Let's face it. It's an hour before kickoff. You're probably not going to read this. But if anyone happens to subscribe to the YostBuilt twitter feed and happens to notice that I posted during a TV timeout or something, here's a quick and dirty UNH preview.
They're 1-1-0 on the season, having split a pair of 6-3 decisions at Miami last weekend. You have to give them credit for starting off the season with a pair of games against hockey's version of the early-60s Celtics and then following it up with a game against the Wolverines.
They had 9 different players score goals last weekend. Senior Phil DeSimone led the way with 3 points. Junior defenseman Blake Kessel (yes, that Kessel) is another one to watch. He is the nation's top returning scorer amongst defensemen and had a pair of assists last weekend. He should be a strong contender for the Hobey this year.
Their goaltender is junior Matt DiGirolamo, who takes over from Brian Foster between the pipes. He gave up 8 goals on 79 shots against Miami, but made 36 saves in their win on Saturday night. Even though he is a junior, he's very inexperienced, having only played 8 games prior to this season. His career numbers are now 3-3-1 with a 4.17/.872. His lone decision last year was a win over Providence where he made 32 saves on 35 shots. As a freshman, he tied Northeastern and then got lit up in a big way against BC and UMass-Lowell (7 goals on 36 shots, and 8 goals on 35 shots).
Last year the Wildcats had the #10 offense in the country, just a tick ahead of Michigan. Their defense was #36, giving up 3.13 goals per game. Paul Thompson is their leading returning scorer. He had a 19-20--39 line last year. Kessel ended up with 38 points from back on the blueline. DeSimone just missed a point per game, with 37 points in 39 games.
Laptop battery is about to die, so the quick upshot: UNH should be a good team, per usual, and having gone on the road and beaten Miami shows that. It'll be a tough game, but I fully expect an entertaining, high-scoring contest, since it doesn't seem like they played much defense last year, and their goalie doesn't appear to be very good (albeit in limited action).
What could be the deciding factor? New Hampshire was the least penalized team in all of college hockey last year, and the only team to average fewer than ten penalty minutes a game (9.6). We're averaging 31 minutes per game this year (granted a lot of that are misconducts associated with being ejected for hits from behind). Stay out of the box!