Sunday, January 23, 2011

Thoughts on the Current State of UNH Hockey

We're back! It's officially dorm-reopening day for the "spring" semester here at UNH. I've been on campus since Thursday night settling back into the old college lifestyle. (Reason #928 I love college: shower beers.) Apart from catching up with a few friends I haven't been up to much other then attending the two hockey games Friday and Saturday night. I just want to share some of my reactions of the current status of the team.

First, Referee Chris Federico has made his case to over take Scott Hanson as the worst ref in Hockey East. Last night his phantom hooking call on Phil DeSimone led to a BU power play goal and he also managed to physically get in the way of players and disrupt play several times (including once a UNH power play that cost the Wildcats about 15 seconds of power play time to avoid an offsides call).

Anyways, time for some number crunching analysis...

The hash tag "#TNHpicks" on Twitter was started a few weeks ago by The New Hampshire student paper Twitter account. Every game day TNH encourages followers to tweet their score prediction for that day's hockey game. This began on December 10th when UNH played at Maine. (A 4-3 OT victory that led me to hug and/or high-5 many people I do and do not know.) Anyways, UNH was ranked 3rd in the country and their record was 9-2-4 when #TNHpicks started, but the team is just 4-3 since then and now ranked  8th. I'm not blaming "#TNHpicks" for the team's recent slip, just pointing out a recent trend.

If you don't buy the #TNHpick theory, here is another "trend." At the time of the Holiday break the team was 10-2-4 and they are just 3-3 since with loses to St. Lawrence and Dartmouth. There is an idea around that the UNH hockey team is prone to late season collapses. Over the past three years (not counting this season, but including playoffs) UNH hockey has an overall record of 63-37-15. In games played before Christmas break they are 25-16-7 and in games after break they are 38-21-8. Over the past three seasons they actually have a better winning percentage after break, so it isn't a post-holiday break collapse.

The last 10 games (counting the playoffs) is the problem. UNH's record over the last 10 games of the last three seasons in 15-11-4. Not terrible, but they only won 15 out of the 30 games. In single elimination that doesn't work. 

In the past three years UNH is just 3-5 in the Hockey East playoffs, despite being the number one seed twice, and the 3rd seed once. In the National Tournament the team is 2-3 in the past three years. Including a 7-3 loss as a number one seed in the opening round to a 4 seed Notre Dame. The last two seasons the team won their first round game, only to lose in the second round. In those three seasons they have been knocked out by a #4 seed twice. Notre Dame three years ago and RIT last year. 

UNH is currently 13-5-4. Their pre-break record of 10-2-4 was better then any of the three previous seasons. This year's team is deep, they can score, defend and have a solid goalie, but they seem to have a hard time putting that all three together for three periods. This year's team has played to the competition level of their opponents. Losing games they should have won and allowing weaker teams to stick around late into games is not good for a team that seeks a deep playoff run. Despite their recent slip, I am still optimistic about this team. They have the potential to make a run this year, and these next two months or so could be quite the ride for UNH hockey fans.

This brings me to my final point. Last night the Whit was pretty full despite most of the student body not being on campus. With a few minutes left in a 2-1 game there was a massive exodus for the doors. Where is your faith for the team and respect for the players? The same thing happened the previous night against Providence and that was a tie game. Also,  large parts of the student section sat down during the game and that is down right unacceptable. It's one thing if the student section has 20 people because of break, but if that section is even 50% full, everyone there better stand up. Let me end with this: you would never see students at Maine sit down during a game or leave early during a tie or one-goal difference. That hurt for me to say, but it is true and necessary. UNH students and fans need to step it up.

Strap on your seat belts, pack that Whit and let the team know we believe in them.

Stay classy, not UMassy.


  1. that game last night was an embarrassment, they couldn't connect smoothly with most of their passes and had way too many turnovers that easily could have been avoided...hopefully they can step in up in the next few weeks

    and i'm right there with you with the crowd, what the hell was the deal with that mass exodus of people with 3 minutes left? it was a freaking one goal game! we've tied games up with 0.1 seconds left before, so why you're leaving with 3 minutes left i have no idea

  2. For that DeSimone hooking call: the way Phil played defense made him easy to exploit for penalties. When the BU player felt DeSimone's stick on his skate, he fell and got the penalty called. Smart (and frustrating if you like UNH) play. I don't have any defense for the ref getting in the way of the play of game, though.

  3. First off, I think some of the mass exodus was due to groups with small children who had to leave. The game got out pretty late, especially for young children. Second, winter break games are notorious for being sit down only. The student section also doubles as general admission and some of those people cannot stand and don't come to the games to stand up for 2ish hours. My friends have been yelled out for standing at break games.