THE MATCHUP: The 12th-ranked University of New Hampshire men’s hockey team puts its 11-game Hockey East unbeaten streak on the line as it enters into a home-and-home series with Merrimack College. The Wildcats travel to Merrimack on Friday night (7 p.m.) to play a Warrior team that is 8-1-0 at home this season. The two square off on Saturday night (7 p.m.) at Whittemore Center.
SCOUTING THE WARRIORS: Merrimack enters this weekend’s matchup with UNH with an 8-13-0 overall mark, 5-9-0 in Hockey East. It has truly been a tale of two teams home and away this season for Merrimack. The Warriors are 8-1-0 at home with their lone loss being a 5-4 defeat to UNH on Nov. 28. However, on the road Merrimack is 0-11-0. The Warriors sit in ninth place a point ahead of 10th-place Providence. Merrimack is just 2-11-0 over the last 13 games with a 2-1 overtime win over Providence last time out snapping a seven-game losing streak. The Warriors are led offensively by freshman standout Stephane Da Costa. The nation’s leading scorer among freshmen, Da Costa has 25 points (11g, 14a) in 19 games.Chris Barton is second on the team in scoring with 22 points (12-10-22). Netminders Chris Cannata and Andrew Braithwaite have split time in net for Merrimack. Cannata is 3-9-0 with a 3.81 GA and .876 save percentage, while Braithwaite is 5-4-0 with a 3.01 GAA and a .903 save percentage.
SERIES HISTORY VS. MERRIMACK: The Wildcats hold the advantage in the all-time series vs. Merrimack College at 62-12-8 in 82 all-time meetings dating back to Jan. 16, 1960. Since 1996, UNH is 38-3-6 in the last 47 games including a 5-4 win in this year’s only meeting. 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 50-9-7 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 (4-4-8) is the active leading Wildcat scorer against Merrimack with eight points. Senior goaltender Brian Foster has posted a 3-1-1 lifetime record against the Warriors with a 2.37 GAA, a .922 save percentage and one career shutout.
SCORING LEADERS VS. THE WARRIORS:
Player GP G-A-P
Bobby Butler 10 4-4-8
Paul Thompson 6 2-3-5
Phil DeSimone 6 2-3-5
Peter LeBlanc 10 1-3-4
Blake Kessel 4 0-3-3
Damon Kipp 2 0-2-2
Mike Sislo 7 2-0-2
Mike Beck 2 0-1-1
Stevie Moses 3 1-0-1
Nick Krates 6 0-1-1
Matt Campanale 5 0-0-0
Greg Manz 2 0-0-0
Mike Borisenok 2 0-0-0
Kevin McCarey 2 0-0-0
John Henrion 1 0-0-0
Austin Block 1 0-0-0
Scott Pavelski 1 0-0-0
Brett Kostolansky 1 0-0-0
Connor Hardowa 1 0-0-0
Player GP/Min GA GAA W-L-T SV SV%
Foster 5/303:38 12 2.37 3-1-1 141 .922
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
11-28-09 59:29 W 34 4 38
Totals 303:38 3-1-1 141 12 153
LAST TIME THESE TEAMS MET (Nov. 28, 2009): The top line of Paul Thompson (2g, 1a), Bobby Butler (2g, 1a) and Phil DeSimone (1g, 2a) scored three points apiece to lift UNH to a 5-4 win over Merrimack College at J. Thom Lawler Arena. Brian Foster stopped 34 shots including 15 in the first period.
FOSTER COLLECTS HOCKEY EAST DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Brian Foster was named Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week. He earns this award for a league-best fourth time this season and sixth time of his career. Foster stopped 64 of 67 shots (.955) over the weekend lifting the Wildcats to critical road wins over Providence and Boston University. Foster posted a 1.47 GAA and allowed a pair of goals on Friday night and just a single power play goal on Saturday night. Foster turned away 17 third period shots in the winning effort against BU.
MEN’S HOCKEY DEBUTS IN USA TODAY POLL AT 12TH SPOT:UNH has ridden a five-game unbeaten streak and debuts in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine’s Men’s College Hockey Poll Top 15 for the first time this season. The Wildcats appear in the 12th spot garnering 144 points. The Wildcats last appeared in the USA Today poll when it was ranked sixth in the final national poll of the 2008-09 season. The 12th-ranked Wildcats hold a five-point lead in the Hockey East standing and are the highest ranked team of three league teams in the top 15 nationally, Massachusetts (14) and Boston College (15).
‘CATS EXTEND HOCKEY EAST UNBEATEN STREAK TO 11 GAMES: UNH extended its Hockey East unbeaten streak to 11-game (9-0-2), marking the longest HE unbeaten streak since a 14-game league unbeaten streak that went from 1-11-08 to 3-8-08.
BUTLER JOINS CENTURY CLUB: Senior Bobby Butler recorded his 100th point on Friday night against Providence. Butler’s 100th point came on the primary assist of the game winning overtime goal by Phil DeSimone. Butler becomes the 67th Wildcat to join the century club and the first since Mike Radja and Matt Fornataro did so on Jan. 28, 2008 at Boston University.
UNH UNBEATEN IN LAST FIVE OVERALL: UNH is riding a five-game unbeaten streak overall (4-0-1). Earlier this season, the ‘Cats enjoyed a seven-game unbeaten streak (6-0-1).
