MEN'S HOCKEY OPENS 2008-09 WITH ST. FRANCIS XAVIER

LIVE AUDIOLIVE STATS | GAME NOTES
DURHAM, N.H. -- The seventh-ranked University of New Hampshire men's ice hockey team opens the 2008-09 season on Saturday night with an exhibition game against St. Francis Xavier. The Wildcats, who were picked third in the preseason Hockey East poll, are in search of their third-consecutive Hockey East regular season title. Puck drops at 7 p.m. at the Whittemore Center. The game will be broadcast on the UNH Sports Radio Network (UNHSN) with live audio and live stats at www.unhwildcats.com.

SCOUTING THE X-MEN: St. Francis Xavier travels south to play a pair of Hockey East opponents beginning with UNH on Saturday and concluding with UMass on Sunday afternoon. The X-Men are 3-1 in the preseason capturing the first three games of the season before their most recent set back a 6-4 loss to Acadia in the championship game of the Don Wells Classic last weekend.

CONKLIN, O’CONNOR INDUCTED INTO WILDCAT HALL OF FAME:
Ty Conklin ’01 and David O’Connor ’66 were recently inducted into the UNH Wildcat Hall of Fame.  Ty Conklin was one of the Wildcats’ most successful and recognized goalies while here in Durham and after in the NHL. As a result of his outstanding efforts he became UNH’s second two-time finalist (top 10) for the Hobey Baker Award in 2000 and 2001. The Hockey East Co-Player of the year in 1999-2000, he recorded a 2.51 goals against average and a .908 save percentage, but then topped that with five shutouts, a 2.05 GAA and a .920 save percentage the next year. O’Connor was named the recipient of the Leitzel Award, which is given to a person who has made key contributions to the lives of UNH student-athletes. O’Connor was an assistant coach for men’s hockey from 1976 until 1987 and he was the interim head coach of men’s hockey from 1987-88. He also served as a long-time assistant football coach for the Wildcats starting in 1972 and worked for 18 years under head coach Bill Bowes. O’Connor was also an outstanding player for the Wildcats in both sports, playing defensive back for the football team and defense on the Wildcat hockey team before he graduated from UNH in 1966.

CAPTAINS ANNOUNCED:
Greg Collins and Joe Charlebois were named the 102nd and 103rd captains in the history of UNH hockey for the 2008-09 season. The announcement was made on April 19 at the annual team awards banquet at the Whittemore Center. Collins was also the recipient of the Warren Brown Award for the second-straight season, given annually to the best defensive forward on UNH’s roster, and earned the Robert Kullen Award as the unsung hero of Wildcats in 07-08. Collins has tallied 11 points (4g, 7a) in 36 games this season for the ‘Cats, recorded a multiple-point night with a goal and an assist against North Dakota on Dec. 29. Charlebois was named Hockey East’s Best Defensive Defenseman. He registered a career-high nine points on a goal and eight assists in 38 games this season. Charlebois’ +26 plus/minus rating was tops on the team.

WILDCATS PICKED THIRD IN HOCKEY EAST POLL:
UNH was picked third in the Hockey East preseason Coaches’ Poll, which was announced on Monday afternoon at the league’s annual media day at Legends Restaurant at the TD Banknorth Garden. The Wildcats garnered 78 points in the poll and received one first-place vote, which was good enough for third place outdistancing fourth-place Northeasrtern by 16 points. UNH was just eight points behind defending National Champion Boston College (86) and two behind Boston University (80). The ‘Cats have captured back-to-back regular-season titles  by posting a combined 37-12-5 record in league play over the past two seasons, including a program-best 19 wins last season.
    
2008-09 Hockey East Men’s Preseason Coaches Poll
Rk.    Team (FPV)        Pts

1.    Boston College (6)        86
2.    Boston University (3)    80
3.    New Hampshire (1)    78
4.    Northeastern        62
5.    Vermont            58
6.    Massachusetts        48
7.    UMass-Lowell        46
8.    Providence            34
9.    Maine            28
10.    Merrimack            20

WHERE UNH IS RANKED IN HOCKEY EAST:
    HE games     Overall

Goals/per game     0.00    0.00
GAA     0.00    0.00
Power Play     0.0%    0.0%
Penalty Kill     0.0%    0.0%

THE NATIONAL POLLS:
USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine (Preseason Poll)
Rk.    Team    Pts.    (FPV)    PR    07-08

