#6 Men's Hockey Returns to Action Saturday (7 p.m.- Whitt) Against #18 Merrimack College

DURHAM, N.H. -- The sixth-ranked University of New Hampshire men's hockey team (6-2-4, 4-1-2 HE) will resume play after the Thanksgiving holiday on Saturday, Nov. 27 against #18 Merrimack College (4-2-4, 3-2-3 HE). Puck drops at 7 p.m. at Whittemore Center for this pivotal Hockey East contest.

SCOUTING THE WARRIORS: No. 18 Merrimack enters the weekend with a 4-2-4 overall record and a 3-2-3 mark in Hockey East good enough for fourth place in the league standings with nine points. The Warriors made its debut in the USCHO.com Top 20 National Poll this week for the first time in program history. Under Head Coach Mark Dennehy, MC has emerged as one of the top programs in Hockey East this season. A balanced Merrimack offense is led by sophomore Stephane Da Costa (3g, 5a) and Jesse Todd (5g, 3a), who each have eight points on the season. The newly-remodeled Lawler Arena has become a big home-ice advantage the Warriors as they are 3-0-1 at home compared to just 1-2-3 on the road. In net, junior Joe Cannata has seen the majority of time for MC. He is 4-2-4 with a 2.19 GAA and a .925 save percentage.

Player    GP    G-A-P    
Paul Thompson    8    4-3-7
Phil DeSimone    8    2-5-7
Mike Sislo    9    3-2-5
Blake Kessel    6    0-4-4
Stevie Moses    5    1-2-3
Damon Kipp    4    0-2-2
Mike Beck    4    0-1-1
Brett Kostolansky    3    0-1-1
Matt Campanale    7    0-0-0
Greg Manz    4    0-0-0
Mike Borisenok    4    0-0-0
Kevin McCarey    3    0-0-0
John Henrion    2    0-0-0
Austin Block    2    0-0-0
Dalton Speelman    2    0-0-0
Greg Burke    2    0-0-0
Scott Pavelski    1    0-0-0
Connor Hardowa    1    0-0-0
Goaltending Stats
Player    GP/Min    GA    GAA    W-L-T    SV    SV%
no goalies with experience against Merrimack

SERIES HISTORY VS. MERRIMACK: The Wildcats hold the advantage in the all-time series vs. Merrimack College at 63-13-8 in 84 all-time meetings dating back to Jan. 16, 1960.  Since 1996, UNH is 39-4-6 in the last 49 games. UNH owns a 24-3-2 all-time record vs. Merrimack at the Whittemore Center and Coach Umile has compiled a 51-10-7 all-time mark against the Warriors. The 'Cats are 14-2-0 in the last 16 meetings against Merrimack at Towse Rink. Last year, the Wildcats captured the season series 2-1-0. Senior forwards Phil DeSimone and Paul Thompson are the active scoring leaders against Merrimack with seven points apiece in eight games. No UNH netminders have seen action against Merrimack.

LAST TIME THESE TEAMS MET (1/30/10): Paul Thompson  scored with 11.1 seconds remaining in overtime to lift UNH to a  4-3 victory against Merrimack College in Hockey East action at the Whittemore Center. In the closing seconds of the extra session, Phil DeSimone won possession of the puck in the left corner and threw a pass into the circle, where Thompson gained control and fired a shot that was blocked aside by MC goaltender Andrew Braithwaite. The rebound ricocheted off Bobby Butler in front of the net towards the right doorstep, where Thompson lifted a shot under the crossbar to give the Wildcats the win. UNH goalie Brian Foster finished with 26 saves, including one in overtime. Braithwaite stopped 43 shots, including 10 in OT as well as 16 in the first period.

LAST TIME OUT (11/23/10 vs. Brown): Blake Kessel and Mike Borisenok scored goals 11 seconds apart late in the third period to lift the sixth-ranked University of New Hampshire men's hockey team to Tuesday night's 5-5 non-conference tie against Brown University at the Whittemore Center.Trailing 5-3, the Wildcats called time out with 2:33 remaining and pulled goaltender Matt DiGirolamo in favor of an extra skater. Phil DeSimone swung the puck from the right circle to Mike Sislo at the opposite side. Sislo quickly made a touch pass to Kessel in the high slot and his shot sailed into the net at 18:07. Borisenok leveled the score, 5-5, at 18:18 when he corralled a loose puck in front of the net and beat Brown goalie Mike Clemente. DiGirolamo finished with 22 saves, including four in the five-minute overtime session. Clemente stopped 36 shots, including two in OT and 14 in the third period. It was the seventh time this season New Hampshire registered 40-plus shots on net. UNH's offense was led by Sislo (two goals, two assists) and DeSimone (three assists). Kessel tallied a goal and an assist. For Brown, Harry Zolnierczyk (2g, 1a), Jack Maclellan (3a) and Jeff Buvinow (2a) had multiple-point games.

