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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

    I think that your grapevine must be dying due to global warming, Chuck. Of Stonehill’s 27 straight losses this season (made it to OT twice), only 7 games were played at their near-home Bridgewater Arena (seating capacity 1000). The Skyhawks have scored 43 goals (1.6 GPG) and given up 151 goals (5.6 per game) and have traveled for losses at Mac, NU, PC, and UMich (2). Why could not MS7 schedule the Skyhawks for a game or two this season?

    Darius also resurrected the term “cupcake,” as in “if you cannot beat the cupcakes, YOU are the cupcake.” It has been several years now since the cupcake term can be applied to either Mac or UVM, so I began looking for a new cupcake (i.e., potential perennial cellar dweller) that would be a good candidate to join HEA.

    Bentley (nice new arena with 2017 capacity, only a bit smaller than Lawler’s 2549) has never been a cupcake for UNH, with a 2-2-0 all-time record, including an embarrassing 5-1 thumping of the Cats at the Whitt to open the 2016/17 season, Umile’s last as HC and another nail in the coffin for his NRN quest. The 2016/17 season did include some post-season success in the MBPBEGAM round with the Cats winning 2 of 3 at Lawlor before losing 2 of 3 at Tsongas, and going 3-1-1 on the season against the still-cupcake-worthy Warriors. UNH also lost more recently at Bentley’s new arena on 18 October 2019.

    Holy Cross (Hart Recreation Center’s seating capacity at 1400 is greater than Stonehill’s but is substantially less than Bentley’s or Mac’s) might be a better choice than Bentley for UNH’s new cupcake as the Crusaders have lost 3 of 4 all-time to the Cats, although the Crusaders’ only win (3-2 in OT) came at Hart on 26 November 2022.

    So, in sum, probably Bentley’s Arena and Holy Cross’s Hart Rec Center are “too tough for play,” making Stonehill the better option for a new cupcake and potential cellar-dweller in HEA.
    Snives, this is a fantastic analysis of the "cupcake quotient" for a wide range of candidates for the 12th slot in Hockey East. A decidedly non-cupcake option for HEA#12 that I raised late last year was RIT, which while it does not fall into the geography as an easy "fit", I think they'd be a great addition to the league. My guess is Commish Nigel and the HEA AD's would probably draw a line closer to the fringes of New England (say, RPI or Union, or something nearer to NYC like Army?), if they were ever to consider going out beyond Greater Boston or Connecticut? But I'm fond of the Rochester NY area, and I think they run their program better than some already in HEA. So that's my vote.

    But if restricted to your proposed choices, you and I will probably agree to unite forces behind the Bentley Falcons. :-)
    Sworn Enemy of the Perpetually Offended
    Montreal Expos Forever ...

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    • Another example DI vs DIII is "where do you think this is all going?"

      If, for example, you are REALLY interested in STEM topics. The schedule of DI athletics don't lend themselves to many of these degrees. Is it possible to get an engineering degree and play DI college hockey? Sure - but it is really really really hard. Juggling practice, workouts, recovery, meetings with labs, team projects and general course work load carrying 18-21 credits (4 more than most peers). DI athletics plus school is very impressive already without adding the class work load of a STEM (engineering, pre-Vet or BioChem... etc.) major.

      On the other hand at a DIII school the athletics are less intense. Depending the DIII school and program the academics might be (likely) more intense.

      That means a Black or a Redick can still play the game they love while getting a degree they also love. My guess is this was Black's thinking. Whatever he got a degree in, is going to be his "life's work" (as much as an early 20 something has a clue about life's work). He had likely come to terms that DIII college hockey was the end of the organized hockey road. Then the Covid extra year came along and there was a chance to play 1 more year and try his hand at DI. My guess his eyes were open about it the entire time that his 1 year at UNH was it for hockey and he would start the rest of his life "beyond" hockey after that. Hence "retired".

      This mindset also might explain the lack of DIII athletes moving up. Why move up when college hockey is something else you do not what you do.
      Last edited by JB; 02-06-2024, 11:15 AM.
      "Now Progress Takes Away What Forever Took To Find" Dave Matthews Band, The Dreaming Tree

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      • Originally posted by JB View Post
        Another example DI vs DIII is "where do you think this is all going?"

