Let's Go SouzaCats!
Game highlights from last night:
Let's Go SouzaCats!
Reading the Maine thread you can see they are pretty pumped up about their team beating UML (and rightly so; it feels good to do that, doesn't it!!) Am 'copying' their current 'run down' of their season with this post.
How do those of you who have seen the team perform so far this year think of them at this point ? (am talking about our 'Cats here...)
Dan pointed out we are heading into a very tough portion of the schedule with UML (I don't care where they are at in the standings, etc...) BU, PC, etc... By next Sunday we will really know a lot more about them and what they are capable of doing. So far I think:
*Patrick Grasso is coming on strong. He's a contender for the top line. He's going to start scoring on the PP just a matter of time. Hate to say it, but he could replace Salvaggio. (Whom I'd like to see have a big weekend he is due). Not sure how that line will work if it has to be shuffled. (like, who can shoot from where sorry that's lost on me, sigh)
*BvR has scored a point in the past 5 games. Lots of improvement from game to game.
*UNH pretty much has 3 solid lines; the 4th line is coming along and provides decent effort out there. Not sure how much ice time they will get this weekend?
*Fregona continues to impress with his hustle and forecheck. Keep him on the ice, not on the bench.
*Vela and Eisermen: you are missed out there! Please come back sooner than later...and in good health!
*Dwise: Wyse is the work horse there is no doubt. Hard to keep him out of the box tho. We need him on the ice, not off it.
*Marks: I felt he had his best game this weekend. He does a lot of "quiet" stuff out there. Can always be counted on but has to bring game UP for this weekends competition. Solid, dependable player.
*Gildon continues to deliver with assists but his D game needs to come along. We'll need it this weekend. Plus...that booming slap shot as well.
*Maas is solid and is only going to get better. Poised out there; gets lots of sticks in the way. Beautiful goal this weekend too...more of that please!
*Chanter and Boyd are doing well and work hard. Both can provide good stuff need more physical tho. Can't afford turnovers.
*DT: Playing very well at the moment. Few 'get in your crease young man' moments so far. The better D this season allows him to be more effective. He'll see plenty of rubber this weekend. I think he's up to the task but has to be on his top game. He's been a gamer so far this season. Lots of "good Danny" moments!
*Hope others will feel free to tear this apart (haha) and get some dialog going...go ahead, I can take it.
Last edited by HockeyRef; 11-05-2017 at 09:08 PM.
Let's Go SouzaCats!
Better effort this week than last against a UMass team that didn't look like they could be bothered to play a hockey game that night. We were definitely missing the toughness of both Vela and Eiserman up front in this one but were able to make due with what we had. I keep hearing this work "opportunistic" getting thrown around about this team by other coaches. The last two we have faced have made it a point of saying that and I can definitely agree with that take on this group so far. While our powerplay has not been a complete juggernaut it converts enough that teams recognize the situation they put themselves in. I was a bit concerned that again we reverted to "play not to lose" in most of the third period, against UMass it worked, I doubt it will against some of our upcoming opponents. This week we were better at shutting down their offense and getting out of our own end as opposed to being under firing squad for 15 minutes.
Some more pointed observations:
BvR fit well into Vela's open spot on the powerplay (in front of the net), he has a pretty good stat line going so far and could be one of the key players in the teams fortunes going forward. Looking for some better defensive and neutral zone coverage from him though.
Grasso filled Vela's open PK spot, saying to me that the shoulder situation is not worrying the coaching staff anymore. Putting 2 A's on the score sheet is nice for him as well.
Nothing else specific stood out from this one. Based on reading the other HE threads we are one of the few teams without concerns about our netminder (happy to not be having that discussion). Better Defense, enough scoring to get you by, basically all the things that will win you games. The next three games will really tell the story though, if I'm being honest with myself I put our record at 1-1-1 in those three games. I will gladly take a better result but I would not be disappointed in that. We shall see what happens.
