by Tim Rosenthal/Staff Writer
Head Coach: Dick Umile
2006-2007 record: 26-11-2 (18-7-2 Hockey East); HE regular season champions
Key Returnees: Kevin Regan G SR., Matt Fornataro F SR., Mike Radja F SR., Brad Flaishans D SR., Craig Switzer D SR., Jerry Polastrone F JR., Joe Charlebois D JR., Jamie Fritsch D JR., Bobby Butler F SO.
Key Losses: Trevor Smith (underclassmen), Josh Ciocco, Jacob Micflikier, Chris Murray, Brett Hemingway
New Hampshire was 19-4-2 through four months last season, and was ranked No. 1 in the country for a few weeks. Ultimately, however, the Wildcats fell short again.
"We had a good season," said coach Dick Umile, who is one win shy of 400. "Winning the Hockey East regular season was a goal at the beginning of the year but it ended there."
Umile also mentioned that his team was "unlucky" at the end of the year with losses to Boston College in the Hockey East Finals and Miami in the NCAA Northeast regional semifinal, a game where the Wildcats basically had home-ice advantage (the game was played in Manchester, N.H.).
Part of the success from last year that should carry on to 2007-08 is the improvement of the defense.
"We have five guys coming back," Umile said. Goaltender Kevin Regan, who had his work cut out for him in the 2005-06 season, improved his stats thanks to his defense, and it should be the same for next season as well.
There will be quite a few additions to the 2007-08 squad including James vanRiemsdyk, who was taken No. 2 overall in this year's draft by Philadelphia. But the recruiting class didn't just start and end with vanRiemsdyk. In fact there are eight more additions for the class of 2011.
"I am really excited about this class," said Umile. "This class has great potential and they will contribute one way or another."
Other additions include forwards Phil DeSimone and Paul Thompson, as well as defensemen Mike Beck and Matt Campanale.
Before everyone gets excited about the potential of the class of 2011, there are still some steps that the Wildcats need to make if they want to compete on a national basis.
"Matt Fornataro will be our captain," said Umile. "We have four assistants — Kevin Regan, Mike Radja, Craig Switzer, and Brad Flaishans."
While the four captains will have leadership roles, coach Umile is also looking for leadership from his upperclassmen.
"This is a strong senior class," Umile pointed out. In their three years together, the class of 2008 has won a total of 72 games, but have not fared well in the NCAA tournament, going 1-3 in three seasons.
"Our goal is to get back in the top of Hockey East. With teams on the rise such as Northeastern, Providence and UMass-Lowell, the league will be tough," Umile said.