TEMPE, ARIZ. – Following a weekend sweep against Union College the University of New Hampshire (UNH) Wildcats (2-2, 0-0) traveled out to Arizona State University (ASU) where they dropped two contests to the Sun Devils (3-3, 0-0), both by the score of 5-1. 

The season is still young for the Wildcats, but anytime you lose two games and are only able to come away with two goals, there’s almost always some things that need to be improved upon. Head coach Mike Souza was quick to allude to the team’s tough weekend, when asked on Wednesday what he thought went well for the team, he responded with a chuckle. 

“What went right? Uh, we got out there and home safely,” said Souza. 

Souza also noted, “to be honest with you when you analyze things ASU has a pretty good team, they’re really good in transition… it’s funny the analytics don’t tell the whole story, we certainly held the edge on Saturday.”  

UNH was competitive with ASU on Friday as Robert Cronin (2) lit the lamp in his first game back from injury just eight minutes into the first period. Cronin’s goal was the only offensive action that UNH saw on Friday as they finished the night 0-for-3 on the power play and failed to find the back of the net again. Both UNH and ASU finished with 35 shots on net, however, the majority of ASU’s shots were not stopped by senior goaltender Mike Robinson. Robinson, who started the game, was given a five-minute major, and a game misconduct in the seventh minute of the second period for spearing an ASU player.  

Sophomore goalie Jeremy Forman had his first career action for the Wildcats. He quieted ASU for the rest of the period, sending the teams to the locker room for the second intermission knotted 1-1. Forman returned for the third, allowing four goals on 16 shots, one of which came off the stick of first-year forward Jackson Niedermayer, son of NHL Hall of Famer Scott Niedermayer.  

As for Saturday, momentum stayed with the Sun Devils as they led the Wildcats 4-0 heading into the final period. Junior Harrison Blaisdell scored his first career goal for the Wildcats off an assist from Cronin and senior Filip Engarås to cut the deficit to three goals. This wasn’t enough as UNH ended up dropping the game by a score of 5-1 for a second straight night. 

Engarås commented on Saturday’s game saying, “we did have a lot of shots in both games, but we need to focus on capitalizing on our opportunities. We need to work on more of a net front presence and making it harder for the goalie to make saves. We’ll start from there and we need to bare down when we get the chance.” 

UNH outshot ASU 41-24 on Saturday, including 34 shots combined in the second and third period. Robinson returned to play the entirety of Saturday’s game, stopping 19 of the 24 shots thrown at him.  

Souza said there could be some different combinations this weekend after a subpar offensive performance in Arizona. 

“We’ve made some changes already; the line combinations are always fluid,” explained Souza. “You come out of a weekend only scoring two goals and I think there’s a call to make some adjustments and work some things. Yesterday [at practice] we had some different combinations along with today and we’ll see where it all falls on Sunday.”  

The Wildcats return to play this Sunday, Oct. 24 at the Whittemore Center when they take on No. 12 Providence College Friars (3-2, 1-0) in their Hockey East opener.  

Photo courtesy of UNH Athletics