DURHAM, N.H.- Head coach Dick Umile of the University of New Hampshire men's hockey program has announced the signing of six student-athletes for the 2004-2005 season. Defenseman Brad Flaishans (Glendale, Ariz.), forward Matt Fornataro (Calgary, Alb.), forward Brian Pouliot (Hooksett, N.H.), forward Mike Radja (Yorkville, Ill.) goaltender Kevin Regan (S. Boston, Mass.) and defenseman Craig Switzer (Peachland, B.C.) make up the Wildcat freshman class for the upcoming season.
Fornataro, Radja and Regan recently won a national championship playing for the Waterloo Blackhawks of the United States Hockey League (USHL) and Flaishans also won a national title this season playing for the Texas Tornados of the North American Hockey League (NAHL).
Flaishans (6 ft., 180 lbs.) posted 57 points (14g, 43a) to lead all NAHL defensemen in 56 games for the Tornados. Flaishans was a NAHL First-Team All-Star in 2003-2004 and set Texas' single-season record for points by a defenseman. He ranked fifth of the Tornados in scoring and his six power play goals were fourth best on the roster.
"Brad is an aggressive offensive player with both his feet and vision. He quarterbacked the Tornados' power play throughout the season. Brad looks to contribute offensively in each game that he plays and he should contribute in this department with the Wildcats," Umile stated.
Fornataro (5-11, 185) played with Radja and Regan in Waterloo and won the first Clark Cup in team history. Fornataro amassed 16 goals and 28 assists for 44 points in 60 regular-season contests and notched 3-5-8 in 12 playoff games. Fornataro ranked third on the team in scoring and first on the team with 10 power-play goals. In his first season with Waterloo in 2002-2003, he posted 15-20-35 in 54 contests. Before Waterloo, Fornataro skated for the Calgary Royals of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) and recorded 19-19-38 in 59 games as the team's Rookie of the Year, skating on the same line with current Wildcat Mark Kolanos. He ranks 176th in the final Central Scouting Service rankings among domestic players for the upcoming NHL draft.
"Matt is a skilled puck mover and he should contribute in all situations. He is competitive on the puck. Matt can create his own scoring chances as well as setting up his teammates," said Umile.
Pouliot (5-10, 180) played for Cedar Rapids of the USHL in 2003-2004, registering 19 goals and 18 assists for 37 points in 56 games. His plus/minus rating of +18 was second best on the Roughriders' roster and his point total was fifth best on the team. The Wildcats' 2004-2005 roster will feature five players from the Granite State: Pouliot, Robbie Barker, Eddie Caron, Michael Hutchins and Dan Travis. Before Cedar Rapids, Pouliot played two seasons for the New Hampshire Monarchs of the Eastern Junior Hockey League (EJHL). Pouliot, a second team All-EJHL selection in 2002-2003, led the Monarchs in point scoring and finished among the top five scorers in EJHL in 2001-2002 and 2002-2003.
"After leading his hometown New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs of the EJHL in scoring, Brian took his game to the USHL and the Cedar Rapids Roughriders. After a slow start, Brian cranked it up in the second half of the season. With an outstanding stick and a gifted offensive mind, Brian should be a strong offensive contributor during his days in Durham," Umile said.
Radja (6-0, 180) skated for Waterloo of the USHL and tallied 17 goals and 23 assists for 40 points in 55 games during the regular season. Radja continued his strong play in the USHL playoffs with 4-5-9 in 12 games. Radja was a member of Team USA in 2004, placing second at the Viking Cup Tournament. "Mike is a tenacious forechecker, who will chase down loose pucks and create turnovers. He started the season as a left wing, but was moved to center because of his reliable play without the puck. In 2003-04 he emerged as one of the USHL Champion Blackhawks' best men at the faceoff dot," said Umile.
Regan (6-0, 175) was named Most Valuable Player of the 2004 Clark Cup playoffs. Regan, a ninth-round 2003 draft pick of the Boston Bruins, owned a 28-19-1 record in 48 appearances with a 2.37 GAA, .915 save percentage and six shutouts during the regular season. Regan guided the Blackhawks to the Clark Cup Championship with a 9-3-1 record, 1.55 GAA and a .944 save percentage.
"Kevin is a 'winner', coming off of two championships in his last three seasons. He is technically very sound with an aggressive style of play. His competitive nature will allow him to be a factor in the UNH goaltending situation early in his career," Umile stated.
Switzer (6-1, 195) played for the Salmon Arm Silverbacks of the British Columbia Hockey League last season, posting 14 goals and 40 assists for 54 points in 56 contests. He was named a BCHL Interior Division First-Team All-Star helping the Silverbacks to a regular-season and Interior Division Championship in 2003-2004. Switzer is ranked 136th among domestic players by the NHL Central Scouting Service for the upcoming NHL Draft.
"Named the BCHL Defenseman of the Year for the 2003-04 season, Craig is a smooth skating defenseman who can beat the first forechecker with his feet. He was an offensive catalyst for the Silverbacks and should, with time, fill a similar role with UNH,"said Umile.