UNH Men’s Hockey: Wildcats Search for First Hockey East Win Against Terriers


Andrew Gardner, Sports Editor

The University of New Hampshire (UNH) Men’s Hockey team recorded their eighth straight loss on Saturday in Worcester, MA against Holy Cross dropping the game by a score of 3-2 in overtime. The Wildcats have struggled since their opening weekend sweep of Clarkson and St. Lawrence, having just a 1-11-1 record since, with their last win coming on October 21st against Army West Point. 

After a winless November the team will turn their attention to a fierce opponent in #7 Boston University this weekend for a home and home series, where the Wildcats are still searching for their first Hockey East win of the year. 

The road for this Wildcats team has been challenging as six of their last nine games have come against ranked, top 20 opponents in the country. After this weekend against #7 Boston University that will make it eight out 11 games for this team played against ranked teams. Another tough two game matchup is on deck the following weekend against Arizona State, who currently sits just outside the top 20. 

Despite these results for the team, wins have not been far off the table during this stretch. The team has outshot their opponents in their last three games, which includes contests against #10 Harvard and #15 UMass. In the first period of the game against UMass two weekends ago, the Wildcats sprung out to a 2-0 lead with goals coming from two of the newcomers on the team, freshman forward Cy LeClerc and graduate forward Ryan Black. 

It was one of the better periods we played in a long time, certainly this year. I guess that’s the potential we have.” UNH Head Coach Mike Souza said after the game.

After that strong first period UNH was unable to hold the lead against the Minutemen as within the first seven minutes of the second period UMass potted three goals past UNH goaltender David Fessenden to make it 3-2. The Minutemen added one more goal in the third period to finish off the Wildcats 4-2.

We gotta work so hard to score, it’s hard. You push that game to three, maybe it’s a different story but we didn’t. I feel for the kids, it’s certainly not from a lack of effort for caring.” Souza said after the loss to the Minutemen.

It’s been a fight for the Wildcats to find consistent scoring this year as the team has scored three or fewer goals in each of their last 13 games since the opening weekend where they scored four in each game. Currently UNH sits in 58th of 62 teams in goals per game, netting 1.73 per game, ahead of only Alaska Anchorage, Holy Cross, Vermont, and Yale. 

Pairwise, is a useful analytical tool used to rank teams in the NCAA. Essentially it ranks all Division 1 college hockey teams 1-62 based on performance, strength of schedule, goals scored, and other factors. UNH currently sits at #52 of 62 teams in the ranking with the next closest team in Hockey East being #46 Vermont, who already beat the Wildcats twice this year in Burlington. 

Among all the struggles the team has endured during this time, there have been bright spots on the team that are worth noting. The goaltending has been especially strong this year for the Wildcats, with senior David Fessenden and first-year Tyler Muszelik splitting time in the cage with Fessenden posting a 2.82 GAA and Muszelik allowing three goals or fewer in each of his last four starts for the Wildcats. 

On the offensive side of the puck, first year forward Cy LeClerc has been finding his stride, with goals in each of the teams last two games placing LeClerc as the team’s leading goal scorer with five. LeClerc is one of 11 Wildcats who have suited up for all 15 games this year. 

UNH will take the ice at the Whitt tonight to square off against Boston University at 7p.m. in the annual “Blue Out BU” game in what the Wildcats hope to make their first Hockey East win of the season.  

Photo Courtesy of UNHWildcats.com