Thursday, November 16, 2017

UNH-Boston College Preview With BC Interruption

BC Interruption, the independent blog covering Boston College sports, previews every game for both the men's and women's hockey teams. One of their features is a Question & Answer segment with bloggers who cover the team BC is about to face.

Earlier this week, Peter Caliguri from BC Interruption interviewed me for the article "Men’s Hockey Preview: Q&A with UNH Men’s Hockey Blog". His questions were insightful and fun to answer. The final one asked for my prediction for Friday's game at the Whittemore Center. I'm thinking 4-4 in a wide-open game with very good goaltending.

Next Guy Up

UNH entered last weekend's contests against UMass-Lowell and Boston University ranked #9 in the Division I National Poll. The Wildcats were undefeated in Hockey East (3-0-1) and 6-0-1 overall. However, the UNH team that skated onto the Whittemore Center ice on Friday against UMass-Lowell was without a few key forwards. Second line left winger Shane Eiserman (lower body injury) and center Marcus Vela (appendicitis/appendectomy) and first line right winger Charlie Kelleher (upper body injury) were out of the lineup. Third line left winger Brendan van Riemsdyk left the game midway through the first period with an upper body injury.

In a tightly contested match, Lowell scored the game-winning, second goal with less than 4 minutes remaining in the third period. Here are links to the video highlights and postgame press conference courtesy of UNH Wildcats Productions. Head Coach Dick Umile offered this analysis:
"We had a chance to win it. Injuries or no injuries, you can’t feel sorry and you’ve got to find ways to pull it out. The guys are competing and have that next-guy-up kind of attitude. Overall, the guys did a good job. I’m not disappointed in their effort, just disappointed in the outcome."
The energetic play of the fourth line - Frankie Cefalu (center), Kohei Sato (left wing), and Joe Sacco (right wing) - represents the best of the "next-guy-up" attitude. They generated 4 of UNH's 20 shots on goal against UMass-Lowell. These video highlights show the shots, tenacious forechecking, play-making, and defensive zone play of Cefalu-Sato-Sacco:

On Saturday night at Boston University's Agganis Arena, forwards Kelleher, Eiserman, Vela and van Riemsdyk were out of the lineup again. Cefalu and Sato moved up to UNH's third line with Eric MacAdams at right wing. The final clip in the highlights shows them generating one of the best scoring opportunities against BU. Although the overall shots on goal were relatively even (UNH 29, BU 31), the Terriers handily defeated the Wildcats 4-0.

In the weekly press conference on Wednesday, Coach Umile said Charlie Kelleher and Marcus Vela will likely be back in the lineup on Friday against BC. BvR's playing status for Friday was uncertain but possible. Shane Eiserman is still injured but may start skating next week. Joe Sacco aggravated an injury which kept him out of the lineup earlier this season.


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