1    Boston College     490     (27)    1    25-11-8
2    Michigan    432     (4)    2    33-6-4
3    Notre Dame     376        3    27-16-4
4    North Dakota     371     (1)    4    28-11-4
5    Colorado College    355     (2)    8    28-12-1
6    Denver    299        9    26-14-1
7    New Hampshire    287        6    25-10-3
8    Miami (Ohio)    263        5    33-8-1
9    Minnesota    223        12    19-17-9
10    Boston University    203        NR    19-17-4
11    Clarkson    173        10    22-13-4
12    Michigan State    159        7    25-12-5
13    Wisconsin    103        13    16-17-7
14    Northern Michigan    75        NR    20-20-4
15    St. Cloud State    69        14    19-16-5

WHERE IS UNH RANKED?:
Here is a week-by-week look at the ‘Cats in the national polls and the HE standings:
Date     USCHO     UHM     HE
9/29        N/A    6    3rd (pre)

HOME SWEET HOME:
UNH finished its 13th season of play at the Whittemore Center in 2007-08 posting a final record of 14-4-1 record at Towse Rink...UNH owns a 170-48-19 all-time record in 13 seasons of play at the  Whittemore Center with 154 sellouts during that time in 237 all-time games.

THE DICK UMILE ERA:
Dick Umile, a five-time Hockey East Coach of the Year, enters his 19th season as the head coach of the UNH Wildcats. He recently earned his fourth Leonard Fowle New England Coach of the Year award. After signing a long-term contract in 2000, Umile will conclude his coaching career at his alma mater. During his time spent at UNH, Umile has molded UNH hockey into one of the top programs in all of Division I hockey, guiding the Wildcats to four Frozen Four appearances, 14 NCAA tournament appearances and 18 Hockey East championship tournament showings in his 18-year career in Durham. In addition, Umile has posted 16 20-victory campaigns over the span of 18 seasons, including a current streak of 12 20-win seasons and back-to-back 25-plus win seasons. Umile is now the winningest coach in the history of UNH hockey with 424 career victories. He surpassed legendary coach Charlie Holt on Feb. 16, 2005 in a 6-1 victory at Merrimack at Thom Lawler Arena in North Andover, Mass. Umile ranks third among active NCAA coaches with a .653 winning percentage and on the active victories list his 424 victories ranks eighth among NCAA coaches. He has been named Coach of the Year a total of 10 times in his career, including New England honors four times. Umile’s five Hockey East Coach of the Year Awards is an all-time league best. Last season Umile led the Wildcats to a 25-10-3 record, including a program-record 19 Hockey East wins en route to a 19-5-3 record in league play, which earned UNH the regular season title for the second season in a row.  Umile captured his 400th career victory Oct. 19, 2007 against Boston University. Umile coached four All-Americans in Kevin Regan, Mike Radja, Matt Fornataro, and Brad Flashains, which was the first time in school history that four players received that honor.

