Hockey East Preview- University of New Hampshire Wildcats

BY: JOSH BROWN

Head Coach– Dick Umile (25th Season)

Last Season-22-18-1 (HE: 11-9-0) Lost in Hockey East Championship Game

Losses: F Dalton Speelman, F Jeff Silengo, F Nick Sorkin, F Kevin Goumas, D Eric Knodel, D Trevor van Riemsdyk, D Justin Agosta, G Jeff Wyer

Newcomers: F Warren Foegele, F Jason Salvaggio, F Michael McNicholas, F Shane Eiserman, D Dylan Chanter, D Cameron Marks, D Richard Boyd, F Andrew Poturalski, D John Furgele, G Adam Clark

Going into the Hockey East playoffs last season, the fourth seeded University of New Hampshire Wildcats knew they would need to win the whole thing to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. After narrowly sneaking by Northeastern in an epic 3-game series they shocked the conference dominating Providence College in a 3-1 victory at the TD Garden. Unfortunately for the Wildcats they fell one game short, falling to Umass-Lowell 4-0 in the championship game.

That wasn’t the only loss for New Hampshire on that cold March night. The team quickly came to the realization that they would be without star players Nick Sorkin, Kevin Goumas and Eric Knodel next season due to graduation. To make matters worse they would shortly thereafter lose defenseman Trevor Van Riemsdyk to the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Wildcats offense will take a step back with the loss of both Sorkin and Goumas, the two leading goal scorers on the 2013-2014 team. Seniors Matt Willows and Grayson Downing, who were also solid contributors last season, will be expected to step up and provide the offense and leadership that was lost in the off season.

Defensively New Hampshire took another big step back with the losses of Knodel, van Riemsdyk and Agosta. Brett Pesce will be the anchor of a very inexperienced Wildcats defense this season in what could be a frustrating year up in Durham

In what is devastating news for the Wildcats faithful, starting goalie Casey DeSmith was arrested on August 31st following an alleged domestic incident. DeSmith has been indefinitely suspended from the team and his status for the upcoming season is currently unknown DeSmith, who posted a .920 save percentage, only allowing 2.40 goals per game was very good for New Hampshire down the stretch run last season.

Bottom line: It will likely be a rebuilding year for New Hampshire this season. After loosing the core of their team from last season, Dick Umile will have the challenge of developing a young team, in the always tough Hockey East.