        If, for example, you are REALLY interested in STEM topics. The schedule of DI athletics don't lend themselves to many of these degrees. Is it possible to get an engineering degree and play DI college hockey? Sure - but it is really really really hard. Juggling practice, workouts, recovery, meetings with labs, team projects and general course work load carrying 18-21 credits (4 more than most peers). DI athletics plus school is very impressive already without adding the class work load of a STEM (engineering, pre-Vet or BioChem... etc.) major.

        On the other hand at a DIII school the athletics are less intense. Depending the DIII school and program the academics might be (likely) more intense.

        That means a Black or a Redick can still play the game they love while getting a degree they also love. My guess is this was Black's thinking. Whatever he got a degree in, is going to be his "life's work" (as much as an early 20 something has a clue about life's work). He had likely come to terms that DIII college hockey was the end of the organized hockey road. Then the Covid extra year came along and there was a chance to play 1 more year and try his hand a DI. My guess his eyes were open about it the entire time that his 1 year at UNH was it for hockey and he would start the rest of his life "beyond" hockey after that.

        This mindset also might explain the lack of DIII athletes moving up. Why move up when college hockey is something else you do not what you do.
        Exactly, JB. I believe that Ryan Black picked up a MBA during his fifth Covid year at UNH, a nice complement to his elite Babson business degree (yes, Chuck, Babson is still ranked higher than Bentley in business education, although that gap has been closing).

        My favorite STEM/Div 1 hockey story is Joey Juneau arriving in Troy not speaking much English, but in his four years at RPI he earned BS AND MS degrees in aeronautical engineering (yes, the exception, for sure).
        Last edited by Snively65; 02-06-2024, 11:34 AM.

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        • Originally posted by bakchk20 View Post
          So Snively, you're up there in Thornton...have you been any PSU games this year? It's an excellent product that coach Russell has built over the past 5-10 years. Soph Will Redick is currently the top scorer in DII/III at 23/24/47; over 2 pts/gm. He could probably make the 3rd line on most (not all) DI teams, or at a minimum, make the team.

          I've wondered why DI programs don't poach the top talent in DIII. I'm sure it happens but I don't follow it enough to be aware. Perhaps there's an unspoken "hands-off" handshake between the divisions. I get that there are a bunch of other reasons why a kid would go DIII over DI...academics (aptitude), academics (degree programs), proximity, ice time, family links to the school or coaching, aging out, etc...
          Yes, Plymouth State’s Savage Welcoming Center and Arena, with its Hanaway Rink (named for local donors Dick and Peggy Hanaway, who also summited all 50 state high points, including Alaska’s Denali at almost 21,000 ft), is a wonderful facility. I have not been to a Panther hockey game this season, but have been many times in the past and they have an excellent ice hockey program. I know several PSU faculty on curling teams that play at the rink. :-)

          Although PSU’s arena seats only 860, its design is state-of-the-art, using geothermal heating and cooling, and sure looks like the model from which Bentley’s larger arena was built a few years later.

          And, if you do not believe me, ask HR, as she is a PSU alum.
          Last edited by Snively65; 02-06-2024, 11:44 AM.

          Comment


          • I don't see any paths that lead to UNH winning Friday night @ BC. Coming off a loss to BU in last night's beanpot, its another "wrong place wrong time" for the Wildcats. IF we do win, what do the cats need to do? Would a goalie change help?
            Last edited by Ferrrao1994; 02-06-2024, 12:32 PM.

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            • Originally posted by Ferrrao1994 View Post
              I don't see any paths that lead to UNH winning Friday night @ BC. Coming off a loss to BU in last night's beanpot, its another "wrong place wrong time" for the Wildcats. IF we do win, what do the cats need to do? Would a goalie change help?
              Not right now it won't. Muszelik is injured, unless he's available to play by this weekend. Hellsten is fine is long as his teammates don't hang him out to dry.

              But yeah, I agree...the timing for this particular game sucks.
              UNH

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              • Originally posted by Chuck Murray View Post

                I think you've probably answered your own question here, to some degree. The player has already decided to go the DIII route in the first place, and my guess is the player is probably pretty happy where they are now if the academics are on track AND you're the leading scorer, getting lots of ice time, enjoying a leadership role, etc. From a coaching standpoint ... you are not usually looking to stack your bottom six forwards with an offense-first player, and you'll probably see more value in a kid who has a more rounded game and/or can take on certain roles.

