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

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  • Originally posted by Snively65 View Post
    Woo hoo!! Way to score, Cy Leclerc! Now we are 1-2-0 all time against RIT.
    OH MY Cyyyyyyy!! And Comny snipe (4 point weekend) with 5.2 to go. Thank you Hockey Gods...finally something good out of the weekend....Hellsten comes up big too.

    Let's go Soccer 'Cats!
    Last edited by HockeyRef; 11-25-2023, 06:51 PM.
    I'm just here for the hockey...

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    • Originally posted by HockeyRef View Post

      OH MY Cyyyyyyy!! And Comny snipe (4 point weekend) with 5.2 to go. Thank you Hockey Gods...finally something good out of the weekend....Hellsten comes up big too.

      Let's go Soccer 'Cats!
      And LeClerc’s GWG with 5 seconds remaining in OT also (for his 4-point weekend), and Luke Reid picked up 3 assists on the weekend. UNH now 3.4 GPG and 2.6 GAG, which projects to 119 goals scored and 91 goals against on the season.

      Comment


      • Before I go on further, let me just say this ... like Charlie Brown, taunted by Lucy while holding the football, all the while expecting in the back of my mind that the football will get yanked on me at the crucial moment ... I am in. Not without reservations, mind you, but I am IN. No, make that, I AM IN. And you can quote me on this, going forwards.

        What a fun and exciting weekend of college hockey out in Rochester, and boy, do I wish things had worked out differently, as I would have loved to be there. The RIT program seems to have a lot going for it, and this year's team looks like a fun watch, and were certainly a fantastic match for UNH on their home ice. While watching the first game last night, any of us old-timers could have been seen referring to the "UNH way-back machine" on the last time the two teams had met, and how a lethargic UNH effort in the middle frame had cost the 'Cats a fortuitous trip to the Frozen Four at the hands of these same Tigers. That UNH didn't just give in, and actually pressed hard for a late equalizer, didn't seem to matter much, and one could be forgiven for overlooking that slight inconsistency with the old script ...

        NCAA Tournament: UNH blows it; RIT, Wisconsin Detroit-bound (yahoo.com)

        ... and then tonight, we saw a somewhat similar script play out, with UNH dropping behind by two, then equalizing fairly quickly ... but then the script went down a different rabbit hole. RIT and JoJo (sorry - still working off the likeable local telecast duo's impact!) took the lead, and this time it was held down by Tommy in goal for a LONG stretch of defensive ride time, as UNH pressed and pressed and pressed without luck for an elusive equalizer. But just when it seemed Tommy had been able to hold down the fort for a notable RIT sweep, a desperate hold-in at the blue line with about 10 ticks left set about a course of events that ended with HEA ROY Conmy bombing home the equalizer in space at the doorstep. Definitely NOT Tommy's fault. And once that happened, you just knew (even) UNH was gonna win in OT, which LeClerc did, again in the final seconds. Effing bravo, boys!!!

        And suddenly, that six-plus hour trek back home on the endless Thruway was not such a bad ride. Heck, they're probably pulled over as we speak, urinating on the lawns at Union College in Schenectadots. Talk about burying ghosts.

        A quick moment here to comment on the TV broadcasts. Despite my poking fun at the RIT broadcast team, and the over-familiarity with some of the players' nicknames ... those two guys do a wonderful job of playing off each other, leaning homer-ish, but knowing a decent amount on the opposition, and adding a good-sized dollop of objectivity to the commentary. They were easily better informed AND more entertaining as broadcasters than any team I've seen broadcast for NESN over the last generation. And the woman who did the sideline reporter gig actually asked good questions, seemed to have a good read and sense of the games, and gave added value to the broadcast. Which leads me to the following question: why can't UNH go back to doing their own broadcasts?? It almost makes me want to add RIT as the elusive 12th team in Hockey East. HEA doesn't need another Boston team. HEA isn't going to get Quinnipiac. If the choice were ever to come down to Holy Cross, Bentley or RIT ... put me down for RIT.

        Now, back to the main course. This was a UNH team that probably fell into the easy trap of "well, it's an OOC against an Atlantic Hockey foe", and that cost them on Friday. And while it nearly cost them on Saturday, it didn't. It didn't because this UNH team did something very unlike many of its predecessors had done in the past, which is to look down the barrel of a potentially disastrous weekend sweep that could have brought up all of the bad omens of the past, and just willed themselves to a victory. OK, an OT win, or whatever. They did not lose, and in fact, they succeeded twice - in the same game, mind you - in the closing seconds to first avoid a weekend sweep, and then to do that one bit better at the end of overtime. This was an exciting series between two fun teams that matched up well against each other, played games like it meant something, and both got their just desserts.

