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UNHhockey29
01-24-2010, 03:21 PM
Kipper has made huge strides in that this year.

Big time. We were talking about that last night. Don't remember him being this fast last year or even at the beginning of the season.

Greg Ambrose
01-24-2010, 07:24 PM
This is the best puck handling defense at UNH. When the puck goes in the corner, they end up with it because they have skill to get it and also beat a forechecker, if necessary.

While the skill level of the forwards is much below what we've seen in the past, they are able to get pressure because from center ice, they utilize the defensemen more, passing it back if their half of the rink is clogged, allowing the puck to be reversed to the other side of the rink. In the past, UNH's center ice play was the wide, cross ice passing and those lanes could be clogged. Now, they go back more, opening up the ice.

BTW, Kostolansky remains UNH's best defenseman. I'm surprised that with all his points, Kessel is probably only 3rd among D in skill of getting the puck out of a corner. Kipper has made huge strides in that this year.

I'm glad you and Carl weighed in after actually watching a game. I agree that the d has been much more mobile than I would have expected. But Kostolansky is not their best defenseman. He is better than expected, but he is slow, something that was painfully obvious earlier in the season. Over the last couple of months he has gotten better at spacing, not over committing and, as a result, he has become more effective. Kessel remains the best pure d-man. Last night he made a couple of plays where he allowed a forward to go deep in the corner, backed off a bit, then basically took the puck away. The guy that has opened my eyes a bit is Kipp. I'm not sure whether it is him, or perhaps the BU forwards, but a couple of times last night he broke out of the zone and within in two strides had clearly escaped the forechecking from BU. For breakouts and setting up the offense, this is clearly the best collection of d-men we have had in awhile. I'm wondering if you recognized this before the season started.

UNHhockey29
01-24-2010, 08:33 PM
He's actually quite a good skater, from my view. Fast in straight ahead direction, and very agile on side to side, with an ability to accelerate quickly. Far better skater than Kessel, who caughed the puck up a couple of times when it was passed to him and he had a fairly unimpeded outlet to the blueline.

I didn't feel that Kessel had a great game. At times we were commenting on how he just didn't look like himself out there. From what I have seen my opinion is that Kessel is our best defenseman.

unhpuckfan2001
01-25-2010, 08:13 AM
I didn't feel that Kessel had a great game. At times we were commenting on how he just didn't look like himself out there. From what I have seen my opinion is that Kessel is our best defenseman.

Agreed. Couldn't afford to go, but watching on TV Blake did seem to have an off night.

Are we talking about all around player, or are we talking about best player inside the blue line? Because you have to at least mention Nick Krates' work. The term gets thrown around a lot, but he is a true 'stay at home defensemen'. Not the flashiest player, but take, for example, Saturday night's game at BU; there was a loose puck just off the left post, maybe two feet away from an open net.

Foster was sliding across, and most likely would have been in position to stop the shot, but it never got through. Krates, knocked down on the previous sequence, scrambled across, and got his body (shoulder, namely) in front of the shot. Great, smart, defensive play. Just one example of why he's my choice for best pure defensemen. Are there other things that Kipp, Kessel, and Kostalasnky do better? Yeah. But I'll take Nick when the puck is loose in the crease.

For all Wildcat fans, though, this is a nice discussion to be able to have. Not the worst, but the best, defensemen on the team. Quite a turnaround from the start of the year, eh?

JB
01-25-2010, 02:29 PM
We must have seen another shift in the Umile UNH program. By that I refer the first shift as the change pre 98-99 and post 98-99. Pre 98-99 UNH didn't care one lick about D it was all about scoring goals. 98-99 on there is more of a tendency towards team D. The shift I think we are seeing is in the type of D-men UNH is going after and getting.

This is a very solid group right now even if at times getting to this year and early this year they were questionable. It is a solid group that can handle the puck. Since the players skills are better there has been a change in technique.

They don't throw the puck behind the net they hold it or bounce it so there partner is not left out to dry. I think this change is best embodied by Kostalansky. He was the first this year that I saw fake behind the net and then pivot away on this backhand. Now they all seem to do it. UNH used to be very predictable on the back end. Under pressure just get the puck off your stick, 99% of the time by throwing behind the net to nowhere. That has all but vanished.

Also the trap used to kill UNH. The D couldn't carry the puck and once out of zone no forward would dream of passing it back. Couple this with the games against Wisco and Miami and UNH learned that dumping the puck means you have to work to get it back. They are more content and comfortable passing the puck back to the D and starting over. All the guys on the ice seem comfortable carrying the puck and treat it as a precious item.

Look at the incoming recruits - Agosta (hands), Laleggia (puck moving), Chevrier (two-way), TvR (QB, puck moving). The only exception of the next group is Knodel who also has puck skills. Even Hardowa is good with the stick just need to work on skating and positioning.

On another note: It has been nice to see the lessons learned last spring still being applied. Exhibit A was Saturday at BU. Thompson took the shot and then hustled back on the play to get a diving poke check in to spoil a BU odd man rush.

UNHHKYRKS
01-25-2010, 02:29 PM
its good to see the cats finally ahead of the rest of hockey east in the national rankings...up to #13 and one of only 4 top twenty teams to get a sweep this weekend. hopefully they can keep it rolling against merrimack:D

CarlS
01-25-2010, 06:39 PM
JB - I will be very interested to see how Agosta does when he starts playing the college game. I went to several Indiana Ice games while I was out there and I wasn't sure. I liked Goumas and the one game I saw Camper. Agosta supposedly has great hands and vision, but it was skating that he supposedly needs to work on.

