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Thread: UNH Wildcats 2017/2018 - Umile's Last Stand - The Grand Finale

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan View Post
    Conklin had a red-shirt season at UNH and Umile was certainly aware of who he was and what he could do, when he was finally eligible as a RS Sophomore. That definitely worked in his favor. Additionally, he didn't have that fourth year of eligibility UNH could just burn for kicks. He had already spent a year at UAA and then was forced to red-shirted due to transferring. Under similar circumstances, Matile also took over the starting role immediately, despite SR Brian LaRochelle sparking UNH to a 13-2-1 first semester in 1996-97. But Matile also had the benefit of a red-shirt year at UNH and it was clear he was the superior goaltender. He also only had three years of eligibility, after spending some time at Maine and in MJ, and they needed to get him in the crease. Both Matile and Conklin were essentially third-year college kids and in their second seasons at UNH when they first played...

    If I remember correctly, Conklin quickly earned his way into a rotation during the 1998-99 season before taking over down the stretch. He would definitely fall into the 'too good to ignore' camp. While Matile was very good that season with a 2.47 goals-against average, Conklin was otherworldly - posting a 1.84 GAA and an 18-3-1 record...

    ----

    The 1998-99 team was the most successful in school history, winning 31 games and falling in OT of the National Championship game. They were built on the backs of their top line/pair and two goaltenders. They had without question one of the top lines in college hockey history in Krog (Hobey winner), Haydar (Hobey Runner-Up/Should have won) and Souza (176 career points), two great defensemen in Jayme Fillipowicz and Steve O'Brien and two great goaltenders in Sean Matile and Ty Conklin. Otherwise, they had a solid, but not spectacular roster.

    Was the 1997-98 team that lost to Michigan in the National Semi-Finals the better team? On the back end, they had Sean Matile in net (Conklin was red-shirting) and the exact same group of defense who would eventually play on the 98/99 team (Flip, O'Brien, Enders, Lind, Bragnalo, White and Austin were all on both teams). The real difference was up front, where the 97/98 group had Bekar, Nolan and Mowers instead of Darren Haydar. So, which team was better...???
    Wow, how many players on this year's roster would see any ice time on the top two lines or D pairs on either of those teams? Not many, if any. Sigh.

    And, referring to Ryan Cordeiro from the previous thread as an early departure, he played 39 games as a freshman on the third line in 1998-1999 (4+10=14 pts), but only 12 games (3+1=4) before leaving Dodge the next season.

    I am trying to piece together Matt Carney's career at UNH before his two years in the CHL, one with the Odessa Jacklopes (now there was a great trivia question). It appears that he was backup to Matille in 1997-1998, who was 25-12-1, so did Carney get any minutes in net that year? Apparently he was not on the roster in 1998-1999, then was 4-1-1 in 1999-2000, 4-0-1 in 2000-2001, and 16-3-2 (2.49 GAA, 0.905 SV%) in 2001-2002, when he rotated in net most of the season with Mike Ayers until St Paul.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whalers View Post
    That is a tough question. If Bekar doesnt get hurt in 98, that team would have won it all. Multiple scoring lines, good goalie, good defense. I know that they had their late season swoon, and limped into the playoffs, but they were so exciting to see. 99 certainly was better in goal, more D experience and had the superior top line. Just to dream if Bekar had stuck around for his senior season, OMG!

    The common denominator is the tight turtle neck behind the bench. We look at all of the would haves and could haves, but what could have happened if he did take the turtle neck to Amherst, and McCloskey took over?? How many licks to the center of Tootsie Roll Pop?
    Would have saved our State U and our State a bundle ($), as well.

  3. #23
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    Re: UNH Wildcats 2017/2018 - Umile's Last Stand - The Grand Finale

    Quote Originally Posted by Whalers View Post
    That is a tough question. If Bekar doesnt get hurt in 98, that team would have won it all. Multiple scoring lines, good goalie, good defense. I know that they had their late season swoon, and limped into the playoffs, but they were so exciting to see. 99 certainly was better in goal, more D experience and had the superior top line. Just to dream if Bekar had stuck around for his senior season, OMG!

    The common denominator is the tight turtle neck behind the bench. We look at all of the would haves and could haves, but what could have happened if he did take the turtle neck to Amherst, and McCloskey took over?? How many licks to the center of Tootsie Roll Pop?
    I would probably agree with you. With both goalies on that second team, there was a healthy competition that got the best out of both of them. As much as I love Matile, Conklin was the better player - so goaltending is an edge to the 98/99 team. They also get the edge on defense with the same group returning in its entirety with another year of experience, strength and ability. Offensively, the 98/99 team produced plenty of offense and, somehow, actually scored 7 more goals than the 97/98 club. They probably are the best of the two teams and the best UNH team ever...

