Allen Lessels' UNH Notebook: Wildcats have to stop the bleeding
The Wildcats, No. 19 last week, may or may not fall out of the Top 25 in The Sports Network poll when the rankings are released this afternoon. UNH has been in the Top 25 for 131 consecutive weeks, by far the longest streak in the country, since early in the 2004 season.
The Wildcats need to get back on track. Quickly.
They play their next two games at home in Cowell Stadium, starting with Rhode Island on Saturday for Homecoming and followed by Villanova on Oct. 19.
“This is a good team,” McDonnell said on Sunday afternoon. “There are no easy ones in this league. Believe me, this game is huge for us, to get back to 1-1 in the league, to get back in the win column. We’ve got to play four consistent quarters.”
Towson, ranked No. 2 in one poll and No. 3 in the other, took over after that and behind the running of junior Terrance West — 28 carries for 238 yards and three touchdowns — upped its record to 6-0.
Towson capitalized on a pair of fumbles and an interception on three straight UNH possessions to turn the game around.
“It’s so apparent that we have to improve in two areas,” McDonnell said. “One is turnovers. We can’t turn the ball over. Defensively, we can hang in with people but we don’t dominate. We have to cut down on the big plays we give up.”
Junior linebacker Andrew Bose leads URI with 56 tackles and senior linebacker Dave Zocco, a former Nashua South standout, is next with 50.
The other came in 2010 when road losses at Rhode Island and Maine helped dropped the Wildcats to 2-3.
Dating to last season, the Wildcats have lost five of their last six games.
Center Mike Coccia left Saturday’s game with a shoulder injury and Seamus O’Neill, the senior let tackle out of Manchester Central, has a knee problem, but McDonnell expects both to play against Rhode Island.
Coach Dick Umile’s top line of junior Grayson Downing centering for senior Kevin Goumas on the left and freshman Tyler Kelleher on the right contributed a pair of goals in Saturday night’s 6-3 exhibition game win over Acadia.
Sophomore Kyle Smith also had two goals and senior defenseman Eric Knodel had a goal and an assist.
The Wildcats will play either Minnesota, ranked No. 5, or Mercyhurst on Saturday.
No. 11-ranked Michigan comes to Durham for games on Oct. 18 and 19.
The women’s hockey team split a pair of 3-2 home games over the weekend. The Wildcats lost to RIT on Friday and came from behind to beat Syracuse on Saturday.
UNH is 2-2 overall and plays Maine in its Hockey East opener at the Whittemore Center on Sunday at 2 p.m.
The men’s soccer team, 6-3 overall and 1-0 in America East, opens a three-game homestand against Brown on Tuesday at 3:30. The Wildcats play Stony Brook on Saturday at 7 and Hartford on Wednesday, Oct. 16 at 7.
On Twitter: @AllenLessels