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Tripped Up in the Playoffs
By Rachel M. Collins '81

As longtime UNH men's hockey coach Dick Umile '72 sees it, some days the puck bounces your way, some days it doesn't. In the NCAA tournament's Northeast Regional game, it didn't.

Although the Wildcats finished with a 44-25 edge in shots on goal over Miami, the winning goal came when a puck bounced off a UNH player's skate. Looking back at the season, senior forward Josh Ciocco '07 says it's "unfortunate that in the NCAA playoff it's one game and you're done. But overall I think this year we put the program back on the track where it used to be."

In March, the Wildcats were the Hockey East regular-season champions for the sixth time in school history when they defeated UMass 3-2. In a thrilling semifinal game, freshman forward Bobby Butler scored 90 seconds into double overtime. Umile became the second coach in league history to be named the Hockey East Coach of the Year five times.

Undoubtedly next year there are going to be some changes. The team has lost some strong seniors, four of whom signed amateur tryout contracts with professional hockey teams. In addition, sophomore forward Trevor Smith opted in April not to return to school, signing a two-year contract with the New York Islanders. Umile says a strong slate of recruits, along with a core of returning players, should mean a successful season next fall.

The women's ice hockey team defended their 2006 Hockey East regular-season and tournament titles in 2007, defeating Providence College 3-1 in the title game. It was the seventh time the women's team has won the league title.

Head coach Brian McCloskey says the seniors helped reestablish the UNH women's hockey program last season. "They, and the classes behind them, helped bring us back to being competitive at the national level," he says. "They deserve a lot of credit."

In their second straight NCAA tournament appearance, fourth-ranked UNH was defeated by fifth-ranked St. Lawrence 6-2 in the regional game. But McCloskey predicts an "outstanding" freshman class will make UNH one of the top teams in the country next season.

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