I will be giving out some first quarter grades after this weekend, see if I can compete with Chuck for post length there. Don't worry guys, nobody has a failing grade right now. Don't blow it in the last weekend!
Last edited by deltabravo62; 11-06-2017 at 03:32 AM.
Would be nice to get both Vela/Eisey back for the weekend...
Let's Go SouzaCats!
OK, folks ... this is admittedly going to be a condensed version of the March (f/k/a the Quest), as yours truly and Ms. WIS will be heading out on vacation by the time the 'Cats take to the ice this coming weekend. Your 2017/2018 UNH Wildcats responded this past weekend in a "better win" scenario against perennial conference speed bumps UMass Amherst, and now the boys enter their first really extended test on their schedule, as we've all been discussing for some time now. We'll all know better soon about the outlook for postseason possibilities during Coach Umile's swan song season. So here goes the "Let's Show the HEA World What It Really Means to be Champions of December" edition of "Umile's Last Stand - The _____ for 600".
"Umile's Last Stand - The March to 600"
Coach Umile's current career wins total: 592
Wins Remaining to NRN (Next Round Number): 8
Games Remaining (plus 2 min. MBPBEGAM games): 28
Win Pct. Required to Hit Target: 28.6%
WIS Estimated Likelihood of Success: 85%
2017/2018 Cupcake Conversion Ratio (CCR): 4/6 (66.7%)
Even if last weekend's W came at the expense of
a doormatThe Flagship UMass Amherst program, it does keep the early season momentum intact, and the shutout can't hurt the team's confidence as they approach a stretch of games against teams that have been the traditional league powers in recent years. And at 6-1-1, not only does a Top 10 ranking seem imminent at this point ... it's also worth pointing out that UNH hasn't lost a game in regulation to date, and are a late regulation PP goal and a monumental OT goof by what has arguably been the best D-man in HE to date this season from being close to - if not outright - perfect. To say the boys are channeling their iconic boss' "Champions of December" pedigree to suitably honor him on his way out the door would be an understatement. For those of us who've seen this movie before ... heck, even I miss the prematurely giddy build-up to the inevitable late season crash, and am willing to go through it one final time as a nod to UNH's all-time winningest coach. Better to live in hope (even if ultimately futile) than to be hopeless.
Looking at the big picture ... WIS' panel of experts projected in the preseason that Coach Umile's Wildcats would amass at least 10 wins in the opening 19 game stretch of the season through completion of the Ledyard Bank Classic after the break and before we turn the calendar into 2018. The 'Cats will remain two games ahead of WIS projections with last weekend's road win, and it's frankly hard to see UNH going through even this challenging-looking stretch of games without adding to the W column. Famous last words maybe, but here goes ...
Friday: @ UNH 3 UMass Lowell 3
Saturday: UNH 5 @ BU 3
Next Friday: @ UNH 4 CHCC 2
NEXT CUPCAKE ON THE SHELF: 12/6/17 @ RPI
COMMESSO RE-COMMIT WATCH: Blue-chip former UNH commit G Drew Commesso is reportedly reconsidering his decommit, and was most recently spotted by WIS operatives outside the local Roche Brothers supermarket, waiting for a ride home from his mom after a long afternoon bagging groceries. "Shoppers" suspiciously resembling David Quinn, Nate Leaman and Mike Ayers were all spotted taking their grocery carts young Drew's line, and were observed to have left their change on the conveyor belt to trickle down to the super stud goalie, who was still distracted while popping his zits. Always the wanna-be and last to the party, UConn head coach Luce Canaan also was reportedly seen in the vicinity, but was immediately mistaken by Roche Brothers' staff for the assistant deli manager, and pressed into duty accordingly. Meanwhile, Dynamite Mike Souza is monitoring the situation, and is weighing whether to forgive the young and impressionable (barely) teen goalie when he inevitably stops his never ending battle with acne (and creepy recruiters from the Nutmeg State), and gets up the courage to put down his
tubetub of Proactiv, and beg on his hands and knees for his UNH full ride back.