                UNH can point to two examples that come immediately to mind ... of most recent vintage, there was the Ryan Black addition last season from Babson, who did provide some bottom six depth scoring and flexibility, albeit for a single season only. In some ways, he was a luxury item that Souza plugged in to good use, because he had some qualities his younger recruits hadn't developed (yet). A generation ago, a reverse career move was undertaken by Travis Banga (BUN-ga) who left UNH in midseason after struggling to find ice time on a loaded FF-bound squad and took his talents to Henniker (New England College), and lit the place up for the next two-and-a-half seasons. I don't pretend to be a recruiting expert (I leave that to 'Watcher, C-H-C and their expertise in the area), but clearly there is a gap, if not a chasm, in talent at DI and DIII levels.

                I'm sure there are countless other examples out there, but if the DIII superstars had a track record of DI success, I don't think they've invented the "gentlemen's agreement" strong enough to withstand poaching IF it had any track record of consistent success.

                FWIW ... Black looks to have retired from competitive hockey after last season at UNH. Banga played for the better part of a decade at a long succession of stops across the low minor leagues (a/k/a "goon hockey"), so everyone is a little different ... for some, hockey is a means to an end, and for others, hockey as long as possible IS the end.
                And just to follow-up on Banga; he's still playing hockey - Cap City Hockey League in Concord. It's a grade or two above a typical beer league...checking, etc. And, he's regularly in the running for mens club champion at Canterbury Woods GC...
                Shrink-The-Rink, Win a Title

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                • Originally posted by Scott View Post

                  Not right now it won't. Muszelik is injured, unless he's available to play by this weekend. Hellsten is fine is long as his teammates don't hang him out to dry.

                  But yeah, I agree...the timing for this particular game sucks.
                  Echo your sentiments Scott! Watching the game last night and seeing the frustrations of the Eagles esp Fowler can only imagine what Friday's game will be like.

                  UNH lost at Conte badly last season (its a tough place to play ha!) and off the top of my head cant remeber how we did at home. Unlike Agganis we have won there in recent seasons.

                  That said...UNH has motivation to grab points this weekend so I hope they are prepared to play and ready.

                  I just know that they have to come out flying and it would help of Ryan Conmy is back in the line up.

                  Obviously Hellsten gets the nod as already mentioned and hope TyM is on the mend.
                  I'm just here for the hockey...

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Snively65 View Post

                    Yes, Plymouth State’s Savage Welcoming Center and Arena, with its Hanaway Rink (named for local donors Dick and Peggy Hanaway, who also summited all 50 state high points, including Alaska’s Denali at almost 21,000 ft), is a wonderful facility. I have not been to a Panther hockey game this season, but have been many times in the past and they have an excellent ice hockey program. I know several PSU faculty on curling teams that play at the rink. :-)

                    Although PSU’s arena seats only 860, its design is state-of-the-art, using geothermal heating and cooling, and sure looks like the model from which Bentley’s larger arena was built a few years later.

                    And, if you do not believe me, ask HR, as she is a PSU alum.
                    Oh I hear ya - a great facility; played on that sheet many times in my years living in that hood. Hanaway rink was the turning point for the program, for sure. Had to be relatively unappealing to drive recruits to the barn in Waterville Valley, despite the fact that they had the best ice surface north of Concord...
                    Shrink-The-Rink, Win a Title

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Ferrrao1994 View Post
                      I don't see any paths where UNH wins Friday night @ BC. Coming off a loss to BU in last night's beanpot, its another "wrong place wrong time" for the Wildcats. IF we do win, what do the cats need to do? Would a goalie change help?
                      I don't think it is a goalie problem. It is an in consistent offense problem and a playing from behind problem. Which then also leads to a defense problem and goalies getting hung out to dry.

