DURHAM, N.H. -- The University of New Hampshire men’s hockey team travels to play league foe Merrimack College on Saturday afternoon. The puck drops at 4 p.m. at Lawler Arena in North Andover, Mass. for this early-season Hockey East tilt.
SCOUTING THE WARRIORS: Merrimack enters this weekend’s game against UNH with a 6-5-0 record and 3-3-0 mark in Hockey East play. The Warriors are led offensively be freshman standout Stephane Da Costa. De Costa has 15 points in just nine games with eight goals and seven assists. In addition, junior forwards Chris Barton and Joe Cucci have 13 and 11 points, respectively. After jumping out to a 4-2 start, Merrimack has lost three of the last five including back to back losses to Boston University (6-4) and UMass-Lowell (6-3). Sophomore Joe Cannata and senior Andrew Braithwaite have split time in net this season for the Warriors. Cannata is 3-4-0 with a 3.32 GAA and a .893 save percentage. Braithwaite is 3-1-0 with 3.25 GAA and a .895 save percentage.
SERIES HISTORY VS. MERRIMACK: The Wildcats hold the advantage in the all-time series vs. Merrimack College at 61-12-8 in 81 all-time meetings dating back to Jan. 16, 1960. Since 1996, UNH is 37-3-6 in the last 46 games including a 2-1-0 mark last season. Most recently, the Wildcats captured a 1-0 win over the Warriors on February 28 at Whittemore Center. UNH owns a 23-3-2 all-time record vs. Merrimack at the Whittemore Center and Coach Umile in his 20-year coaching career has compiled a 49-9-7 all-time mark against the Warriors. The ‘Cats are 13-2-0 in the last 15 meetings against Merrimack at Towse Rink. Senior Bobby Butler (2-3-5) is the active leading Wildcat scorer against Merrimack with five points. Senior goaltender Brian Foster has posted a 2-1-1 lifetime record against the Warriors with a 1.96 GAA, a .930 save percentage and one career shutout.
SCORING LEADERS VS. THE WARRIORS:
Player GP G-A-P
Bobby Butler 9 2-3-5
Peter LeBlanc 9 1-2-3
Mike Sislo 6 2-0-2
Paul Thompson 5 0-2-2
Phil DeSimone 5 1-0-1
Stevie Moses 2 1-0-1
Nick Krates 6 0-1-1
Blake Kessel 3 0-1-1
Matt Campanale 4 0-0-0
Greg Manz 1 0-0-0
Mike Borisenok 1 0-0-0
Kevin McCarey 1 0-0-0
Damon Kipp 1 0-0-0
Mike Beck 1 0-0-0
Player GP/Min GA GAA W-L-T SV SV%
Foster 4/244:09 8 1.96 2-1-1 107 .930
Foster Game-by-Game vs. the Warriors
Date Min Res. Svs. GA Shots
3-1-08 64:57 T 34 1 35
11-29-08 59:12 L 23 4 27
2-27-09 60:00 W 24 3 27
2-28-09 60:00 W 26 0 26
Totals 244:09 2-1-1 107 8 115
SCORING BY CLASS: 2009-10 breakdown of scoring by class.
Class G-A-P G-A-P %.
Seniors: 15-15-30 37-23-28
Juniors: 11-20-31 27-30-29
Sophomores: 11-21-32 27-32-30
Freshmen: 4-10-14 10-15-13
LAST TIME THESE TEAMS MEET (Feb. 28, 2009): Brian Foster stopped all 26 shots he faced to record his fifth career shutout and backbone UNH’s 1-0 Hockey East victory against Merrimack College at the Whittemore Center. Peter LeBlanc scored the game’s lone goal, a first-period tally.
FOSTER NAMED HOCKEY EAST DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Brian Foster has been named Pure Hockey’s Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week. The announcement was made Monday by the league office. He earns this award for the first time this season, third time of his career and first since Dec. 15, 2008.Foster stopped 55 of 60 shots over the weekend against Boston University. He posted a .917 save percentage and an 2.40 goals against average. He turned away 15 shots in the final period and in overtime to preserve a 3-3 tie on Saturday. Foster had 34 saves on Saturday night and 21 in a winning effort on Friday.