FORWARD THINKING: 
The Wildcats have a very strong core of returning forwards led by seniors Greg Collins (Fairport, N.Y.), Thomas Fortney (Webster Groves, Mo.) and Jerry Pollastrone (Revere, Mass.). Collins is one of two Wildcat captains for 2008-09. He was the recipient of the Warren Brown Award for the second straight season in 2007-08, given annually to the best defensive forward on UNH’s roster, and also earned the Robert Kullen Award as the unsung hero of Wildcats in 07-08. Collins has tallied 11 points (4g, 7a) in 36 games this season playing on the third line. Another returner from the third line, a line with a tenacious reputation, is Fortney. Fortney, who was the recipient of the Ironman Award for best off-season workout results, tallied 14 points (2g, 14a) in 38 games. He is tied for the active lead in games played with 114 games of a possible 117. Pollastrone, who has also played in 114 games for UNH, is the Wildcats’ top returning goal scorer with 15 goals and 29 points (15g, 14a). He caught fire down the stretch for the Wildcats scoring seven goals in the final four games of the season including a pair in the NCAA Tournament against Notre Dame and five in the Hockey East quarterfinals against Massachusetts. Pollastrone is the active leader in career points with 76 (23g, 15a). Another senior that has battled through injuries and will add depth offensively is granite stater Alan Thompson (Gilford, N.H.). Juniors Bobby Butler (Marlboro, Mass.), Peter LeBlanc (Hamilton, Ontario) and Danny Rossman (Boxford, Mass.) all gained valuable experience in 2007-08 and will be called upon to make an impact once again in 2008-09. Butler enjoyed another fine season a year ago with 26 points (14 g, 12a) and is the second leading returning goal scorer with 14 tallies a year ago. Butler was a member of the Hockey East All-Tournament team as he scored a pair of goals in the semifinals against Boston College. LeBlanc more than tripled his offensive productivity from his freshman season with 15 points (5g, 10a) in 37 games. He proved to be a very versatile forward that played center and wing on several different lines during 2007-08. Rossman appeared in three games in 2007-08 and will compete for a spot in the lineup on a more regular basis this season. While the Wildcats have a depth and experience from its juniors and seniors, the sophomore class could be the group called upon to produce in 2008-09. In 2007-08, this group produced 27 percent of the offense, second only to last year’s seniors. Among this highly skilled group are the top two returning scorers, James vanRiemsdyk (Middletown, N.J.) and Danny Dries (Lake Orion, Mich.). vanRiemsdyk, the top returning scorer from a year ago, registered 34 points including a team-high 23 assists. He was named to Hockey East’s All-Rookie team, was the Hockey East Player of the Month in January and March and a semifinalist for the Walter Brown award. vanRiemsdyk was the team’s leader in rookie scoring despite missing four games for the World Junior Championship.  vanRiemsdyk ranked fifth nationally in rookie scoring at 1.0 ppg. Dries was inserted into the Wildcat first line just after the holiday break and helped lead the Wildcat surge into the postseason. He netted 24 of his 28 points after Christmas and his 17 assists are second to vanRiemsdyk among UNH returnees. Dries notched a career-high three assists on Feb. 16 against Providence. Three other sophomores starters were Phil DeSimone (East Amherst, N.Y.), Paul Thompson (Concord, N.H.) and Mike Sislo (Superior, Wis.). DeSimone played in all 38 games and potted three goals and 10 assists for 13 points on the year. DeSimone had three multi-point games and scored his first collegiate goal in a 1-0 win over Merrimack on Jan. 4.  Thompson jumped out to a great start as he scored five points (3g, 2a) in a win at Providence on Nov. 17. His five-point effort helped him earn Hockey East Rookie of the Week and Rookie of the Month for November. Sislo skated in all 38 games on the Wildcat third line and recorded eight points (3g, 5a). He netted his first goal on Feb. 1 at Vermont and was one of just two freshmen to play in all 38 games for UNH. Rounding out the returning forwards are Greg Manz (Wayne, Pa.) and Danny Vranek (New Port Richey, Fla.). Manz appeared in seven games for the Wildcats and recorded his first collegiate point on Feb. 1, 2007 with a goal at Vermont. Vranek played in three games and tallied his first-ever collegiate point, netting a goal in his debut on Jan. 6 against St. Lawrence. Freshmen Mike Borisenok (Watervilet, N.Y.), Kevin McCarey (Baldwinsville, N.Y.) and Steve Moses (Leominster, Mass.) will add depth to an already talent-filled offense. Borisenok played his last two seasons with the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League (USHL). Last season, the center skated in 46 games and totaled 39 points on 15 goals and 24 assists and was voted Gamblers’ Most Valuable Player. McCarey has played his last two seasons with the USA National Development Program. In that time, the forward has skated in 64 games and notched 20 goals and 11 assists, for a total of 31 points. Moses played in 96 games over the last three years for the Junior Bruins of the Eastern Junior Hockey League. In that span, he totaled 96 points on 37 goals and 59 assists and was an all-star selection.

GETTING DEFENSIVE: 
  The Wildcats return a wealth of talent on the blueline despite the loss of Hockey East All Stars Brad Flaishans and Craig Switzer. UNH has six defensemen returning including three seniors and four returning starters. Anchoring the group is one of two Wildcat captains and the reigning Old Time Hockey Hockey East Best Defensive Defenseman Joe Charlebois (Potsdam, N.Y.). Charlebois tallied one goal and eight assists for nine points. He also notched a team-best plus/minus rating of +25, including a +7 in the Hockey East quarterfinal series with Massachusetts. Equally touted is senior Jamie Fritsch (Odenton, Md.). Fritsch played in 37 of 38 games, 107 career games, for the Wildcats and led all returning blueliners with four goals last season. While Fritsch is the top returning goal scorer, senior Kevin Kapstad (Boxboro, Mass.) is the top returning point getter among defensemen as he tallied 11 points (3g, 8a) during the 2007-08 campaign. The last of the returning starters is junior Nick Krates (Palos Park, Ill.). Krates was named the team’s Most Improved Player in 2007-08. After he played in just one game as a freshman, he saw a significant increase in playing time in 2007-08, playing in 36 games. He tallied his first collegiate point with an assist in the Hockey East semifinals against Boston College at the TD Banknorth Garden and owned a +5 plus/minus rating. Other blueliners seeing time in 2007-08 were Mike Beck (Long Beach, Calif.) and Matt Campanale (Chester Springs, Pa.). Beck made his lone appearance in 2007-08 in the Wildcats’ annual “White out the Whitt” game against Maine on Dec. 16, 2007, while Campanale saw action in six games. Two newcomers vying for a spot in the lineup are Blake Kessel (Verona, Wis.) and Damon Kipp (Salmon Arm, B.C.). Kessel, who was selected in the sixth round of the 2007 NHL draft by the New York Islanders, skated in 118 games in the last two seasons for the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL. Last season’s USHL Defenseman of the Year and an all star selection, Kessel led all defensemen in scoring with 57 points on 19 goals and 38 assists in 59 games. Kipp skated in 169 games in his three-year career for his hometown Salmon Arm Silverbacks of the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL). Last season the defenseman played in 66 games and tallied 53 points. Among defensemen, Kipp’s totals were especially impressive as he ranked third in assists and fourth in total points.  In both the 06-07 and the 07-08 seasons the Silverback captain played on the championship winning Team Canada West in the World Junior A Challenge, he served as the team’s assistant captain in this year’s championship run for the Canada West squad.