    That said, the 97/98 team was so deep offensively and so fun to watch move the puck and create offense. It is definitely one of my favorite UNH teams of all time and the regional wins over Wisconsin and BU were amazing.

    The two Bekar what-ifs are wild to think about - but often forgotten in those discussions is the major what-if for 97/98. Erik Niklaus was eligible to return as a senior, following a 29 goal campaign in 96/97 (and 55 goals total over the past two seasons), but left for professional hockey after his junior season. Imagine adding Nicklaus to that group of forwards...

    Bekar - Nolan - Krog
    Nicklaus - Mowers - Dellazy
    Shipulski - Sadowski - Souza
    Gagnon - Onufrechuk - Swain

    Those two early departures may have cost them back-to-back Nattys...
    Last edited by Dan; 02-01-2018 at 02:15 PM.
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    Re: UNH Wildcats 2017/2018 - Umile's Last Stand - The Grand Finale

    Quote Originally Posted by Whalers View Post
    If Bekar doesnt get hurt in 98, that team would have won it all.
    I always thought that the biggest "coulda, woulda shoulda" moment involving Derek Bekar is that his grandparents had tickets on the Titanic. However a last minute glitch kept them from getting on board. I suppose there is a joke in their about their grandson's college hockey choice....
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    Re: UNH Wildcats 2017/2018 - Umile's Last Stand - The Grand Finale

    Bekar's grandparents and the Titanic, plenty of good angles on that one. Just like the Red Sox and the Titanic.

    Totally forgot about Nicklaus leaving a year early. He probably saw how ill prepared TGTN (The Great Turtle Neck) had the team come the end of the season, and decided that another year of post season misery wasnt for him. How did they lose to ColCollege so listlessly? The Centrum sucks for hockey, but we sucked worse. Remember Denver 9-2 in 95.

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    Re: UNH Wildcats 2017/2018 - Umile's Last Stand - The Grand Finale

    Quote Originally Posted by Whalers View Post
    The common denominator is the tight turtle neck behind the bench. We look at all of the would haves and could haves, but what could have happened if he did take the turtle neck to Amherst, and McCloskey took over?? How many licks to the center of Tootsie Roll Pop?
    I had a "Hockey East What If?" thread starter about 80% written on this very subject 3-4 postseasons ago. I had done one on Walshy a few weeks before - basically, what if he were still with us? - which met with mixed reviews, so I nixed starting another one, and figured I might come back to it in the future. Then BS35+2 rolled out The Great Three Year Plan, and we were off into so many other directions.

    The recap of some of UNH's failures in the late '90's in recent posts only brings on further hindsight and reflection on what could/should have been. Coach kept pushing past the failures, and in the early '00's with two HE Tourney titles back to back, and two more trips back to the FF, for a while it seemed like he was figuring it out. Then he lost his recruiting binky (McCloskey), and it's been all downhill since ...
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    Re: UNH Wildcats 2017/2018 - Umile's Last Stand - The Grand Finale

    Quote Originally Posted by mookie1995 View Post
    Coulda also been named The Grand Illusion
    I'll admit, I kinda wish I'd come up with that. Good call.
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    Re: UNH Wildcats 2017/2018 - Umile's Last Stand - The Grand Finale

    If the quest stalls at 599 does Souza let Umile coach one game next year to get the win?

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    Re: UNH Wildcats 2017/2018 - Umile's Last Stand - The Grand Finale

    Recollections from nearly 20 years ago. In the 1997-1998 season Brian LaRochelle started the first 12 (ithink that was the number) because Matile was not eligible due to his daliance with MJA in BC. LaRochelle was an outstanding high school catcher and was at UNH on a baseball scholarship. But he was also a decent high school goalie and UNH needed someone. With some intense tutoring by Lassonde, including multiple sessions with a puck machine, he became more than serviceable on what was a great team. But it was a given that Matile was going to be the goalie once he was eligible. Always recall his first game, at UVM, with St. Louis and Perrin. Pretty sure he had 19 saves in the first period alone. The next year he and Ty alternated games all the way to the HE semis. After that it was Ty all the way.

