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Thread: UNH Hockey: Treading Water or Trending Upward

  1. #261
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    Re: UNH Hockey: Treading Water or Trending Upward

    I'd be very much surprised if UNH added another goalie for next season, outside of a non-scholarship netminder to fill Lazzaro's role. Robinson's bump in the road notwithstanding, I'd imagine they still view him as very capable of being a #1 and Taylor as a goalie with a lot of potential. The next scholarship goaltender is probably coming in the fall of 2022 to replace Robinson when he graduates.

    It would be one thing if the team was a goalie away from being extremely competitive, but they remain a team with room for improvement all over the line-up. And even moreso after this season when they'll need to replace their top two defensemen and Blackburn (at least). I'd rather see any available scholarship money given to recruits who could make an immediate impact as skaters (specifically goal scoring!) than used to force existing scholarship dollars to the bench anyway...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan View Post
    I'd be very much surprised if UNH added another goalie for next season, outside of a non-scholarship netminder to fill Lazzaro's role. Robinson's bump in the road notwithstanding, I'd imagine they still view him as very capable of being a #1 and Taylor as a goalie with a lot of potential. The next scholarship goaltender is probably coming in the fall of 2022 to replace Robinson when he graduates.

    It would be one thing if the team was a goalie away from being extremely competitive, but they remain a team with room for improvement all over the line-up. And even moreso after this season when they'll need to replace their top two defensemen and Blackburn (at least). I'd rather see any available scholarship money given to recruits who could make an immediate impact as skaters (specifically goal scoring!) than used to force existing scholarship dollars to the bench anyway...
    Agree entirely; cannot have three full schollie goaltenders on team the same year. Will need to get by with what they have, for better or for worse. Also, I am thinking that a couple of the junior d-men will be back for their senior season.

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    Re: UNH Hockey: Treading Water or Trending Upward

    Quote Originally Posted by Snively65 View Post
    Vlae and Brown = EZAC cupcakes. Even Bentley beat Brown, 1-0, eatlier this season. Oh, wait .....
    Ok already! We know we lost to Bentley..... Go 'Cats! Beat the team that lost to Bentley please....
    Let's Go SouzaCats!

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    Quote Originally Posted by HockeyRef View Post
    Ok already! We know we lost to Bentley..... Go 'Cats! Beat the team that lost to Bentley please....
    And, Army. AHA teams tough. EZAC teams not so much. Need to go 4-0 this season against EZAC teams.

  5. #265
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    Re: UNH Hockey: Treading Water or Trending Upward

    Quote Originally Posted by Snively65 View Post
    Agree entirely; cannot have three full schollie goaltenders on team the same year. Will need to get by with what they have, for better or for worse. Also, I am thinking that a couple of the junior d-men will be back for their senior season.
    I like your optimism on the last part, Snively65 - presumably you're holding out hope that both Gildon and Maass will be 4 year players at UNH, and the only loss we'll see from this year's D group is Wyse. Some of the younger blueliners are making bits of progress out there this year. Another year of Gildon would be a pleasant surprise Ö but even me being the eternal optimist, I'm guessing that won't happen. It would be nice if the team's growing on-ice success gave him more of a reason to stick around, though, as another .500 season that stops short of Boston probably isn't going to give him a lot of optimism to counter pressures he'll be feeling "time's a wasting" to get his pro career underway. I suspect we'll have to be content with Maass only next season.

    Although I completely understand the cons against carrying 3 full scholarship goalies Ö if your first two goalies aren't playing like full scholarship top dog goalies, then I'm not sure you can afford to bypass the potential availability of another top notch goalie if the performance levels of both Robinson and Taylor do not improve. With Robinson, we at least have seen him playing at a level last season of a solid-if-unspectacular D-1 starting goalie, and can probably expect his performance in the second half this season should see his numbers bouncing back to at least .910 (he'll have to finish above .930 over the rest of the season to get him up to his .915 number from last season). Dan's point - which I interpret as Robinson pretty much matching the decent-but-not-great talent level surrounding him right now - is a fair one. If it gets UNH to a middle-of-the-pack HE finish around or (hopefully) over .500, and/or making some postseason progress, maybe that is the realistic ceiling for what we can expect this season. But Ö

    Ö as of right now, Taylor is a year-and-a-half into his UNH career, and I think it's fair to say that he has not lived up to projections YET. I think we need to get some additional insight into what he can do, or perhaps most importantly, what he can't do. And I'm a little concerned that we don't have anyone apparently lined up for after Taylor. You look at 'Watcher's incoming recruiting charts, and those slots for the skating positions are lined up (provisionally) for years to come. We've known for well over a year now, possibly close to two years, that Commesso isn't coming. What's been done since to get the next prospect(s) in line post-Taylor?

