford can travel to the wilds of West Virginia and pull an upset, the local UNH soccer fanatics would likely be treated to a home match with Stanford with a trip to the Final Four in Louisville KY on the line.

                              Bracket (ncaa.com)

                              Other teams of interest to UNH ... while Bryant bowed out in the preliminary round with a respectable 1-0 loss to Yale (also since eliminated), our old rivals from west of the Connecticut River have made some noise, and by winning games over Rider and #12 Cal-Fullerton, UVM is also still playing, and will face #5 West Virginia (the lone remaining seed in their bracket) on Saturday in Morgantown. The way the bracketing is set up, there will be a lot of money on an All-West Virgina semfinal of Marshall v. WVU ... but how cool would it be for that game to be between the two perennial America East powers UNH and UVM instead?!? UVM may actually have an easier road to Louisville (with a decimated bracket), but both programs have become regular competitors at this level, and it might be a lot of fun to make an unexpected trip to Louisville with the family in early December. What an improbable story that would be - WAY more unexpected than UMaine v. UNH in Anaheim '99!! GO 'CATS!!!!!!!!!!!!
                              Sworn Enemy of the Perpetually Offended
                              Montreal Expos Forever ...

                              Comment


                              • UNH moves up 1 spot to #12
                                I'm just here for the hockey...

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