    Always thought if UNH had Bekar in ‘99 they would have won more than the regular season title. Who’s to say about the final what with the knob of the stick and all that Chuck is right though. It all ended once McCloskey left. Every year after 2003, the teams were progressively just not as good. Instead of being on the short list for the championship, it was instead, “we made the tournament again.” As I wrote last week, they had more than remote shots to make the FF in 2008, 2009, and 2010. After that? Zippo. For UNH to get back to the glory days, they are going to need someone as ruthless and committed as McCloskey was. Not holding my breath though.

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    Re: UNH Wildcats 2017/2018 - Umile's Last Stand - The Grand Finale

    He can coach against the pre-season Canadian thugs next year to get the "W". Then his 600 wins can have an ** asterisk next to it as being unofficial. Somehow a fitting conclusion.

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    Re: UNH Wildcats 2017/2018 - Umile's Last Stand - The Grand Finale

    Quote Originally Posted by Snively65 View Post
    Wow, how many players on this year's roster would see any ice time on the top two lines or D pairs on either of those teams? Not many, if any.
    This.

    Compared to those squads, making out the line charts for the last decade or so was pretty much like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
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    Re: UNH Wildcats 2017/2018 - Umile's Last Stand - The Grand Finale

    Could any players on this years team crack the line up for either the 97-98 or 98-99 teams?

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    Re: UNH Wildcats 2017/2018 - Umile's Last Stand - The Grand Finale

    Let's Go 'Cats!

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    Quote Originally Posted by JB View Post
    Could any players on this years team crack the line up for either the 97-98 or 98-99 teams?
    I think that our two freshmen D-men could skate as the third pair on those two teams, and maybe Nickulas and Salvaggio could get ice time on the the fourth line in 1997-1998 and maybe the third line in 1998-1999.

    But, going back the past decade, I think that we have had several players each year that could have made the third or fourth lines and second or third D pairs on those two teams. But, this season and apparently the next few are sadly the new normal.

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    Re: UNH Wildcats 2017/2018 - Umile's Last Stand - The Grand Finale

    Pick chins up. From mainuh. Go and win. Souza is great, saw him on ice. Power forward, goes to the net, wins... extention means great things. My $0.02
    "A fate that we deserved? Of course it is what we deserved. We played out there. If we screw up, who's fault is it? I don't blame the referees. I don't blame the other team. It is on us. We don't make any excuses and we don't let anyone else make excuses for us. Ever! Ever! And as long as I am the coach here that's how it's gonna be. And as long as I am the coach here the only thing we will accept is victory! Ties - we don't accept it. Losses - we don't accept it. Victory! Period!" - Red Gendron

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    Re: UNH Wildcats 2017/2018 - Umile's Last Stand - The Grand Finale

    I love the thread from 97 98. Great team. But truth be told from mainuh heart... I wished we could have traded you for Ty Conklin. That guy was outstanding. And in Maine we love goalies. Maine could have won another one with him. He was the best goalie I ever saw you had. But I also like boganeki. Sorry for bad spelling. Bekar was outstanding but he had to go early in NHL. But if we could go back and trade, I'd spot you a Niko Dimitrakos for Ty Conklin.
    "A fate that we deserved? Of course it is what we deserved. We played out there. If we screw up, who's fault is it? I don't blame the referees. I don't blame the other team. It is on us. We don't make any excuses and we don't let anyone else make excuses for us. Ever! Ever! And as long as I am the coach here that's how it's gonna be. And as long as I am the coach here the only thing we will accept is victory! Ties - we don't accept it. Losses - we don't accept it. Victory! Period!" - Red Gendron

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    Re: UNH Wildcats 2017/2018 - Umile's Last Stand - The Grand Finale

    HR's weekend predicts:

    Friday: NU 4 UNH 1 (would love to be proved 100% wrong on this one...) Never seen them win at Matthews so tonight would be a great night to do it!
    Saturday: UNH 3 UMass 1

    Go 'Cats!
    Last edited by HockeyRef; 02-02-2018 at 07:01 AM.
    Let's Go 'Cats!

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    Quote Originally Posted by HockeyRef View Post
    A couple of sweet goals for sure! Thanks for posting the links Ref.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HockeyRef View Post
    That makes five 20-goal NHL seasons for the JvR haters on this thread. :-)

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    Re: UNH Wildcats 2017/2018 - Umile's Last Stand - The Grand Finale

    Quote Originally Posted by Snively65 View Post
    That makes five 20-goal NHL seasons for the JvR haters on this thread. :-)
    Yay JvR!! Three more 20 goal seasons, and you are Marco Sturm ('96 first round pick at #21)!!
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