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Allen Lessels' UNH Notebook: Wildcat eyes are smilin’
University of New Hampshire's Nick Sorkin (21) carries the puck as Notre Dame's Stephen Johns chases during the first period of their game at the Whittemore Center in Durham Saturday. (Mark Bolton/Union Leader)
It started late on Friday afternoon when the school announced its plans to first raise funds for and then build a $25 million athletics complex to replace Cowell Stadium, home of the Wildcat football team since the 1930s.
“It was an opportunity for us to get back in the hunt nationally and to move up in Hockey East,” said a thrilled coach Dick Umile after Saturday’s win.
Entering the weekend, they were tied at No. 22 in the PairWise rankings that simulate the system the NCAA uses to select at-large squads for the 16-team Division I tournament. UNH was at No. 14 in the PairWise on Sunday.
On the flip side, they are a point behind UMass-Lowell and Northeastern, who are tied for second.
The Wildcats have only a six-pack of games remaining in the regular season, starting with a series at home against Vermont on Friday and Saturday.
The Catamounts are 13-9-3 overall and 5-7-0 in the league. They were tied for No. 17 in the PairWise on Sunday and were in seventh place in Hockey East.
ATHLETICS DIRECTOR Marty Scarano said feedback on Friday’s stadium announcement has been positive and strong.
Scarano said he, UNH president Mark Huddleston and other school officials presented the project to the finance committee of the Board of Trustees on Thursday in Plymouth in an informational session.
“We have to go back in April with either the money or a strong commitment that we have $5 million in hand,” Scarano said. “That’s the agreement. We would assume given that — and we’re very confident that we’re going to be able to do that — then we’ll be given the green light to break ground.”
The goal is to be playing in the new stadium at some point in the 2015 season.
Fundraising has been under way. Scarano declined to announce the amount collected thus far.
“It’s considerable, I’ll say that. We have a great head start toward the $5 million.”
“This has been decades in the planning and there have been so many people committed to the project,” he said. “I really want to stress the fact there have been many, many people who have been committed to this and I’m confident people are going to support it.”
FOOTBALL recruits around the country sign their national letters of intent to accept college scholarships on Wednesday.
UNH and other schools have collecting verbal commitments from recruits in recent weeks.
“He’s going to be a big kid,” Phelps said. “Depending on what brand of shoe he’s in, he’s anywhere from a size 17 to a 19. He’s still growing into his body. But the thing that caught most people’s attention was his ability to run. He moves very well.”
Bryant is speedy and the total package, said Pedro Menendez coach Patrick Turner.
“We’ve clocked him at 4.40 and 4.42,” Turner said. “He’s got speed, great vision and power for a kid his size. He can catch the ball and he’s got wiggle. He loves to run through people, too. He plays like he’s 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds.”