There’s a long history of prolific forwards at New Hampshire.
As recently as 2011, the WIldcats graduated Phil DeSimone, Paul Thompson and Mike Sislo, all left Durham with more than 100 points in their careers. However, the program has plainly been in decline since their departure. Kevin Goumas graduated after least season and left with 146 career points. He is the only player to reach the milestone since 2011. Nick Sorkin and Stevie Moses fell just short with 98 apiece.
Ultimately, the milestone itself isn’t particularly important, but the steep decline in scoring has marked UNH’s problems.
Currently, senior forward Grayson Downing is just five points short of 100 for his career. For the season, Downing has 12 goals and seven assists. In his last five games, Downing has scored eight goals.
He should hit the mark in the next few weeks, and it’s a nice accomplishment. However, he’s the only UNH upperclassman likely to do so for his career. The Wildcats have qualified for just once NCAA Tournament since falling a game short of the Frozen Four in 2011, and it’s quite clear this decline in scoring — and talent — is a major reason for the problem.
UNH coach Dick Umile just hasn’t been able to attract the type of players he did for so long to Durham. On the current roster, a few Wildcat forwards should enjoy quality careers. The incoming players in the next few seasons should make a bit of noise as well.
It’s clear, though, that UNH just isn’t at the level it was for so long.
Tuesday night, the Wildcats beat Providence, 2-1, in Durham. The win pushed UNH’s record to 7-11-2, 2-5-1 in Hockey East. They’re currently in 10th place with 14 league games remaining. There’s plenty of time to make a push for home ice in the preliminary round of the tournament. But that hardly seems like enough for a UNH program that, for decades, was one of the nation’s best. (more…)