THOMPSON GARNERS HOCKEY EAST CO-PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Senior forward Paul Thompson was named Hockey East Athletic Republic co-Player of the Week. The announcement was made Monday morning by the league office. Thompson, who collects his first HE Player of the Week award, becomes the first UNH player to earn the league's top honor since Matt DiGirolamo did so Nov. 8. Thompson, who shares the league's player of the week honors with Merrimack's Jesse Todd, scored three goals and added two assists for five points in a weekend split with #2 Boston Univ. He led the offense with two goals and an assist in Friday night's 5-2 win and factored in both UNH goals with a goal and an assist on Saturday night. Thompson ranks second in Hockey East in scoring with 15 points and his six goals are second-best in the league.

TOP LINE PRODUCING:  UNH's top line of Phil DeSimone, Paul Thompson and Mike Sislo have combined for nine goals, 23 assists and 32 points over the last five games. The group is averaging 1.80 gpg and 6.4 ppg.
Date    Thompson    Sislo    DeSimone
11/12 UMass    0-2-2     1-1-2    1-1-2
11/13 UMass    0-3-3    1-0-1    0-2-2
11/19 BU    2-1-3    0-1-1    1-2-3
11/20 @BU    1-1-2    0-2-2    0-1-1
11/23 Brown    0-1-1    2-2-4    0-3-3
Totals     3-8-11    4-6-10    2-9-11

SISLO REGISTERS FOUR POINTS AGAINST BROWN: Senior forward Mike Sislo recorded four points with a pair of goals and a pair of assists on Tuesday night against Brown. Sislo was also the last UNH player to record four points in a game, as he did so on Feb. 20, 2010 with a goal and three assists against Northeastern.

DeSIMONE MATCHES CAREER HIGH: Phil DeSimone matched a career high with three assists on Tuesday night against Brown.

DeSIMONE MOVES INTO FIRST IN HOCKEY EAST IN SCORING: Phil DeSimone ranks first in Hockey East with 17 points. Overall, the 'Cats have three of the top five scorers in Hockey East. Thompson ranks second with Maine's Spencer Abbott with 16 points, while Sislo is fourth with Maine's Gustav Nyquist with 15 points.

GIVING IT THEIR BEST SHOT; 40-PLUS IN FOUR-STRAIGHT: UNH has 40 shots in seven of 12 games this season, including four-straight games. The 'Cats allowed 40-plus shots on just one occasion, in the opening game against Miami. New Hampshire averaging 38.9 shts per games this season.

'CATS EXTENDS WHITTEMORE CENTER UNBEATEN STREAK TO 23 AGAINST HOCKEY EAST FOE: UNH is 16-0-7 in the last 23 Hockey East contests at Whittemore Center. New Hampshire's last home league loss came on Jan. 24, 2009 against BU.

POWERFUL POWER PLAY; PPGS IN 10-OF-12 GAMES:  New Hampshire has scored a power play goal in 10 of 12 games this season. UNH did not have a power play opportunity on 11/5 against BC and was just 0-2 against UMass-Lowell on 11/6.

KOSTO SCORES IN SECOND-STRAIGHT GAME: After scoring his first collegiate goal on Saturday at BU, Brett Kostolansky scored for the second-straight game on Tuesday against Brown.

'CATS OWN LEAGUE'S TOP OFFENSE: UNH owns a league-best 3.58 goals per game average this season. Maine is second in the league in offense with a 3.50 gpg average.

