New Hampshire Making Adjustments
Umile Finds Spark in Freshman Correale
by Joshua Seguin/Staff Writer
DURHAM, N.H. Dan Correale was supposed to be a freshman at New Hampshire last season, but in July of 2011 that plan was turned upside down as the then BCHL player was sidelined with a debilitating shoulder injury. Five months of rehabilitation and half a junior season later, Correale finally walked onto the campus of UNH in the fall of 2012. He has done nothing but relish the opportunities since.
Correale was a staple on Dick Umile’s third line that performed well in the early part of the second half, but has since seen his stock rise in recent weeks. Three weeks ago, when Umile needed a spark on his top line, Correale got an opportunity that few players find as freshmen at UNH.
“Coming into the season I wanted to be able to contribute,” Correale said. “Whether I was on the fourth line, or like now on the first line, either way I was just looking to help the hockey team. It’s a good feeling that I am able to contribute.”
The line of Grayson Downing, Austin Block and Dalton Speelman was struggling mightily. They had scored just three times in eight games going into a matchup with Merrimack at the Verizon Wireless Arena, so change was on the horizon. Correale was put onto the first line in lieu of Speelman, and Umile found his spark. The line scored three goals and was a combined plus-7 in the contest, not bad for a unit that was thrown together.
“I have been put into a good situation recently,” Correale said. “I am trying to do the best I can with those guys. It is obviously a good situation and I am trying to make the best of it.”
With two of the three linemates from British Columbia and Austin Block from California, it can be dubbed a West Coast Line. But most of all, they seem to have a sort of chemistry that few players have. The line is also comprised of a freshman, a sophomore and a senior.
“Any time that you can play on the same line as a player like that (Correale) it’s fun," Downing said. "Any time you can play with guys that are skilled and fast its makes the game a lot (more fun). He is making the most of his opportunity by scoring goals and putting up points. He has been helping us to try and win games.”
Correale is undersized at 5-foot-10, but he, like many small players, has found a home in college hockey. The biggest difference in the college game is the speed.
On Sunday against Providence, Correale scored a goal 30 seconds into the third period to give UNH a 2-1 lead. It was a lead they wouldn't hold onto, but they would eventually get the tie on the night. He and his line has been a bright spot on a struggling UNH team that has gone just 5-5-1 since coming back from the break.
“It is all high end players here,” said Correale. “Juniors was good for me, but obviously these are the best players from juniors so everyone is that much faster and that much better. It’s been a tough adjustment, but I feel like I’m getting better and starting to adjust to it.”