The UNH Coaches Blog will be a weekly feature in which selected coaches share thoughts and insights about their program. This week’s blog highlights the men’s ice hockey and gymnastics teams.

We are just about two months into the season and we are still learning a lot about our team and ourselves. I really like the way our team has competed over the past couple weeks and I was especially pleased with how we competed against a very tough UMass club.

Our seniors have been outstanding for us with Brian Foster playing well in the net and Peter LeBlanc and Bobby Butler up front. I think Bobby and Peter have really got it going right now and they are setting a great example for our younger guys.

We had a few injuries and guys have been put into new roles and responded very well. This week we are trying to get ready for an extremely tough Boston University club. Although they’ve struggled a bit in the early going, everybody is well aware they are the national champions and have a terrific team. It will be a major challenge for our team for sure.

I think this weekend should be exciting for the fans. Friday night is our annual “Blue Out the Whit” when our team will wear blue jerseys and fans are encouraged to do so as well and Saturday night we will go down to BU for a game that will air live on NESN.

We’d really like to keep our positive momentum going this week against BU. I think our team played well last weekend and we’d like to continue that on Friday night at the Whitt.

(Dick Umile ’72 is in his 20th year as UNH men’s ice hockey head coach. He was an assistant coach in the program for one year and associate coach for another year before being elevated to head coach.)

This time of year finds the women’s gymnastics team preparing for the start of our season while trying to stay on top of academic work and focused on staying healthy. Our “Meet the Team” always seems so far away and now it is right around the corner. December 12th at 1:00 p.m. we kick off our season with a motto of “One Team, No Regrets” in 2010.  A slight contradiction to the team motto is the “Meet the Team” where we split ½ our team to “blue” and ½ to “white” as each side battles for the top spot. After our meet the team, we move right into finals and the Holidays with the official season starting at Rutgers on January 9th, 2010. Our home opener is the UNH Invitational on January 17th against Utah State, Ball State and Yale at 1:00 pm.

I’m pleased to give you some of the gymnastics skills that our newcomers will perform this season. Our freshmen gymnasts will be fun to watch in these early events as they will make immediate contributions to an already talented team.

Courtney Connors (Lancaster, NY) is strong on vaulting with a full twisting Yurchenko (roundoff onto board, back handspring, back layout full). She will also see action on floor with explosive tumbling that includes front handspring-Rudi (front salto 1 ½ twist)-back layout; double back in a tucked position and a Rudi for the last pass. She is training the other events and will be fighting for an all-around spot.

Austyn Fobes (Howell, NJ), is one of the most talented all-arounders to join the UNH team. She also competes a full twisting Yurchenko on vaulting and does a Tkachev (reverse hecht) with a full twisting double back dismount on uneven bars. Her repertoire on beam and floor contains numerous skills. This includes a side aerial and a back handspring layout with a front full dismount on beam and her floor passes include a full-in, Rudi layout, front double full. She is also capable of doing a double back pike and a front double full punch front. Isn’t it tough to have so much to choose from?

Dianna Kurowyckyj (New York, NY) is outstanding on balance beam with a back handspring layout to 2-feet, a side aerial, numerous dance combinations and a roundoff 1 1/2 dismount. She is also a contender for an all-around spot as she is working a Yurchenko ½ on vaulting, Tkachev and full twisting giant, overshoot to toe up and finishes with a strong double layout on bars, and her floor passes are double back pike, roundoff 1 ½ front layout, and whip ½ -front full.

Rebecca Marrama (Lynnfield, MA) will contribute on floor exercise this season. Her passes include a front through to double pike, roundoff back handspring double full twist, and double back tuck. Look to see her on other events throughout her college career as her work ethic is excellent.

Jennifer Aucoin (Mullica Hill, NJ) is just beginning her gymnastics training after shoulder surgery last year. Jen has potential to contribute at a high level as she is great on uneven bars with a Hindorff (free hip reverse hecht) and swings cleanly to a strong double layout dismount. Her beam also has high-level skills with a side somi, back handspring-layout-layout, and a switch leap gainer full dismount. We are excited to see her begin training on all four events.

If you are new to gymnastics and want to see these skills in person, December 12th is your first opportunity. I will be the announcer and will explain more about gymnastics competition and skills. Associate Head Coach Ed Datti will coach the white team while Assistant Coach Lindsey Bruck will coach the blue team. Come cheer on your favorite gymnasts. “Go Wildcats”

(Gail Goodspeed is entering her 31st year as UNH gymnastics head coach.)

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