        Was this still a November game that doesn't move the needle on HEA standings, and probably doesn't do much with PWR? Yup and yup. Is it time to start booking travel plans to the Frozen Four? Not unless you're well-heeled and can absorb the financial loss and/or will just enjoy the late winter travel to watch some really good D-1 hockey. But this is entertaining hockey, and it is looking like winning hockey, too. It's been a month-and-a-half now, and trust me, I'm watching for all of the usual red flags. I'm risking looking foolish in getting behind a coach for whom I've had little in the way of positive things to say in recent seasons. But screw all of that, I've been made to look foolish before, so what's one more fruitless run-up to the elusive football, right Lucy?? And this time, I just know you ain't gonna yank it away on me ... right?!?!?!?

        ------------------------

        On the NHL front, I would be amiss as well if I didn't briefly mention that I'm also now bought in on my beloved DRW, and the current state of the YzerPlan. A second straight regulation win over the B's after an equally dominant win over the Devils, and this team feels a lot different to the recent baby step improvements we've seen, as they dig out from under the monumental hole former GM Kenny Holland dug for them prior to his departure for EDM (where they are now imploding, while Holland - a former career back-up goalie as a player - stumbles to find a goalie to keep that team afloat, with the latest "solution" being a former DRW AHL lifer Cal Pickard). At some point, Yzerman himself will have to deal for his own franchise goalie if they're going to get past playoff qualification, and move on to Cup contention. There is a pile of draft capital he's sitting on, and a tempting potential opportunity to sign Patrick Kane as a UFA in the coming weeks (DRW are supposedly in the final 3 for him) that will test his reliance on his long-term draft strategy. So it's fun to be a DRW and UNH fan again.

        Otherwise, I promised not to comment on James van Healthyscratch's absence from the lineup Friday afternoon ... ;-)

        ... and looking forward to the UNH v. Clemson showdown tomorrow afternoon to see if UNH makes it to the Elite Eight! A win, and either UNH advances to face #1 overall Marshall in WV OR will host #16 Stanford. There is an article on seacoastonline.com a couple of days ago on the fact that Clemson's former head coach was once UNH's head coach about 20 years ago. I'd share it, but it's blocked by a paywall. GO CATS!!
        Sworn Enemy of the Perpetually Offended
        Montreal Expos Forever ...

        Comment


        • FWIW our cross-border rivals UVM lost a 2-1 heartbreaker at West Virginia this evening in the Round of 16. UVM fell behind early, but equalized later in the first half, and while the hosts would go ahead 2-1 at 81 minutes on a header from a corner kick, they also had to make a goal line clearance of a UVM shot with just over a minute left.

          But UVM was far from overmatched, and I expect UNH can take a lot of good karma from that into tomorrow's match, which arguably becomes one of the biggest D-1 soccer game in New Hampshire history. Dartmouth made the Round of Eight 3 times in the last century ('64-'90-'92) at a time when soccer's national profile was still pretty low, and I have no idea the details of those losses, or whether they hosted or traveled.

          Time for Coach Hubbard to shine, and to take his team to new and challenging places for the program. GO CATS!!!
          Sworn Enemy of the Perpetually Offended
          Montreal Expos Forever ...

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          • Looks like Chucks favorite coach will sign a long contract extension. Friday should be an interesting game.
            I swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell.

            Maine Hockey Love it or Leave it

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            • If you’re a UNH fan this game was “snatch victory from the jaws of defeat”. If you’re an RIT fan this game was a “snatch defeat from the jaws of victory”.

              Their goalie stood on his head both nights and last nights game could have been lopsided for UNH if not for him. Conmy and LeClerc goals both snipes. The local broadcast, who were very good, mentioned UNH would have a long bus ride home if they got swept. Thankfully that didn’t happen.

              Go UNH soccer cats! Hoping last nights win gives the soccer team some good karma.
              UNH Hockey: You can check out any time you like but you can never leave!

              Comment


              • Speaking of the RIT announcers we turned them off (muted) with about a min to go in regulation...not because they weren't good to listen to we were just bummed we were going to lose and couldn't bear to hear anymore about how RIT would sweep the #10 (their words) team in the country!

                So what if they got most of the names wrong...had to love the 'oh no it's LeClerc' as he scored the GWG. What a sweet shot that was..coupled with Comny's last second heroics. (Not to mention his pass out to Cy who turned it on and beat Tommy 5 hole...)

                You have to give a tip o the cap to RiT particularly to Tommy Scarfone...if there are awards in the Atlantic he certainly deserves all of them. Ill be paying attention to that team.

