After completing his NCAA suspension that kept him from playing all last year and through the first nine games this season, sophomore forward Filip Engaras made his debut for the University of New Hampshire men’s hockey team in its 2-1 overtime loss at rival Maine last Saturday.
Engaras, who is from Stockholm, Sweden, and has practiced with the team since arriving on campus last year, skated on UNH’s top line that night alongside classmate Angus Crookshank and junior Patrick Grasso and also saw time on the penalty-kill and power-play units.
UNH coach Mike Souza said last year that Engaras’ suspension was in regard to his amateur status and how the NCAA deemed some games he played in while in Sweden.
“We were all excited for him,” UNH junior forward Kohei Sato said. “We knew that he was going to be ready and he was and he brought his A-game...We all thought he looked good and confident out there and his skill set and hockey sense and IQ is, I think, second to none. He brought a lot of offense and he’s a two-way player. He’s good on defense, good on faceoffs, he does it all and we were very happy to see him succeed.”
Souza said he thought Engaras played well considering it was the forward’s first game in about a year and a half and his first playing in North America. The Wildcats will continue to need similar performances from Engaras with sophomore forward Jackson Pierson likely sidelined with an upper-body injury until after the holiday break, Souza said.
“He’s been around here for a while so he’s been practicing, he knows the way we want to play, he knows how we forecheck and how we defend,” Souza said of Engaras. “And he’s a detailed kid. He has great detail in his game…He’s got a learning curve like every young player but that learning curve, I think, will be easier because of his hockey sense and his ability.”