SCORING BY CLASS: 2010-11 breakdown of scoring by class.
Class    G-A-P    G-A-P %.
Seniors:    17-32-49    40-48-45
Juniors:    12-17-29    28-48-26
Sophomores:    13-18-31    30-27-28
Freshmen:    1-0-1    2-0-1

TO THIS POINT LAST YEAR: A comparison through 12 games between this season and last season.
    09-10        10-11
Record     3-6-2        6-2-4
HE Record    3-2-1        4-1-2
Goals scored    38            43
Goals scored/PG    3.17        3.58
Goals Allowed    46            34
Goals Allowed/PG    3.83        2.83
Shots    341        467
Shots Allowed    385        369
Power Play    17.6%         21.1%
    (9-51)        (12-57)
Penalty Kill    76.4%         83.0%
    (42-55)        (39-47)
Top 3 Scorers    Butler        DeSimone
    10-5-15        4-13-17
    Kessel        Thompson
    3-10-13        6-10-16
    LeBlanc        Sislo
    4-7-11        7-8-15

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
9/27            8th    N/P    3rd (pre)
10/4            N/P    10th    3rd (pre)
10/11        9th    9th    4th
10/18        7th­­­    7th    6th
10/25        10th    10th        7th
11/1            10th    10th    9th
11/8            8th    9th    4th
11/15        8th    7th    3rd
11/22        6th    6th    3rd

USCHO.com/CBS College Sports Division I Men's Poll (Nov. 22)
Rk.      Team           (First Place)Rec.     Pts     LW
1     Minnesota-Duluth  (49)      11-1-2 999     1
2     Boston University   (1)       7-1-4   893     2
3     Yale                           7-1-0   856     5
4     Nebraska-Omaha                 9-2-1   824     4
5     Miami                          8-3-3   808     6
6     New Hampshire                  6-2-3   724     7
7     Boston College                 8-4-0   648    10
8     Michigan                       8-3-3   635     9
9     North Dakota                   8-5-1   631     8
10     Maine                          6-3-3   612     3
11     Notre Dame                     9-3-1   568    11
12     Denver                        8-4-2   442    13
13     Union                          7-2-3   421    14
14     Alaska                         7-5-2   312    12
15     Minnesota                     7-4-1   259    19
16     Wisconsin                      6-6-2   199    15
17     Rensselaer                     5-3-3   191    18
18     Merrimack                      4-2-4   154    NR
19     Western Michigan               6-3-3   147    16
20     Ferris State                   6-5-3    48    NR
Others Receiving Votes: Quinnipiac 42, Michigan State 39,  Robert Morris 12, Dartmouth 9, Colorado College 5,  Princeton 5, St. Cloud State 5, Niagara 4, Clarkson 3, Northern Michigan 2, Providence 2, Brown 1

USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine (Nov. 22)
Rk.    School, Pts. (FPV)        Last     Record    Weeks
1    Minnesota Duluth, 509 (34)    1    11-1-2    8
2    Boston University, 438        2    7-1-4    8
3    Yale University, 421        5    7-1-0    8
4    Nebraska Omaha, 389        4    9-2-1    6
5    Miami University, 373        6    8-3-3    8
6    New Hampshire, 299        8    6-2-3    8
7    Boston College, 272        9    8-4-0    8
8    University of Michigan, 265    10    8-3-3    8
9    University of Maine, 263    3    6-3-3    8
10    North Dakota, 252        7    8-5-1    8
11    University of Notre Dame, 201    11    9-3-1    5
12    Union College, 133        12    7-2-3    5
13    University of Denver, 130    14    8-4-2    8
14    University of Alaska, 55        13    7-5-2    7
15    University of Minnesota, 37    NR    7-4-1    3
Others receiving votes: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 19; University of Wisconsin, 15; Merrimack College, 8; Quinnipiac University, 1.

Wildcats Among National leaders: Below is a list of where UNH players and team rank nationally.
Individual    Rank    Stats
Points Per Game:
Phil DeSimone     10th     1.42 ppg
Paul Thompson     14th     1.33 ppg
Goals Per Game:
Mike Sislo     29th        0.58 gpg
Paul Thompson         49th        0.50 gpg
Assists Per Game:
Phil DeSimone             9th               1.08 apg
Paul Thompson              20th            0.83 apg
Power Play Goals:
Mike Sislo        20th    3 ppg
Paul Thompson      20th      3 ppg
Short-Handed Goals:
Dalton Speelman      13th     1 shg
Stevie Moses     13th     1 shg
Game-Winning Goal:
Mike Sislo     6th     2 gwg
Dalton Speelman     40th     1 gwg
John Henrion     40th     1 gwg
Damon Kipp       40th         1 gwg
Paul Thompson      40th       1 gwg
Defensemen Scoring:
Blake Kessel        12th     0.83 ppg
Goals Against Average:
Matt DiGirolamo     40th             2.69 gaa
Save Percentage:
Matt DiGirolamo        38th     .910
Winning Percentage:
Matt DiGirolamo     16th     .667
Scoring Offense       11th     3.58
Scoring Defense           27th     2.83
Scoring Margin     11th     0.75
Penalty Minutes     49th       10.8
Power Play     18th     21.1
Penalty Kill        29th     83.0
Combined Special Teams     34th         49.0
Winnning Percentage       9th     .667