                After being disappointed in so many other games UNH found a way to win and that's what we have always said here about other 'good teams'. And now with Chuck 'all in' heck the sky is the limit! Seriously tho exciting as it was I am sure there was a lot to take from this weekend to learn by...Maine is a big er HUGE test esp up there...

                But for this morning I'm enjoying this and hope to see the Soccer Cats take that big step into the Elite 8...
                Last edited by HockeyRef; 11-26-2023, 08:42 AM.
                I'm just here for the hockey...

                Comment


                • Next thing we might see is Chuck “buying in” to the importance of SOG’s, right, e.cat? :-)

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                  • HUGE character win last night. A few weeks ago I typed "The next three games against ranked opponents on the road will tell a lot". So far so good and like Chuck, I AM IN; although the appropriate phrase is I BELIEVE IN UNH! Not to say they will get there, but this team can compete for the Garden and an NCAA appearance.

                    Of note last night, Gagne made a great play keeping the puck in the zone just before Conmy's game tying goal. No assist, but no goal without that play. Also, the 'cats split a series in which they never led during playing time.
                    I will not be out cheered in my own building.

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                    • Welcome back Chuck. Last night was let’s say stessfull but definitely makes the trip a little easier.

                      Friday will be another test and much work needed before then. Questions of the week will be is Liam back and who takes net for the solo game of the week. Jakob made huge saves last night but the last 2 for Tyler are not as bad as the box score indicates.

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                      • Originally posted by Darius View Post
                        HUGE character win last night. A few weeks ago I typed "The next three games against ranked opponents on the road will tell a lot". So far so good and like Chuck, I AM IN; although the appropriate phrase is I BELIEVE IN UNH! Not to say they will get there, but this team can compete for the Garden and an NCAA appearance.

                        Of note last night, Gagne made a great play keeping the puck in the zone just before Conmy's game tying goal. No assist, but no goal without that play. Also, the 'cats split a series in which they never led during playing time.
                        Good point about Gagne's contribution to that tying goal will have to re -watch. Would have to agree that this W was a huge character win for UNH...I will say that they play with alot of tenacity and last night it paid off. I saw that from the exhibition game v Maine.

                        They will need that and a whole lot more on Friday.

                        Goalie predict: TyMuz gets the nod but it will depend
                        on how they practice this week. But no Devlin.



                        I'm just here for the hockey...

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Snively65 View Post
                          Next thing we might see is Chuck “buying in” to the importance of SOG’s, right, e.cat? :-)
                          Lol. He’s not taking the bait snives.
                          UNH Hockey: You can check out any time you like but you can never leave!

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Darius View Post
                            HUGE character win last night. A few weeks ago I typed "The next three games against ranked opponents on the road will tell a lot". So far so good and like Chuck, I AM IN; although the appropriate phrase is I BELIEVE IN UNH! Not to say they will get there, but this team can compete for the Garden and an NCAA appearance.

                            Of note last night, Gagne made a great play keeping the puck in the zone just before Conmy's game tying goal. No assist, but no goal without that play. Also, the 'cats split a series in which they never led during playing time.
                            I was wondering who that was. Huge play
                            UNH Hockey: You can check out any time you like but you can never leave!

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by e.cat View Post
                              Lol. He’s not taking the bait snives.
                              With 49 SOG’s, sooner or later at least some of them gotta get by the goalie.

                              Comment


                              • Long-time lurker, infrequent poster here ... It's a relatively short trip for me to Rochester, so I couldn't pass up a chance to see if this season's UNH resurgence was in fact for real or just a mirage. Late on Saturday night I thought I'd find myself driving home in a funk, but wow - did that change in a hurry! Way to go 'Cats! Probably way too much commentary follows - so sue me :-)