    Worst-case scenario Ö what if Robinson's performance doesn't rebound over the next 3 months? Or, what if Robinson gets injured down the stretch, or decides to turn pro after this season (he was drafted)? And Taylor is the only guy left, and we find out he's not up to the job? Where is the "next Danny Tirone" - not necessarily ability-wise, but someone waiting in line who can quickly accelerate and jump in midway into a season, if Taylor never becomes anything other than the "next Adam Clark"?

    And perhaps most importantly, what does that do to the UNH program in the long run? MS7 can point to some progress last year, and hopefully he can do the same after this season too. But if things go wrong, and there is no Plan B (or Plan C) to cope with a deficiency in a key position like goalie Ö it's not a stretch to see UNH falling out of the playoff slots (again), and then by the time you finish playing the "slow game", you're four (4) years into the MS7 era (or 7 years if counting his prominence with recruiting), and what do you have to show for it?

    That's a scary scenario. I'm not sure it's all that unrealistic. It's why we need answers on Taylor, and soon.

    Beggars can't be choosers. Ideally, I understand why you don't want three scholarships committed to goalie. But I don't think we can afford to dismiss a top prospect in the position coming early, just to get him in here. We've seen UNH make that mistake a few too many times elsewhere, and we have to learn from that. And if it forces a kid like Taylor to either step up his game, or to return to Canada, or seek a transfer in the US, so be it. If the choice boils down to (finally) bringing in a top-notch goalie capable of taking the program up a level or two Ö OR just making do with a guy who's not up to the job, and could keep UNH in rebuild mode for the foreseeable future Ö IMO it's not really a difficult choice.
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  6. #266
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snively65 View Post
    And, Army. AHA teams tough. EZAC teams not so much. Need to go 4-0 this season against EZAC teams.
    Yep Army too...HR's prediction for the weekend:

    UnH 3 Yale 1
    UNH 4 Brown 2

    Go 'Cats!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by HockeyRef View Post
    Yep Army too...HR's prediction for the weekend:

    UnH 3 Yale 1
    UNH 4 Brown 2

    Go 'Cats!!
    I'm rapidly losing interest in this season. Two wins this weekend would go a long way in restoring my faith. Hope you're right!

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    Re: UNH Hockey: Treading Water or Trending Upward

    Quote Originally Posted by e.cat View Post
    I'm rapidly losing interest in this season. Two wins this weekend would go a long way in restoring my faith. Hope you're right!
    Me too. Interested, yes. Losing faith Ö not so much as losing some of my early optimism.

    Part of that might be what happened two years ago around this time, when the bottom finally fell out. Another bad weekend like that one could dredge up some not-so-old but plenty painful memories. Hopefully the poor performance at Army will provide MS7 the ammunition he needed this past week to get the team's attention and focus back onto playing team-first winning hockey.

    Late change of plans might allow me to catch tonight's game in person, which would be nice.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Murray View Post
    Me too. Interested, yes. Losing faith Ö not so much as losing some of my early optimism.

    Part of that might be what happened two years ago around this time, when the bottom finally fell out. Another bad weekend like that one could dredge up some not-so-old but plenty painful memories. Hopefully the poor performance at Army will provide MS7 the ammunition he needed this past week to get the team's attention and focus back onto playing team-first winning hockey.

    Late change of plans might allow me to catch tonight's game in person, which would be nice.
    I'll be watching on NESN. Last time I saw a UNH/Yale game at the Whit, Yale took it to 'em. My friend from Conn. with me was pleasantly surprised!
    Hope the "I Believe in UNH" banner doesn't get stomped on tonight!

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    Re: UNH Hockey: Treading Water or Trending Upward

    Good news! Both Kelleher and Pierson will be in the lineup for both games this weekend.

    https://unhwildcats.com/news/2020/1/...x?path=mhockey
    UNH

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    Quote Originally Posted by e.cat View Post
    I'm rapidly losing interest in this season. Two wins this weekend would go a long way in restoring my faith. Hope you're right!
    Iím with ya. I see them getting 3 points this weekend. Letís face facts. This is roughly a .500 team. They have an 8-8-1 record with the 40th SOS to date. Their 2nd half schedule is much tougher playing 9 games against ranked opponents in their final 17. Unfortunately, I think they will go 6-9-2 for the rest of the regular season ending with a record of 14-17-3 for the regular season. I hope Iím wrong.
    Last edited by scoreboard; 01-03-2020 at 05:09 PM.

