University of New Hampshire Wildcats
3 seed vs. North Dakota, Northeast Regional (Manchester, NH)
2:00 EDT, Saturday, March 28, ESPN2
Coach: Dick Umile (443-219-71)
|21||James van Riemsdyk||17-22-39|
The Wildcats have had a decidedly up and down year. They started well, winning non-conference matchups with Rensselaer and Minnesota, then beginning their Hockey East schedule with a big 3-1 win over BU, but they immediately entered a stretch of nine games with only one win, going 1-5-3. Things steadied from there on out, ending with a very respectable 15-8-4 conference record, only to be immediately swept by a down Boston College team 5-3, 1-0 in the first round of the Hockey East playoffs.
This year's Wildcats are living on a knife's edge. They average 3.03 goals a game, but give up 2.92. That's 21st in the country in offense and 34th in defense. Junior Brian Foster has taken over in goal following the departure of Hobey Baker finalist Kevin Regan and has performed pretty well. He has a solid .910 save percentage, giving up 2.45 goals on 27.22 shots. Not bad, not great. Freshman Matt DiGirolamo is the backup, with an ugly .833/4.66 number in 4 games of action. Sophomore James van Riemsdyk is far and away the offensive leader with a 17-22--39 line. Mike Sislo (18-10--28) is the team's leading goal-scorer, but doesn't come close to van Riemsdyk's assist numbers.
Power Outage. New Hampshire has been absolutely horrible on the power play, scoring on only 11.5% of their opportunities, which is good for 54th in the country. They've scored a mere 22 power play goals and given up 5 shorties, for a net 8.9% success rate. They've also had a rough go of it on the other end, languishing in 33rd on the penalty kill at 83.3%. Opponents have scored 31 power play goals and given up 7 shorthanded goals to the Wildcats, giving a net 86.9% success rate there.
Off the Bubble. There was a time when it was in doubt as to whether UNH would make the tournament and be able to take advantage of their role as host school in Manchester. They were #13 in the Pairwise as late as January 26, following a home-and-home sweep at the hands of BU. But they pulled themselves up, going 8-2-1 to close the regular season and assure themselves of a berth.