                                Unlike Chuck, I'm still not ready to go ALL IN on this team (even with qualifiers) as a potential NCAA participant, but I will say this - this squad is filled with *relentless* competitors that opponents underestimate to their peril. Digging themselves into an early 0-2 hole both nights was certainly not part of the game plan, but these 'Cats didn't panic, didn't fold, and came roaring back to tie each time; I don't think that earlier Souza teams would've had the intestinal fortitude to do that. Both early RIT goals on Friday Ken Dryden in his Cornell prime wouldn't have stopped: a point-blank roof job off a horrendous UNH D-zone turnover, then another top shelf rocket off a seeing eye tip at the face-off dot. On Saturday UNH switched to a more aggressive fore-check scheme from the git go and began peppering Scarfone with shot after shot ... which is fine if you don't neglect the defensive side of things. RIT jumped out again to an early lead with 2 goals off of well-executed odd-man rushes, as UNH was caught both times with too many guys too deep in the O-zone to counter. "Not again," thinks I, but when RIT's Catalano is sent off on a major penalty (more on this in a bit) for "contact to the head," UNH nets 2 on the ensuing PP, the first on a nice move by Cafarelli, and the equalizer on an absolute pea by LeClerc, a rising slapper from the top of the left circle that was in/out so fast Scarfone never moved. Game on! After a scoreless 2nd, RIT regained the lead on a PP goal midway thru the 3rd and it looked grim, especially after M. Winters was assessed a major of his own (spearing; more in a bit) with ~ 6 minutes to play. But the 'Cats held firm and successfully killed it off, setting the stage for not 1, but 2 last second heroics that turned all but sure defeat - and a weekend RIT sweep - into a most improbable split (well sort of, since ot wins are now considered just 2/3 of a victory in the PWR). The stakes were much less dire, but I'd like to think they were channeling 2009 all over again, with RIT orange/black filling in for NoDak green/white. Or going back even further, BU red/white from 1998 in Albany. Let me tell you, I jumped out of my seat just the same :-)

                                And now a word (OK, several words) on video review - I can't recall another series in recent memory that was defined so completely in my mind by video "reassessment" ... As we all know, unlike VAR in futbol, or video review as implemented by MLB and the NFL, the college hockey version is closer to that of the NBA, i.e, the same officials making the initial call during the run of play will review their OWN calls via video replay and render a follow-up judgement. In some sense it's a do-over, an opportunity to correct an egregious mistake or verify an on-ice call. All of that, and more, was on display in both these games this weekend ...

                                On Friday, late in the 2nd, with RIT nursing a 3-2 lead, LeClerc levels an RIT player as he crosses the UNH blue line, sending him sprawling. 2 mins. for interference thinks I, but no; AVR (After Video Review) the call is adjudicated up to a 5 min. major for "Blind Side Interference," a penalty I'd never even heard of in 40+ years of following hockey :-( OK rules experts - is that really a thing? RIT scores on the ensuing PP to pad their lead, and then another early in the 3rd on the back end of the wrap-around major, stretching the lead to 3. Grrrrr ... UNH gets one back on a PP goal of their own, then H. Blaisdell appears to net another 5x5, but wait - the official is waving it off! The crowd is buzzing - high stick? Goalie interference? AVR the call is overturned and UNH is back in it at 4-5 with just under 10 mins. to play - Game on! Soon after the ref's got his arm raised again, in fact, they both do, so I guess it was a pretty obvious RIT penalty. But wait - AVR not 1 but 2 separate penalties are assessed to 2 different players (slashing and holding), giving UNH a full 2 min. 5x3 to try and get the equalizer. Can't remember when I last saw that happen ... Good pressure by the 'Cats just couldn't do it, as Scarfone stood tall and turned aside all he saw; UNH falls 4-5 :-(

                                On Saturday it's more of the same ... RIT leads 2-0, but a seemingly routine elbowing call is elevated AVR to a 5 min. major for "Contact to the Head" and UNH quickly capitalizes; at penalty's end it's now 2-2: Game on! So far these video reviews seem to be benefiting both teams at various times, but then comes the Winters penalty ... Late in the game there's a scuffle near the net in the RIT D-zone; an RIT player cross-checks Winters into Scarfone and all 3 players end up sprawled atop one another in/around the cage. No call; play continues up ice ... Behind the play, as the players start untangling themselves, the same RIT player finds himself knocked to the ice again. No call; play continues. Now RIT coach Wayne Wilson starts going apoplectic on the bench, screaming along with the partisan crowd to do something, anything. At the next whistle it's announced that Wilson has initiated a Coach's Challenge re: the goalmouth scuffle; AVR Winters is assessed a 5 min. major for spearing. Did he do it? I didn't see it, but the officials clearly did. Two things: (1) I hadn't realized that a Coach's Challenge could be requested in circumstances like this, i.e, for a supposed uncalled penalty, and (2) if a call had been made on the initial RIT cross-check, the subsequent retaliation penalty never would've occurred. IMHO it was just the last in a long series of questionable calls - and non-calls - made both ways by the officials this weekend (UNH ended up 3 for 13 on the PP over 2 games; RIT 4 for 9). Keep out of the box boys, all of you ...

                                Anyway, now it's on to Orono for our first game with the Black Bears this season. I'm not making any predictions but this: they won't get out-worked no matter the score (especially given how Saturday's game ended), and with a little bit of puck luck - who knows? Go Blue!

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