  12. #272
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    Quote Originally Posted by scoreboard View Post
    Iím with ya. I see them getting 3 points this weekend. Letís face facts. This is roughly a .500 team. They have an 8-8-1 record with the 40th SOS to date. Their 2nd half schedule is much tougher playing 9 games against ranked opponents in their final 17. Unfortunately, I think they will go 6-9-2 for the rest of the regular season ending with a record of 14-17-3 for the regular season. I hope Iím wrong.
    Sounds about right scoreboard. I was hoping for better results but as you say the second half schedule does not appear to bode well for the cats!

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    Its awesome having both JP and ChKel on the ice. Ty has stood up well early on. Lots of good offense by both with Yale enjoying a slight advantage. Welp off to the PP go 'Cats!

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    A yale laser gets past Taylor on the PK 2-1 UNH

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    Re: UNH Hockey: Treading Water or Trending Upward

    Just be happy ......... that we no longer play the NICC chrome domes two times each year. I am flipping channels among UNH-Vlae, NICC-WMich, and C's-Hawks games.

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    Re: UNH Hockey: Treading Water or Trending Upward

    3 goals in 3 games for Filip!! 3-1

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    Quote Originally Posted by HockeyRef View Post
    3 goals in 3 games for Filip!! 3-1
    Nice 4-1 win for our Cats tonight!

    And, Taylor is rolling in net!! 4-0-0 on season, IIANM?
    Last edited by Snively65; 01-03-2020 at 09:24 PM.

  18. #278
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snively65 View Post
    Nice 4-1 win for our Cats tonight!

    And, Taylor is rolling in net!! 4-0-0 on season, IIANM?
    Thought he played very well deserves the start tomorrow v Brown. Go 'Cats!

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    Re: UNH Hockey: Treading Water or Trending Upward

    Quote Originally Posted by e.cat View Post
    I'll be watching on NESN. Last time I saw a UNH/Yale game at the Whit, Yale took it to 'em. My friend from Conn. with me was pleasantly surprised!
    Hope the "I Believe in UNH" banner doesn't get stomped on tonight!
    If you went last year the 'Cats were down 0-4 and came back to tie it? But yeah we got beat 4-2 at home in '17/18 (DU's last season at the helm). I think most here who watched the game last night would agree that we were fortunate esp in the first two periods being hemmed in our zone for long periods of time. But like MS7 said in his presser, the 3rd was a much better period for the 'Cats and TT stood up big when he had to. That said, Yale is fast and honestly could've gone either way but I liked the way the 'Cats took control of the game and put it out of reach. I do not have illusions (or delusions???) about this team, but happy to see some goals. Now, put up on that PP please? And, hitting those big teams coming up our PK has to be better. Very honest reflections about his team here in this Manchester Union spot:

    https://www.unionleader.com/sports/c...2cdb9f48e.html

    Go 'Cats!!

    Ps. Great to see Filip Engaras continue to put up points (nice 2 on 1 with Sato) and Eric Esposito has a decent game scoring his first.
    Last edited by HockeyRef; 01-04-2020 at 09:18 AM.
    Let's Go SouzaCats!

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    Re: UNH Hockey: Treading Water or Trending Upward

    Made it to the arena last night, ran into HR between periods briefly, and had a near-miss with deltabravo. Also stumbled myself unwittingly into "Dollar Hot Dog Night", which could have been lethal had it not been so close after New Year's and its resolutions (limited myself to a modest 2 dog haul). And capped things off with an improbable encounter with one of my fellow coaches on a rare mutual weekend night away from the pitch. He showed some impressive prognostication skills by predicting the first 3 UNH goal scorers, in order, before missing on the fourth (ENG) goal, opting for Kelleher instead of Grasso. Luke has provided me with tonight's lottery numbers, so this will hopefully be my last post as an active member of the working class, and starting next week I'll be even more available than usual to pontificate ad nauseum on here. Oh, and maybe even go surfing with Tulsi Gabbard.