THE BUTLER DID IT: Bobby Butler extended his six-game scoring streak with four points on the weekend including a career-high three assists on Saturday. Butler is the league’s leading scorer and the first player in Hockey East to get to double-figure goals.
TURNING UP THE HEAT OFFENSIVELY: New Hampshire has scored three or more goals in six-straight games.
WILDCAT TOP LINE: UNH’s top line of Butler, Thompson and DeSimone accounted for 12 points (5g, 7a) in the weekend against BU.
‘CATS CONTINUE SUCCESS AT AGGANIS ARENA: The Wildcats improve to 4-1-3 lifetime at BU’s Agganis Arena.
HENRION NETS FIRST GOAL/GAME WINNER: Freshman John Henrion tallied the game-winning goal on Friday, it was his first career goal.
PROTECTING THE LEAD: UNH is 3-0-0 when leading after one period and 4-0-0 when leading after two periods.
BUTLER RECORDS THREE ASSISTS: Bobby Butler handed out a career-high three assists and became the third Wildcat player with three assists in a game this season.
Name Game (Date) G-A-P
Bobby Butler at BU (11/21) 0-3-3
Blake Kessel vs. NU (10/23) 0-3-3
Peter LeBlanc vs. Miami (10/17) 0-3-3
THOMPSON BREAKS OUT AGAINST BOSTON UNIVERSITY: Paul Thompson had a breakout weekend against Boston University with five points on three goals and two assists over the weekend. He is one of four players with double-figure points with 11.
DESIMONE STARTING TO HEAT UP: Phil DeSimone is starting to heat up as he has scored four points (1g, 3a) in a three-game scoring streak.
BALANCED ATTACK/THREE CLASSES WITH 30+ POINTS: The Wildcats are seeing a well-balanced offensive attack with each of Coach Umile’s classes chipping in. The seniors (30), juniors (32) and sophomores (31) have 30+ points, while the freshmen have 14 points.
CAMPANALE HAPPY TO ASSISTS: Matt Campanale handed out three assists over the weekend against BU, including a career-high two assists Friday night. All three helpers came on the power play.
WILDCATS HAVE SCORED IN 15 OF LAST 17 PERIODS: UNH has scored a goal in 15 of the last 17 regulation periods.
KESSEL HOCKEY EAST’S TOP DEFENSIVE ASSIST LEADER: Blake Kessel notched his 10th assist over the weekend. He is one of three players in Hockey East with double-figure assists and is one of just four defensemen nationally with double-figure helpers.
‘CATS HOPE TO CONTINUE SUCCESS AGAINST MERRIMACK: The Wildcats are 37-3-6 in 46 games since 1996 against Merrimack.
IDENTICAL RECORDS: If the Wildcats manage to defeat Merrimack on Saturday, they would matched last year’s 5-6-3 record through November. However, last year’s team was just 3-4-2 in Hockey East play after November a year ago.
WHERE IS UNH RANKED?: Here is a week-by-week look at the ‘Cats in the national polls and the HE standings:
Date USA TODAY USCHO HE
9/28 RV N/A t-4th (pre)
10/5 N/A 16 t-4th (pre)
10/12 RV RV t-4th (pre)
10/19 RV RV N/A
10/26 RV RV t-1st
11/2 NR RV t-2nd
11/9 NR RV t-3rd
11/16 NR RV t-2nd
11/23 NR RV t-1st
THE NATIONAL POLLS:
USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine (Nov. 23)
Rk. School, Pts. (FPV) LW Record WIP
1 Miami University, 502 (26) 1 9-1-4 8
2 University of Denver, 479 (6) 3 8-3-1 8
3 Massachusetts-Lowell, 440 4 8-2-1 8
4 North Dakota, 374 2 7-4-1 8
5 Colorado College, 364 7 9-2-1 5
6 Bemidji State University, 290 8 10-1-1 5