NET RESULTS:
Replacing one of the University’s greatest netminders of all time in Kevin Regan will not be easy. The Wildcats hope to continue in their tradition of great goaltending with junior netminder Brian Foster (Pembroke, N.H.). Foster, a fifth-round draft pick of the Florida Panthers in 2005, entered UNH as one of the most highly touted goaltending recruits in Umile’s tenure. Despite seeing limited action over the first two seasons, Foster has performed effectively when called upon and should benefit from playing with more regularity in 2008-09. Foster went 2-2-2 last year with a 3.06 GAA and a .899 save percentage. Foster earned his first ever win over a ranked opponent on Oct. 27, 2007 against No. 4 Colorado College and stopped a career-high 41 shots in a win at Providence on Nov. 17, 2007. Joining Foster between the pipes is a pair of freshmen that could vie for major net time this season in Matt DiGirolamo (Penilyn, Pa.) and Tyler Scott (Ridgefield, Conn.). DiGirolamo played in 75 games over the last two seasons for the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL and also helped lead the Blackhawks to the championship game where they lost in overtime. Scott minded the net last season for South Kent Prep of the New England Prep School Athletic Conference. During his senior season at South Kent, Scott helped the Cardinals go 24-9-3 and reach the New England semifinals.

THE PROGRAM’S HISTORY: 
UNH has appeared in the NCAA Tournament 18 times in the 81-year history of the program. UNH has appeared in the Frozen Four seven times, including national championship game appearances vs. Maine in 1999 and Minnesota in 2003. UNH earned Hockey East Tournament titles in 2002 and 2003 and regular-season championships in 1997, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2007 and 2008. The Wildcats won the ECAC regular-season title in 1974 and the tournament championship in 1979. UNH has posted 29 seasons with 20+ wins, including the last 12 consecutive seasons.

‘CATS SELECTED IN THE NHL DRAFT:
Six current UNH players have been selected in the National Hockey League draft...Joe Charlebois (Chicago), Phil DeSimone (Washington), Brian Foster (Florida), Blake Kessel (N.Y. Islanders), Peter LeBlanc (Chicago) and James van Riemsdyk (Philadelphia) have all been taken.

‘CATS IN THE PROS: Here is a listing of former Wildcats playing professional hockey:
Justin Aikins:  Sport Vaasan Mestis(FIN)
Travis Banga: Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (CHL)
Derek Bekar:  Springfield Falcons (AHL)
Eric Boguniecki:  Anaheim Ducks (NHL)
A.J. Bucchino: Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (CHL)
Preston Callander:  Florida Everblades (ECHL)
Josh Ciocco: Fresno Falcons (ECHL)
Sean Collins:  Sport Vaasan Mestis(FIN)
Ty Conklin: Detroit Red Wings (NHL)
Matt Dzieduszycki: Hannover Scorpions (DEL)
Matt Fornataro: Worcester Sharks (AHL)
Lanny Gare:  Bad Nauheim EC (GerObL)
Darren Haydar: Detroit Red Wings (NHL)
Brett Hemingway:Alaska Aces (ECHL)
Colin Hemingway: Alaska Aces (ECHL)
Mark Kolanos: Arizona Sun Dogs (CHL)
Jason Krog: Vancouver Canucks (NHL)
Andrew Leach: Texas Brahmas (CHL)
Nathan Martz: Alba Volan Szekeshfehervar (Austria)
Jacob Micflikier: Springfield Falcons (AHL)
Mark Mowers: Fribourg-Gotteron (Swiss NL)
Chris Murray: Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL)
Bryan Muir: Minsk Dynamo (KHL)
Eric Nickulas: Ingolstadt ERC (DEL)
Jeff Pietrasiak: Texas Wildcatters (ECHL)
Mike Radja: Rockland IceHogs (AHL)
Kevin Regan: Providence Bruins (AHL)
Steve Saviano: Tappara Tampere (FNL)
Tyler Scott: Grenoble (FRNC)
Trevor Smith: Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL)
Mike Souza: Cortina SG (Italy)
Garrett Stafford: Dallas Stars (NHL)
Tyson Teplitsky: Cardiff Devils (EIHL)
Shawn Vinz: Charlotte Checkers (ECHL)
Daniel Winnik: Phoenix Coyotes (NHL)
Brian Yandle: Augusta Lynx (ECHL)