                      Start with the last one, playing from behind, first. Like all middling teams these guys don't do well coming from behind. If it gets at all out of hand they aren't able to come back.
                      When... Leading Trailing Tied
                      After 1 7-0-0 1-5-0 6-4-1
                      After 2 8-1-0 0-5-1 6-3-0
                      They MUST start fast. basically once behind they are done. If you think back to the beginning of the year, when they were more consistently doing well, they came out all over the other teams D. Lots of chaos from the forecheck and some goals "down low" against limited structure. Once the game turns in to something structured, UNH can't score - see PP, setup in zone rarely score. If you want to play against UNH, weather the early surge, and turn it in to a structured game. NOTE: most Umile teams struggled against a structured game, UNH doesn't have a winning offensive strategy in these situations, also the classic playoff / NCAA problems with more talented teams against a structured opponent.

                      Now offense and playing from behind.

                      Typically playing from behind you need your "big players to make big plays"

                      Right now when they win it is scoring by committee, "4th line" scored all three against MC. This is really nice, except when you need goals against better, deeper competition. In those games your top 6 need to come to play. Who exactly is UNH's top six? I think I can get to 3/4 we could generally agree on, they are the top 4 goal scorers and top 4 forwards in points. Conmy, LeClerc, Devlin and Winters (the debatable one) these 4 generally stay in the top six with some mixing and matching of Lavins, Sardarian, Caferelli, Skrasttins and Ring (well and Siedem for some unknown reasons).
                      % goals for season % goals in Jan 1
                      Conmy 16% 15%
                      LeClerc 11% 4%
                      Devlin 9% 15%
                      Winters 11% 7%
                      So 9 games since Jan 1 and 27 goals so 3 gpg. For the year 76 goas and 24 games so 3.16 gpg. The offense has fallen off just a little, the problem is actually it is less consistent the standard deviation is 2 goals, so basically all over the place as likely to score 5 goals as 1.

                      If we dig deeper. LeClerc is in a serious goal draught. First 15 games 7 goals, so one every other game. Last 9 games, 1 goal. I think his shot shows it, on a PP against MC had a really nice setup for a one timer that must have been 3 feet off net. Could be some injury or probably he knows he is in a draught and is in his own head. Somebody feed him 50-100 one timers after practice to help him find his lost shot. The other is Winters, who seems to be feast or famine, scoring goals or not even dressed. The first 15 games 6 goals, last 9 just 2.

                      When you start overly depending on the bottom 6 for goals you generally get less consistent scoring.



                      "Now Progress Takes Away What Forever Took To Find" Dave Matthews Band, The Dreaming Tree

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Ferrrao1994 View Post
                        I don't see any paths that lead to UNH winning Friday night @ BC. Coming off a loss to BU in last night's beanpot, its another "wrong place wrong time" for the Wildcats. IF we do win, what do the cats need to do? Would a goalie change help?
                        Maybe if still in his prime Ken Dryden is available.

                        I will not be out cheered in my own building.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Scott View Post

                          Not right now it won't. Muszelik is injured, unless he's available to play by this weekend. Hellsten is fine is long as his teammates don't hang him out to dry.

                          But yeah, I agree...the timing for this particular game sucks.
                          Is the BC goals scored over/under line for this game available? My fear is the ’cats bring their A game, lose a close one to BC and then don’t have enough left for the must win to have any hope in the PWR Merrimack game on Saturday.
                          I will not be out cheered in my own building.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Darius View Post
                            Is the BC goals scored over/under line for this game available?
                            Chuck and I are probably the only ones who see the irony in this question....
                            UNH Hockey: From "Why Not Us' to "Woe is Us"

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                            • Good DI vs. DIII posts by all. I sat with a very very good senior year NHIAA player one game at the Whitt last year. I asked him how he thought his game compared to what we were watching. He replied that he could shoot and pass with either team and could fit in, especially if he knew what the teams were running except for his skating which had always been the weakest part of his game (which was clearly not a problem watching his NHIAA games). Multiple times during the game he muttered “so fast” typically when a defenseman skated out to cover the point. He was considering a few DIII hockey schools. I asked him if he was thinking about continuing competitive play. He wasn’t 100% sure at the time, but was thinking not. He was tired of the grind and that’s just NH high school hockey. He is at Babson.
                              Last edited by Darius; 02-06-2024, 06:12 PM.
                              I will not be out cheered in my own building.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Felger View Post

                                Chuck and I are probably the only ones who see the irony in this question....
                                Fowler is a brick wall. Especially when his forwards are cycling the puck at the other end of the ice. Fun fact: BC has a goalie named Musielak.
                                I will not be out cheered in my own building.

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