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Fickle Seasons
Hickey Stopped in the NCAAs
By Tim Wacker

"Bittersweet" was the word coaches Brian McCloskey and Dick Umile '72 used to describe the past ice hockey season.

For McCloskey and the UNH women's team, it was probably not much consolation to hear the University of Minnesota-Duluth coach say, "Obviously we got outplayed by a very talented team" after the No. 2-ranked Wildcats lost 3-2 on March 20 despite outshooting their opponents 43-15. It was the second time in three years that UNH lost a NCAA Frozen Four game by a single goal.

"I think we hit five or six posts," senior Leah Craig told newspaper reporters. "It was a tough game." It was a particularly heartbreaking loss for the team since it came on the heels of a 33-4-1 overall, 20-0-1 Hockey East, season, which tied the UNH record for wins in a single season.

"They looked like champions for every bit of 60 minutes, even if they didn't get to hoist the trophy," McCloskey says. "They deserved a better fate."

A better fate lay in store for three UNH players post-season. Kacey Bellamy '09 and Sam Faber '09 won gold medals as part of the U.S. Women's National Team at the IIHF World Women's Championship Division I on April 12, and Angela Taylor '09 of Scotland led Great Britain to a gold medal in Division III. Twin sisters Julia '11 and Stefanie Marty '11 of Switzerland played for the Swiss national team as well.

For the men's team, ranked fourth, its seventh consecutive trip to the NCAA playoffs ended in an upset by 12th-ranked Notre Dame in the first round. Later, Umile told The New Hampshire he had no excuses. "It was not our best performance. This was a special team and that's the real disappointing part for me."

A number of key players are leaving the men's team, including Hockey East Player of the Year Kevin Regan '08, team captain Matt Fornataro '08, Brad Flaishans '08 and Craig Switzer '08. "We'll be a young team next year," says Umile, "and the young guys are going to have to step into those special roles."

Freshman forward James vanRiemsdyk, who was drafted second overall by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, announced in May he would return to play for UNH. For a YouTube video of vanRiemsdyk in action for UNH, search for "James vanRiemsdyk Incredible Goal."

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