    Anyway, putting aside the usual silliness Ö it was nice to see MS7 giving Taylor his latest shot in goal, and I think it's fair to say that this time, young TT rose to the occasion, facing more shots in quantity, and probably by an even wider gap in quality, than his opposite number at the other end of the ice. I don't think it's an overstatement to say that UNH's defense stayed in the locker room for at least the first 5 minutes of last night's game, as there were about 3-4 clear chances with attacking Yale forwards left one-on-one with the UNH soph, but none of those Yale guys were able to capitalize - and it seemed like Taylor's confidence grew from there. He was deprived of a shutout in the second period during a PK when one of his teammates lost his stick, turning a 5 v. 4 effectively into a 5 v. 3. Lots of stick-sharing ensued, but they never quite caught up before the red light beat them to it.

    This was the first time I've seen Taylor play in person, and the only thing that jumped out at me early - other than him making all the stops on the early clear-cut chances - was his apparent hesitance to handle the puck. He gradually started to handle things a little bit behind his net later in the game, and on one or two occasions he almost got himself into hot water. But otherwise, his approach to handling even routine stuff was akin to the puck being a hot potato. Definitely something I'm sure the staff is aware of, and perhaps a reason why we've seen so little of him up to this point. But he handled himself well with basic positioning, took care of the rest, and didn't seem as prone to leaving fat rebounds out there as his opposite number was. I'd be disappointed if MS7 didn't seize upon the opportunity to give him a second straight start tonight against Brown. He earned it last night.

    The game played out as another example of the "first goal principal" I've always advocated, and you couldn't have hoped to get off to a better start than with the opening goal, which looked like it came off a diagrammed play - clean face-off win, dot-to-dot back on defense, pop the puck up to the center, still in the circle, and a quick one-touch pass to the right wing coming through the neutral zone with speed, skating past the opposing D, and finishing nicely at the crease. 9 seconds flat. If that wasn't a set play, I'm Santa Claus. The coaches could take some pride, I'm sure set plays are in place for lots of situational hockey, but I can't ever remember one working so cleanly from the opening faceoff. Then there was a Yale penalty within 2 seconds of the next face-off. Had UNH not reciprocated a minute later, and the defense not taken a 5 minute siesta around that time, it would've been perfect.

    Yale was not a very talented offensive team, but they were not afraid to play a physical game, and I thought it put UNH back on its heels well into the game, even as Yale was chasing the game for (quite literally) 60 minutes. I guess it always amazes me when one of these Ivy ECAC teams comes in and batters a UNH team physically. UNH seemed more willing to push back later in the game, and there were some final buzzer skirmishes that almost broke out. As always, I'd like to see UNH play a tougher game.

    Impressions of the UNH defense Ö Gildon has played better, and at times he looked bored, while at other times he took chances with the puck in his own end that almost blew up in his face. He and Wyse do seem to regularly tilt the ice in UNH's favor when they're out there, and you can't say the same about the second two pairings (MacKinnon/Verrier or Maass/Eriksson). I'd like to think there's still a chance Gildon returns next season, but my gut feeling after watching him extensively last night (which at least this time lines up with the conventional wisdom) is that he's gone after March. He has huge talent, and if harnessed properly in the future at the next level, he could be a legit first pairing guy in The Show. If someone doesn't get into his head, though, he might never see a day above the AHL. It's almost as if he's a left-hand shot version of UNH's Blake Kessel from a decade ago.

    Up at the other end Ö Blackburn stands out as another talented kid who (for whatever reason) really is only scratching at the surface of his talent and potential. There were a few times last night when he made some tricky plays look incredibly easy Ö but then it would be another 10 minutes before you noticed him again. Unless he goes on a late run down the stretch, I think he's just the latest kid who is going to leave after four years, with all of us wondering how such a talented player never really broke out and showed us what he had. He'll sign an ECHL contract in March, and it's up to him if he takes it from there to the AHL or to Europe. Should be the former - with a potential 3rd line NHL upside if he defends better and more physically - but with him, it's hard to tell.

    Score four goals, and you should win. UNH has now done that twice since the break, and split those games. I thought overall UNH was outplayed for the first two periods, but looked better in finishing the game in the 3rd period. They need to take that into the Brown game tonight, post another W, and then get ready for the onslaught of the remainder of the HE regular season. It would be an added bonus if Taylor got another start (and another W) after last night, and begin to answer some of the questions I've raised about UNH's outlook for the goalie position over the next couple of seasons.

    A .500 or better record, and a mid-March tourney trip to Boston, that's all I ask.
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