WIS INITIATIVE - "WATCH THE FACTS" - COMING SOON!!
WIS operatives have been out and about in the world of college hockey, in search of the truth amidst false narratives and hidden agendas at the highest levels, on and off the ice. The first target of our Watch The Facts hit squad will be the monolith along the shores of scenic Lake Quannapowitt, where the forces of political correctness have taken ahold. Watch this space for the incredible disclosures as they unfold.
GO UNH - GOT TO GET THE GOODBYE TOUR TO THE GAHDEN!!!
Sworn Enemy of the Perpetually Offended
Montreal Expos Forever ...
A lot of us here during the off season lamented our concerns that there would not be an open competition for netminder, goal keeper, whatever we call DT's position. What say we now?
Trivia Question: How many goalies have pitched more shut outs than DT in this early season?
The job of keeping pucks out of the net is getting done - however, the real stars of the process are Marks, Gildon, Wyse and Maass who have been excellent (with the exception of the UVM game) at retrieving pucks and clearing the zone. That is not something UNH defenders have been able to do in recent seasons.
I also think we will see, come later in the season, that this early season run by UNH will have come (with the exception of UML) against a few of the least productive/dangerous offenses in college hockey.
I'm not sure the early returns would be much different with any of the three goalies. In its four best games, UNH is allowing less than one GPG. In the remaining four, opponents are scoring nearly 3 GPG. Their success depends entirely on how they play in front of DT.
Unlike some, I do not think he has stolen many saves or games. He has been steady. He has been good enough.
However, massive kudos for him for not losing games, giving the team a chance every night thus far, for nearly eliminating all soft goals against (a couple in the win over CC not-withstanding) and exhibiting noticeably improved mental toughness (which is something he has said he worked on this off-season) in his ability to bounce back from goals against and ending the practice of giving goal for momentum away immediately. He has earned the right to continue playing big minutes in the weeks to come. I would rather they hashed it out in competition, but the result is the same - the goalie in the crease is playing well.
PT for Robinson is imperative, at some point, to help develop him moving forward and plan on a goalie for next season and beyond. So I hope they will coach deeper Umile's last stand and get the kid in there for a game or two soon...
Last edited by Dan; 11-06-2017 at 12:55 PM.
Good points Dan....I'd like to see what Robinson can do. (And no slam on DT I think he's doing great at the moment, but it would be nice to give Robinson/Clarky some playing time.) As far as a rotation? Not sure I'm behind that fwiw dept.
Hey...we're in the top ten for the first time since 2012-13 season!
Last edited by HockeyRef; 11-06-2017 at 01:14 PM.
Agreed with most all of your assessment Dan, The difference to me is that he is getting to the puck, seeing it better, and controlling rebounds at a much higher level than last year. By your statement I do not think we are in disagreement on this. I also agree with the fact that the defensive improvement has really done a lot to take care of him and that both of these will see more of a test as time goes on.
Remembering that Umile is still the captain of this ship, I only see two games on the schedule that would possibly see Robinson get a shot at playing, those would be the "now post Thanksgiving ECAC clunker" at RPI and the next Saturday against Army. I'm with you that he should see some action and that Tirone would do well with a couple of games off. I don't even know that we will see Robinson for either of those games, but I think we all would like to. The third and in my mind very distant possibility is Yale in the Ledyard Classic.
Unfortunately, I think you're right - they are all in on winning for Umile and the future is secondary. However, they need to find out if Robinson is capable of being the guy next year (since they clearly don't believe in Clark).
If he plays a handful of games and shows well than they can feel comfortable heading into next season with Robinson/Clark. And finding out soon is key, because if he struggles they may need to, at least, add another G to the mix (if not search for a starter). They may need to anyway if Clark doesn't plan to return...
I think at Yale would be a good opportunity to see Robinson. RPI might be the biggest cupcake on the schedule. Army, Brown and the Ledyard tournament certainly present chances. Though, watch out for an Army team that just dominated a very good AF team in the Springs this weekend...
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