7 Michigan State University, 270 6 9-3-2 3
8 Cornell, 256 5 5-2-0 8
9 Massachusetts, 240 11 8-2-0 3
10 Quinnipiac University, 234 13 10-1-0 2
11 Yale University, 144 9 3-2-2 8
12 University of Alaska, 137 10 8-3-1 4
13 Minnesota Duluth, 94 NR 9-4-1 2
14 University of Notre Dame, 86 14 6-5-3 8
15 Boston College, 42 NR 5-3-2 5
USCHO.com/CSTV Division I Men’s Poll (Nov. 23)
Rk. Team (First Place) Record Pts LW
1 Miami (37) 9-1-4 983 1
2 Denver (9) 8-3-1 938 3
3 Mass.-Lowell (2) 8-2-1 864 4
4 North Dakota 7-4-1 794 2
5 Colorado College 9-2-1 792 7
6 Bemidji State (2) 10-1-1 690 8
7 Cornell 5-2-0 648 5
8 Michigan State 9-3-2 632 6
9 Quinnipiac 10-1-0 622 13
10 Massachusetts 8-2-0 587 11
11 Yale 3-2-2 417 9
12 Alaska 8-3-1 401 10
13 Notre Dame 6-5-3 381 14
14 Minnesota-Duluth 9-4-1 378 20
15 Wisconsin 7-4-1 292 15
16 Boston College 5-3-2 250 17
17 Ferris State 9-3-2 247 NR
18 Vermont 4-4-1 188 17
19 Nebraska-Omaha 5-4-3 109 12
20 Colgate 6-3-4 70 NR
Others Receiving Votes: St. Cloud State 64, Michigan 63, RIT 20, Princeton 18, Union 16, New Hampshire 12, Northern Michigan 10, Rensselaer 8, Merrimack 2, Providence 2, St. Lawrence 2
WILDCAT AWARDS: Here is a list of awards that Wildcat players have won to date this season:
Player Award Date
Dalton Speelman HE Rookie of the Week 10/26
Bobby Butler HE Co-Player of the Week 11/16
Brian Foster HE Defensive Player of Week 11/23
Wildcats Among National leaders: Below is a list of where UNH players and team rank nationally.
Individual Rank Stats
Points Per Game:
Bobby Butler 16th 1.38 ppg
Blake Kessel 58th 1.08 ppg
Goals Per Game:
Bobby Butler 10th 0.77 gpg
Assists Per Game:
Blake Kessel 22nd 0.83 apg
Power Play Goals:
Bobby Butler 33rd 3 ppg
Peter LeBlanc 6th 1 shg
Bobby Butler 6th 2 gwg
Stevie Moses 48th 1 gwg
John Henrion 48th 1 gwg
Blake Kessel 7th 1.08 ppg
Goals Against Average:
Brian Foster 72nd 3.70 gaa
Brian Foster 72nd .884
Brian Foster 51st .423
Scoring Offense 18th 3.15
Scoring Defense 52nd 3.77
Scoring Margin 41st -0.62
Power Play 32nd 17.5
Penalty Kill 52nd 75.4
Combined Special Teams 48th 46.5
Winnning Percentage 36th .423
WHERE UNH IS RANKED IN HOCKEY EAST:
Overall HE games
Goals/per game 3.15/6th 3.75/3rd
GAA 3.77/10th 3.12/5th
Power Play 17.5/7th 24.1/4th
Penalty Kill 75.4/9th 67.6/10th
Special Teams Net -3/8th -4/9th
1st Period Scoring 8/8th 6/6th
2nd Period Scoring 20/1st 12/1st
3rd Period Scoring 13/4th 12/1st
Overtime Scoring 0/NR 0/NR
UNH HOCKEY ON TELEVISION: UNH will have 13 games broadcast live on TV in 2009-10...NESN will air four games, while three will air on ESPNU, while COX-TV and WABI will each broadcast one.
DATE GAME Channel RES.
Oct. 23 Northeastern NESN W, 4-2
oct. 30 at wisconsin tvw madison/wc L, 1-4
Oct. 31 at wisconsin wisc-tv3/wc L, 1-6
Nov. 6 Boston College NESN T, 4-4 (OT)
Nov. 8 AT Mass-Lowell ESPNU L, 3-6
nov. 21 at boston univ. nesn T, 3-3 (OT)
Dec. 6 at Vermont ESPNU
Dec. 11 at Providence Cox-TV
Jan. 3 Cornell ESPNU
jan. 23 at boston univ. nesn
Feb. 6 at Maine WABI-TV
Feb. 19 Vermont NESN
March 5 Boston College NESN
ALL IN THE FAMILY: UNH sophomore defenseman Blake Kessel is the younger brother of Toronto Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel, while freshman forward Scott Pavelski is the younger brother of Joe Pavelski of the San Jose Sharks.
