DURHAM -- WILDCATS past, present and future convened at the Whittemore Center on Sunday afternoon.
The United States National Under-18 team came to town to take on the No 1-ranked University of New Hampshire in an exhibition game and came up with a pair of third-period goals to earn a 2-2 tie before a crowd of 3,288.
The USA guys arrived off a 3-1 win at Merrimack on Saturday night and brought a couple of future Wildcats and one former Wildcat All-American with them.
Tyler Kelleher, a 5-foot-6 and 154-pound forward out of Longmeadow, Mass., has signed a national letter of intent to accept a UNH scholarship and is due on campus next fall.
He leads the Under-18 team with 13 goals and 12 assists for 25 points in 26 games and had a goal and an assist against Merrimack.
"He's a real talented kid, especially down low and he's good in tight," said Mike Ayers, the goalie coach with the national program. "He loves to score goals. He'll thrive here, especially with the big ice sheet."
Ayers was an All American goalie with the Wildcats in 2003 and led them to the national championship game.
Shane Eiserman, a 6-foot-2 and 196-pounder out of West Newbury, Mass., has made a verbal commitment to attend UNH and plans to start school in the fall of 2014 "Shane has that typical power forward mentality." Ayers said. "He's only been with us three months. He's a great kid and works his tail off in the off-ice stuff. He fits in the locker room and he's a real team guy. They've got two real good players coming here."
Eiserman has seven goals and four assists in 23 games.
Neither player had a point on Sunday. Both got a kick out of the experience and rallying for the tie.
"It was awesome," Eiserman said. "The atmosphere was great. Everything was awesome."
Kelleher, whose younger brother Charlie has committed to coming to UNH further down the road, is enthused about being a Wildcat.
"I can't wait," he said. "I committed, like, two years ago. Now that it's getting closer, I'm getting more and more excited."
THE college hockey polls that come out today should be interesting. UNH, No. 1 last week for the first time since January of 2007, lost 3-2 at home to Boston University on Thursday.
Providence scored with 10 seconds left to tie BC, 3-3, on Friday night. BC had been No. 1 and fell to No. 2 behind UNH last week.
In the PairWise rankings on Sunday, BC was on top, UNH was second and Dartmouth, 7-2-2, was third.
Casey DeSmith, a sophomore from Rochester, leads Hockey East in save percentage (.939) and goals-against average (1.82).
Providence's Jon Gillies, a freshman from South Portland, Maine, is second in GAA (1.95) and third in save percentage (.939). Bruce Gillies, Jon's father, was a standout goalie at Bishop Brady High School in Concord and at UNH.
Wildcat junior Kevin Goumas continues to lead Hockey East in scoring with eight goals and 16 assists for 24 points.
Goumas and Casey Thrush had the UNH goals against the Under-18 team on Sunday. Junior goalie Jeff Wyer had 28 saves for UNH.
Thatcher Demko, who has not made a college commitment, had 35 saves for the national team.
Boston University helped tighten the Hockey East standings with the win over UNH and a 1-0 win over Maine on Saturday.
Boston College leads the league with a 9-2-1 record for 19 points. UNH trails the Eagles by a point at 8-2-1 and BU is a single point further back at 8-4-0.
Things at the top are frozen for a month now: BC, UNH and BU all play their next league game on Jan. 11. UNH starts a home-and-home series that night at BC and the teams play in Durham the next. BU has a home-and-home set with Merrimack that weekend.
THE MEN'S and women's basketball teams each spread three nonconference games over the next three weeks before beginning America East play against Vermont on Jan. 2. The men are home against the Catamounts that night and the women play in Burlington.
The men, 4-5 after a 64-56 win over Yale at home on Saturday, play at Boston College on Sunday at 1.
Senior forward Ferg Myrick scored a career-high 24 points and had 11 rebounds against Yale.
Myrick leads the Wildcats with 15.1 points and adds 7.3 rebounds. Juniors Chris Pelcher and Patrick Konan each average 12.7 points. Pelcher's at 7.6 rebounds and Konan is at 4.4. Senior Chandler Rhoads averages 10.9 points and 5.7 rebounds.
BC also is 4-5 following a 72-64 win over St. Francis (N.Y.) on Saturday.
UNH gave BC a run last year and came up just short, 67-64. Rhoads led the Wildcats with 20 points.
The UNH women dropped to 4-5 overall with a rough 43-32 loss at home to Central Connecticut on Sunday.
The Wildcats missed all 17 of their three-point attempts and had 27 turnovers.
UNH plays Wagner at home next Monday night.