BUTLER FOURTH NATIONALLY IN POINTS, GOALS: Bobby Butler ranks fourth in the nation in goals with 0.74 goals per game. In addition, his 1.43 ppg is also good enough for fourth nationally.
BUTLER, DESIMONE RIDING FIVE-GAME SCORING STREAK: Top liners Bobby Butler and Phil DeSimone are riding five-game active scoring streaks. Butler has nine points in the last five games (4g, 5a), while DeSimone has seven points in that same span (3g, 4a).
POINT SALE: 5 FOR 20: UNH is the only team in the league with three players in the top 10 in scoring and five players with 20 points or more. Below is a breakdown of 20-point scorers by Hockey East teams.
Team # of 20-point Scorers
Boston College 2
Merrimack College 2
Boston University 0
WILDCATS CAPTURE SEASON SERIES WITH BU, IMPROVE TO 5-1-3 AT AGGANIS ARENA: The Wildcats completed the weekend by captured a 4-1 road win at Boston University. UNH completed the series with BU with a 2-0-1 mark, improve to 5-1-3 all time at Agganis Arena and helped the ‘Cats to their fourth-straight win.
KESSEL SECOND NATIONALLY IN DEFENSIVE POINTS, MOST POINTS BY UNH BLUELINER SINCE BRIAN YANDLE: Blake Kessel’s 27 points (6-20-27) is second only to Wisconsin’s Brendan Smith (30). In addition, his 27 points are the most points by defenseman since Brian Yandle had 30 points in 2005-06.
UNH’S OFFENSE SEVENTH NATIONALLY: New Hampshire’s offense ranks seventh in the country at 3.48 gpg including 12 games with four or more goals.
DEUCES WILDcats: The Wildcat defense has allowed two goals or fewer in five straight games.
T-B-D LINE, A DETERMINED SUCCESS: Since its formation on Nov. 14, 2009, the Wildcat TBD line (Thompson, Butler, DeSimone) have posted 27 goals, 30 assists for 57 points in 13 games (4.38 ppg) and guided UNH to a 10-1-2 record over span.
Since the T-B-D line was formed 13 games ago
Player Goals Assists Points PPG
Butler 10 11 21 1.61
Thompson 11 8 19 1.46
DeSimone 6 11 17 1.30 Totals 27 30 57 4.38
FOSTER HEATING UP IN ‘CATS UNBEATEN STREAK: During UNH’s 11-game Hockey East unbeaten streak, Brian Foster is 8-0-2 with a 2.06 GAA, a .934 save percentage and allowed two goals or fewer on eight occasions during UNH’s 11-game Hockey East unbeaten streak.
‘CATS HOLDING THE LEAD: UNH is 10-0-0 when leading after two periods, while New Hampshire is also 7-0-0 after holding a lead heading into the first intermission.
FOSTER CLIMBING UNH RECORD BOOKS: After sitting the wings behind Wildcat legendary netminder Kevin Regan, Brian Foster is writing his name in the Wildcat goaltending record book.
Career GAA: 2.81 (5th) Career Save %: .908 (5th)
Career Games: 70 (10th) Career Saves: 1,886 (10th)
Career Wins: 34 (13th)
BORISENOK COMING UP WITH TIMELY GOALS: Sophomore Mike Borisenok scored a pair of goals last weekend for the Wildcats. He scored the second goal of the game against PC and the first goal at BU.
ROAD-SWEET-ROAD: After going 0-5-0 in its first five road games, UNH has bounced back with a 6-0-1 record in its last seven games. Below is a look at the difference from the first five to the last seven:
First 5 Last 7
Record 0-5-0 6-0-1
Score 9-23 28-17
Offense 1.8 gpg 4.0 gpg
Defense 4.6 gpg 2.4 gpg
Power Play 5.3 % 9.4 %
Penalty Kill 75.0 % 73.9%
UNH’s Top Line 4 pts. (3g, 1a) (0.8 ppg) 33 pts. (14g, 19a)
(Thompson, DeSimone, Butler **not together** for first five games)
Record 0-5-0 5-0-1
Save % 88.3% 93.2%
GAA 4.38 GAA 2.29 GAA
TO THIS POINT LAST YEAR: A comparison through 23 games between this season and last season.
07-08 08-09 09-10
Record 15-7-1 11-8-4 12-7-4
HE Record 9-3-1 7-6-3 11-2-3
Goals scored 81 69 80
Goals scored/PG 3.50 3.00 3.48
Goals Allowed 63 71 73
Goals Allowed/PG 2.70 3.09 3.17
Shots 776 782 681
Shots Allowed 711 695 748
Power Play 17.1% 13.6% 18.4
(19-111) (18-132) (19-103)
Penalty Kill 84.6% 80.6% 80.2%
(104-123) (104-129) (77-96)
Top 3 Scorers Fornataro van Riem. Butler
8-21-29 9-17-27 17-16-33
Radja Sislo, LeBlanc Kessel
13-10-23 15-3-18, 8-10-18 6-21-27
van Riemsdyk Butler Thompson
10-12-22 6-11-17 13-12-25
30-30 FOR BUTLER: Bobby Butler posted 30 points for the second-straight season. Butler finished 2008-09 with 30 points (9-21-30) and has 33 points through 23 games this season.
MEN'S HOCKEY ENTERS HOME-AND-HOME SERIES WITH MERRIMACK