EMPTYING the notebook while watching the leaves pile up and waiting for the snow to arrive ...
Lou Grant hated spunk, but this lesser editor doesn’t mind a bit of spunk, especially as shown by the UNH hockey team over the weekend.
On consecutive nights, the Wildcats looked to be in trouble. In the early stages of Friday’s game, Boston College kept Mike Robinson under siege. Twenty-four hours later, Dartmouth took a 4-2 lead into the third period.
In neither situation did the ’Cats panic. Robinson, of Bedford, held it scoreless, leading to Angus Crookshank’s masterful deflection goal in overtime. If you didn’t already see it, you might want to Google Robinson’s save on the Eagles’ Matt Boldy. Robinson got most of the shot, but the puck crawled over his shoulder and down his back, but he kicked it away at the last second.
On Saturday, UNH rallied with two in the third period, including the tying goal with 54 seconds remaining in regulation, then won it on Charlie Kelleher’s power-play tap-in with nine seconds left.
Over 127 minutes and 6 seconds of watching, I came away with two lasting impressions of Mike Souza’s club:
• Backup goalie Ty Taylor, who played Saturday night, may have improved his stock. After flopping around in the early going, he settled down and made some huge stops to keep victory within reach. The big sophomore from British Columbia, who was a seventh-round pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2018 NHL Draft, won’t supplant Robinson as the No. 1, but he showed he’s capable when called upon.
• Forward Kohei Sato, the fastest player on the team (and Hockey East?) is becoming a sensation. His grandfather was a speed skater for Japan’s Olympic team, so it’s in the genes. Over the weekend, every time he touched the puck with open ice ahead, the Whittemore Center crowd went wild in anticipation. Sure enough, he skated past unsuspecting defensemen and kept getting to the net.
So now, the Wildcats are 4-2-1 and receiving Top 25 votes (12 in the uscho.com poll). They’ll be tested on a Patriots-free Sunday when No. 2 UMass, which just vanquished Northeastern twice in Boston, comes to the Whitt. The puck drops at 1 p.m.
Speaking of all things in Durham, the UNH men’s soccer team finishes its wildly successful regular season tonight (7 p.m.) at home against Vermont. Marc Hubbard’s Wildcats lost their first game of the season last Friday at Albany, dropping from 14th to 18th nationally in Tuesday’s rankings, but it says here that loss may serve them well in the America East Conference and NCAA tournaments.
Tonight’s a big game. The winner will claim the America East regular-season title and will have home field advantage throughout the conference tourney.
Looks like we’ll have two Granite Staters to follow in the NBA. On Sunday night, as Manchester’s Wenyen Gabriel was getting six minutes (one rebound) in Sacramento’s win over the Knicks, New Castle’s Duncan Robinson was pouring in a career-high 23 points in the Heat’s triumph over the Rockets. Robinson, out of the University of Michigan, was 7-for-11 from beyond the 3-point arc. He also had six rebounds and two blocks. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has called Robinson “one of the best shooters on the planet.” Yikes.
Saint Anselm’s men’s basketball team is the preseason co-No. 1 in the East Region of Division II. The Hawks graduated all-everything Tim Guers and Londonderry’s Cody Ball, but they still have the dynamic Chris Paul. And, of course, 34th-year coach Keith Dickson.
The Baltimore Ravens’ Patrick Ricard, that big fella who on Sunday caused trouble for the Patriots on both sides of the football, is a former University of Maine Black Bear. He’s from David Prouty High School in Spencer, Mass.
The Concord Catholic High Schools’ Hall of Fame inductions will be held Saturday at Bishop Brady High School. The honorees are Andrew Karwocki, William Donovan, Thomas Luckern, Brian Foster, Cecelia Ortega, Leslie Stratton and Dr. Douglas Moran and attorney Marcia Moran (Sixth Man Award). The event begins with a social hour and cash bar at 5 p.m. Dinner is served at 6, followed by the induction ceremony. Tickets are $45 and must be reserved in advance, online, through the Bishop Brady website (bishopbrady.edu).
Hey, Manchester Monarchs fans, what are you doing with your weekends? Seriously, we’d like to know how you’re filling your hockey void.