Okay, well, last week wasn’t so great. Hopefully some home cooking will clean up this mess.
So, it’s a visit from the twin state rivals. UNH has…not been very good this year. They’ve seen a slight uptick – they’ve equalled last year’s 11 wins – but this is still a far cry from the team that reached the 2015 Hockey East semis, as some of their Ls include embarrassing home defeats to Bentley, Arizona State, and Colorado College. The Wildcats have been okay in Hockey East play, sitting three points behind UVM (who has dropped to 6th but has games in hand on Providence and Lowell), but have lost 5 straight, haven’t won in 7 HEA games, and are coming off a 8-2 shellacking at the hands of UMass Lowell.
You can’t really blame UNH’s faults on goalkeeper Dan Tirone, who for his part has been okay, nothing special. He currently rocks a .913 save percentage. His backup’s only played 133 minutes, so we’re not gonna waste characters on him.
The defense is UNH’s problem area. They have the third most shot attempts against in Hockey East (ahead of only Maine and UConn), and Matias Cleland (28 points) aside, they’re getting no offensive contribution back there. Second on the team in defensive scoring is Dylan Maller, who’s missed most of the year with injury, then nobody else has 10. This team gives up about as many goals per game as Northeastern and Dartmouth, both teams UVM have defeated this year, so make of that what you will.
That being said, even though UNH isn’t the best offensive team (they’re four notches behind UVM in goals-per-game), they have one of the best scoring threats in the nation. Tyler Kelleher is an absolute monster, and is tied for second in the nation in scoring with 47 points, just one behind Union’s Mike Vecchione. The Wildcats also have a terrific power play that sits ninth in the country. The Catamount defense has been pretty bad since the new year (conceding 3+ goals in every game since 2017 started), and now they have to deal with one of the biggest threats in the country. Michael McNicholas, Patrick Grasso, and Jason Salvaggio are no slouches either.
Games are Friday and Saturday, 7pm, on CatamounTV.
Two massive games ahead of an even bigger trip to Conte.