Hockey East Preview: New Hampshire Wildcats
New Hampshire had a disappointing 2011-12 season. Here, we examine the Wildcats outlook for 2012-13 in our fourth Hockey East preview.
Last Season: 15-19-3 (11-14-2). Finished 6th in Hockey East, lost in Quarterfinal to Boston University.
What Happened: The 2011-2012 season was one to forget for the Wildcats. After a 2010 season that ended with a trip to the NCAA Northeast regional final, UNH surprised everyone in Hockey East with one of its worst seasons in recent memory. The Wildcats began their woeful season with a series of blowout losses and did not see their first win of the season until the end of October, an overtime win over Union. The young New Hampshire squad struggled all season long to put all three phases of their game together, and didn’t really excel in any particular part of the game. The primary focus of much of the early criticism was the poor goaltending from senior netminder Matt Di Girolamo, who would make way for the younger Casey DeSmith in the second half. The traditionally up-tempo, offensive play of the Wildcats was never able to accumulate the goal scoring numbers it required to make up for the consistently dreadful play on the other end of the ice. UNH still made things interesting in the quarterfinals however, playing three close games against Boston University before eventually losing in a game three, double overtime thriller.
- Stevie Moses (F) – As a captain and senior, Moses was the focal point of UNH’s high-scoring trio comprised of himself and sophomores Nick Sorkin and Kevin Goumas. Moses tied for the team lead in points with 35 and was far and away the team’s leading goal scorer, finishing the season top three in Hockey East with 22 goals. New Hampshire will need to find a way to replace the goal scoring power Moses provided last year if they have any hope of being a contender in the highly competitive Hockey East.
- Kevin Goumas (F) – Goumas is definitely one reason for Wildcat fans to get excited about the future of their program. The sophomore forward finished the season among the top three scorers on the team with 34 points. Goumas’ playmaking ability was on display all year long as he racked up a whopping 25 assists, and he was an essential part of the success of New Hampshire’s offense last season. With the loss of their top goal scorer in Moses, the Wildcats are going to need Goumas to turn some of those assists into goals.
- Nick Sorkin (F) – The second half of the sophomore duo that carried the Wildcats last year was Nick Sorkin. Unlike Goumas, Sorkin’s emergence was much more of a surprise. The young forward took a giant leap forward in his sophomore season, increasing his point total from five his first year to 35 points in just his second run with the team. The emergence of Sorkin is huge for UNH, as the Wildcats desperately needed another young player to step up and contribute. He will be expected to do just that in the upcoming season, but just like Goumas, he must begin to translate his offensive skill set into goals.
- Trevor van Riemsdyk (D) – He came into his freshman season with much anticipation, and Trever van Riemsdyk didn’t disappoint. The first year blue liner had his share of struggles as any freshman does, but he steadily found his stride as the season progressed. As a freshman, Trevor led all UNH blue-liners in points, and proved his worth as a true defensemen, tying for first on the team in the +/- column with a +7 to close out the season.
The Outlook: UNH looks to be in good shape heading into 2012-2013 season, as the squad is only losing one real key contributor from last year’s team in Stevie Moses. Goumas, deSmith and van Riemsdyk will all be expected to continuing improving with another season under their belts. If they do and UNH can have a more balanced attack, the Wildcats certainly have a chance to bounce back from a lackluster 2011-12 and reestablish themselves at the top of the Hockey East standings.
- Jack Thaler