WILDCATS PICKED THIRD IN HOCKEY EAST POLL: UNH was picked to finish tied for fourth in the Hockey East preseason Coaches’ Poll, which was announced on Sept. 30 at the league’s annual media day at Legends Restaurant at the TD Garden.
2009-10 Hockey East Men’s Preseason Coaches Poll
Rk. Team (FPV) Pts
1. Boston University (6) 84
2. UMass-Lowell (2) 79
3. Boston College (2) 76
4. New Hampshire 59
6. Northeastern 57
7. Massachusetts 47
8. Maine 32
9. Providence 24
10. Merrimack 23
THE DICK UMILE ERA: Dick Umile, a five-time Hockey East Coach of the Year, enters his 20th season as the head coach of the UNH Wildcats. He earned his fourth Leonard Fowle New England Coach of the Year award following the 2007-08 season. After signing a long-term contract in 2008, Umile will conclude his coaching career at his alma mater. During his time spent at UNH, Umile has molded UNH hockey into one of the top programs in all of Division I hockey, guiding the Wildcats to four Frozen Four appearances, 15 NCAA tournament appearances and 19 Hockey East championship tournament showings in his 19-year career in Durham. In addition, Umile has posted 17 20-victory campaigns over the span of 19 seasons, including a current streak of 13 20-win seasons. Umile is now the winningest coach in the history of UNH hockey with 444 career victories. He surpassed legendary coach Charlie Holt on Feb. 16, 2005 in a 6-1 victory at Merrimack at Thom Lawler Arena in North Andover, Mass. Umile ranks fourth among active NCAA coaches with a .652 winning percentage and on the active victories list his 444 victories ranks eighth among NCAA coaches. He has been named Coach of the Year a total of 10 times in his career, including New England honors four times. Umile’s five Hockey East Coach of the Year Awards is an all-time league best.Last season, Umile directed the Wildcats to a 20-13-5 mark as they captured their eighth-consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament. Umile guided the Wildcats to 20+ wins in 13 straight years, the second longest streak in the nation and five seasons more than its closest competition; no other team in Hockey East has an active streak longer than one season. After struggling through a 1-5-2 stretch in November, New Hampshire went 14-4-2 to close out the regular season and claimed third place in the league and home-ice in the Hockey East quarterfinals for a Hockey East-best 13th straight season. The crowning moment of the 2008-09 season was the Wildcats’ goal with 0.1 seconds remaining to tie and eventually win 6-5 in overtime in their NCAA Northeast Regional opening-round game against perennial power North Dakota in front of UNH faithful at Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester.
DICK UMILE INDUCTED INTO NEW HAMPSHIRE LEGENDS OF HOCKEY: Head Coach Dick Umile was among a group of seven Hall of Fame inductees for the New Hampshire Legends of Hockey for 2009. In addition, former Wildcat assistant coach and longtime voice of the team Bob Norton will also be inducted. The ceremony was held on 10/11 at C.R. Sparks in Bedford, N.H.
THE PROGRAM’S HISTORY: UNH has appeared in the NCAA Tournament 19 times in the 82-year history of the program, including the nation’s second best streak at eight-straight appearances. UNH has appeared in the Frozen Four seven times, including national championship game appearances against Maine in 1999 and Minnesota in 2003. UNH earned Hockey East Tournament titles in 2002 and 2003 and regular-season championships in 1997, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2007 and 2008. The Wildcats won the ECAC regular-season title in 1974 and the tournament championship in 1979. UNH has posted 30 seasons with 20-plus wins, including the last 13 consecutive seasons.
‘CATS SELECTED IN THE NHL DRAFT: Five current UNH players have been selected in the National Hockey League draft...Greg Burke (Washington), Phil DeSimone (Washington), Brian Foster (Florida), Blake Kessel (N.Y. Islanders) and Peter LeBlanc (Chicago) have all been taken.
MEN'S HOCKEY TRAVELS TO HOCKEY EAST FOE MERRIMACK ON SATURDAY (4 P.M.)