Among the League Leaders: Where some of the Wildcats rank in Hockey East.
            Player        All Games    HE Games
Points         Phil DeSimone    1st (17 pts)    8th (8 pts)
            Paul Thompson     2nd (16 pts)      2nd(11 pts)
            Mike Sislo     4th (15 pts)    19th (6 pts)
Goals           Mike Sislo     4th (7 g)         30th (2 g)
            Paul Thompson      6th (6 g)      6th (4 g)
                   John Henrion     9th (5 g)      14th (3 g)
                    Stevie Moses      9th (5 g)          57th (1 g)
Assists           Phil DeSimone      1st (13 a)       3rd (6 a)
                           Paul Thompson      3rd (10 a)       2nd (7 a)
                           Blake Kessel     5th (8 a)           28th (3 a)
PP Points           Paul Thompson      3rd (8 pts)      1st (6 pts)
                        Phil DeSimone      6th (6 pts)       5th (4 pts)
            Blake Kessel    6th (6 pts)    13th (3 pts)
            Mike Sislo    6th (6 pts)    13th (3 pts)
PP Goals            Paul Thompson     3rd (3 ppg)     13th (1 ppg)
                     Mike Sislo     3rd (3 ppg)      13th (1 ppg)
                        Phil DeSimone     10th (2 ppg)    2nd (2 ppg)
SH Points           Four Tied    6th (1 shp)     n/a
SH Goals     Dalton Speelman5th (1 shg)     n/a
                 Stevie Moses     5th (1 shg)     n/a
GW Goals       Mike Sislo      1st (2 gwg)       3rd (1 gwg)
Def. Scoring      Blake Kessel     2nd (10 pts)     4th (4 pts)
              Brett Kostolansky7th (6 pts)      9th (3 pts)
            Connor Hardowa10th (5 pts)     23rd (2 pts)
GAA         Matt DiGirolamo     6th (2.69)     2nd (1.83)
Save %         Matt DiGirolamo     5th (.910)     4th (.934)
Win %         Matt DiGirolamo     2nd (.667)     2nd (.714)
Saves         Matt DiGirolamo     2nd (335)     8th (184)
Minutes     Matt DiGirolamo1st (736:05)      5th (427:03)
Wins         Matt DiGirolamo     2nd (6)         2nd (4)

    Overall             HE games
Goals/per game     3.58/1st    2.71/3rd
GAA         2.83/6th     1.86/1st
Power Play     21.1/2nd     21.9/3rd
Penalty Kill      83.0/5th     92.0/1st
Special Teams Net     +3/2nd      +3/2nd
1st Period Scoring          11/4th     8/2nd
2nd Period Scoring        20/1st       9/2nd
3rd Period Scoring     12/4th     2/10th
Overtime Scoring             0/3rd        0/3rd

UNH HOCKEY ON TELEVISION: UNH will have nine games broadcast live on TV in 2010-11. NESN will air five games, three will air on CBS College Sports, while one will air locally on ONN (Ohio).
DATE    GAME    Channel    RES.
Oct. 8     at Miami                 CBS-College Sports    L, 3-6
Oct. 9     at Miami                    ONN (OHIO)    W, 6-3
Nov. 19     Boston U.               NESN    W, 5-2
Dec. 10      at Maine               CBS-College Sports
Jan. 22     Boston U.     NESN
Feb. 4      Maine    NESN
Feb. 5     Maine    NESN
Feb. 18    at Vermont    CBS-College Sports            
March 4     at Boston College      NESN

WILDCAT AWARDS: Here is a list of awards that Wildcat players have won to date this season:
Player    Award    Date
Blake Kessel    INCH Preseason All-America First Team    10/7
Blake Kessel    InsideHockey.com's Hobey Watch    10/7
Matt DiGirolamo    HE Defensive Player of the Week    10/18
UNH Wildcats    HE Team of the Week    11/8
Matt DiGirolamo    HE Player of the Week    11/8
Matt DiGirolamo    INCH National Player of the Week    11/8
Paul Thompson    HE co-Player of the Week    11/22

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