Whatever it is - it was great to see how quickly that UNH was able to transition from D to O against BU. No matter what level you play that is a key to being succesful.

JB
01-26-2010, 06:18 AM
JB - I will be very interested to see how Agosta does when he starts playing the college game. I went to several Indiana Ice games while I was out there and I wasn't sure. I liked Goumas and the one game I saw Camper. Agosta supposedly has great hands and vision, but it was skating that he supposedly needs to work on.

Whatever it is - it was great to see how quickly that UNH was able to transition from D to O against BU. No matter what level you play that is a key to being succesful.

I didn't say Agosta was great but his #1 quality is hands. The skating is a concern. I do wonder if he is a kid that will come in and be in plain cloths for a couple of years until his skating improves.

2010-2011 Defenseman
Campanale, SR
Beck, SR
Kessel, JR*
Kipp, JR
Kostolansky, SO
Hardowa, SO
Ivens-Anderson, SO
Laleggia, FR
Knoedel, FR
Agosta, FR


2011-12 Defenseman
Kessel, SR*
Kipp, SR
Kostolansky, JR
Hardowa, JR
Ivens-Anderson, JR
Laleggia, SO
Knoedel, SO
Agosta, SO
TvR, Fr
Chevrier, FR

Even with Ivens-Anderson being a complete unknown that is 10 D the next two years. That provides some insurance against Kessel leaving early and allows for the growth of some players.

unhpuckfan2001
01-26-2010, 07:43 AM
Haven't been down to 'Mack in a while, but am making the trip this Friday.

Do I need to worry about ticket availability? Hate buying tickets online and paying fees. Also, are they particularly strict about sitting in their assigned seats now? Just curious . . .

C-H-C
01-26-2010, 09:24 AM
Haven't been down to 'Mack in a while, but am making the trip this Friday.

Do I need to worry about ticket availability? Hate buying tickets online and paying fees. Also, are they particularly strict about sitting in their assigned seats now? Just curious . . .

When I went to the Merrimack game on Thanksgiving weekend, there were plenty of tickets available at the door. It was the Saturday after Thanksgiving day so the students weren't on campus. Also, there seemed to be flexibility about where people sat (i.e., no enforcement of assigned seats). I don't know if this will apply to Friday's game - Good Luck.

billb
01-26-2010, 05:58 PM
They don't throw the puck behind the net they hold it or bounce it so there partner is not left out to dry. I think this change is best embodied by Kostalansky. He was the first this year that I saw fake behind the net and then pivot away on this backhand. Now they all seem to do it. UNH used to be very predictable on the back end. Under pressure just get the puck off your stick, 99% of the time by throwing behind the net to nowhere. That has all but vanished.

Also the trap used to kill UNH. The D couldn't carry the puck and once out of zone no forward would dream of passing it back. Couple this with the games against Wisco and Miami and UNH learned that dumping the puck means you have to work to get it back. They are more content and comfortable passing the puck back to the D and starting over. All the guys on the ice seem comfortable carrying the puck and treat it as a precious item.


Excellent points and I concur 100%. This weekend was a case in point, where traditionally Jackie Parker would send his forecheckers in to wreak havoc on puck-carrying D-men. It always used to work...
It's a wonderful season so far, thanks NESN for Saturday night.

UNH09
01-26-2010, 07:04 PM
It was the Saturday after Thanksgiving day so the students weren't on campus.

There are students at Merrimack?!?! That go to hockey games?!?! This is not your father's hockey east!!! :D

Snively65
01-26-2010, 11:17 PM
There are students at Merrimack?!?! That go to hockey games?!?! This is not your father's hockey east!!! :D

Prompts the "Drive home safely" chant from UNH fans (when the Cats win :rolleyes: ).

unhpuckfan2001
01-27-2010, 05:01 AM
There are students at Merrimack?!?! That go to hockey games?!?! This is not your father's hockey east!!! :D

Where the hell have you been? Long time no post, Tom.:p

PSW
01-27-2010, 07:42 AM
While the skill level of the forwards is much below what we've seen in the past.

There has been much talk about the the D-men........I just want to give a "shout out" to all our "below skilled forwards", nice job so far this year ........Butler line awesome!...LeBlanc gang nice!....Love the BoBo line!... keep it going!

boblav1
01-27-2010, 09:57 PM
Haven't been down to 'Mack in a while, but am making the trip this Friday.

Do I need to worry about ticket availability? Hate buying tickets online and paying fees. Also, are they particularly strict about sitting in their assigned seats now? Just curious . . .

FYI - I saw this on the Warrior Hockey website. Tickets for UNH game limited. (http://warriorhockey.org/vb/showthread.php?threadid=1813)

unhpuckfan2001
01-28-2010, 05:00 AM
FYI - I saw this on the Warrior Hockey website. Tickets for UNH game limited. (http://warriorhockey.org/vb/showthread.php?threadid=1813)

Thanks. Looks like I'll pay the extra fees and get 'em now, to make sure.

MarkL
01-28-2010, 11:16 AM
Thanks. Looks like I'll pay the extra fees and get 'em now, to make sure.

This post worried me so I went ahead and purchased tickets onlline. It is far from alomost sold out. There were whole sections open and available.

Gibber
01-28-2010, 11:18 AM
I think it was a ploy by Mike to leak that out and try to get unh fans to stay home ;)

unhpuckfan2001
01-28-2010, 11:32 AM
This post worried me so I went ahead and purchased tickets onlline. It is far from alomost sold out. There were whole sections open and available.

Ditto. I bought center ice, front row seats online. Oh well, at least now I have them in hand . . . wait, at will call . . .

It's a nicely set up website, though; I liked picking seats from a chart like that.