UNH HOCKEY ON THE RADIO:
UNH men’s hockey action this season can be heard live on the UNH Sports Network...In the summer of 1999, the University of New Hampshire Athletic Department formed the “UNH Sports Network” — the largest network ever to broadcast UNH sporting events. In 2001-2002, WTSN AM 1270 was introduced as the flagship station with the signal carried on several stations through New Hampshire. The network also consists of WGIR 610AM in Manchester; WNTK 99.7 FM in New London; WCNL 1010AM in Newport; and WUVR-1490AM in Lebanon, NH. WNTK offers streaming audio of network broadcasts at www.wntk.com.
    Games also can be heard on “Yahoo! Broadcast” by going to UNHWILDCATS.com, the official website for UNH athletics. Dan Parkhurst will be handling the majority of the play-by-play, while Pete Webster will once again be doingthe color commentating. Webster has been announcing Wildcat hockey for 14 years since the 1993-1994 season.

UNH HOCKEY ON TELEVISION:
UNH will have 13 games broadcast live on TV in 2008-09...NESN will air four games, while three will air on CN8 and ESPNU. WMUR-TV will broadcast one game, while two will air on FSN-North Minnesota.

DATE    GAME    Channel
OCT. 19    BOSTON U.    ESPNU
OCT. 26    @ ST. Lawrence    ESPNU
Oct. 31    Northeastern    CN8
NOV. 7    @ Minnesota    Fox sports north-mn
NOV. 8    @ Minnesota    Fox sports north-mn
DEC. 6    UMass-Lowell    CN8
JAN. 4    @ Maine    ESPNU
JAN. 17    Dartmouth
    @ Verizon Wir. Arena    WMUR-TV
Jan. 23    Boston u.     NESN
Jan. 24    Boston u.     CN8
Feb. 6    Maine    NESN
Feb. 20    Boston College    NESN
Feb. 28    Merrimack    NESN

THE DICK UMILE SHOW ON WTSN RADIO: The Coach’s Show featuring UNH men’s hockey head coach Dick Umile with host Andy Schachat and D. Ellis  is broadcast on Mondays live from 6:30 to 7:30 on WTSN-1270 AM (Dover, N.H.), simulcasted on WGIR- 610 AM (Manchester, N.H.) and on www.wtsn1270.com from Libby’s Bar and Grill on Main Street in Durham...The show will start the Monday following the end of the UNH football season...The Coaches Show features Coach Umile as well as a selected student-athlete each week from the men’s ice hockey team.

GRANITE STATE CONNECTION:
The Wildcat hockey team features three players from New Hampshire with Brian Foster (Pembroke), Paul Thompson (Derry) and Alan Thompson (Gilford) all hailing from the Granite State.

LISTEN LIVE ON THE INTERNET:
Yahoo Broadcast will carry all of the UNH men’s ice hockey action again this season...If you can not attend Wildcat hockey at the Whittemore Center, you can still tune into the game from anywhere you can gain access to the internet...Fans can get to the UNH men’s ice hockey Yahoo Broadcast site by going to the men’s hockey schedule page at www.unhwildcats.com.

WATCH ALL THE ACTION WITH THE UNHWILDCATS.TV:
After an extremely successful first season, UNH and Pack Network have once again partnered to provide online video streaming of UNH’s seven ticketed sports for the upcoming 2008-09 season with UNHwildcats.TV.
    Wildcat fans are encouraged to buy the “Wildcat All-Access Pass” which is an annual subscription for $79.95 that provides not only all the live coverage of UNH home athletic events, but also premium content not available to view without the All-Access Pass. The premium content includes a behind the scenes look at UNH athletics through player and coaches interviews, highlights, podcasts, select post-game interviews and an in-depth archive section of all video available on UNHwildcats.TV. Fans can also purchase home events on a per game basis of $6.95.

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