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UNH hockey: Sorkin’s rejuvenation sparks Wildcats’ scoring success

Call it a comeback, call it improvement, or call it anything else you want.

Whatever name you want to slap on it, the 2013-14 season is shaping up to be a memorable one for Nick Sorkin. And for the UNH men’s hockey team, it couldn’t be more timely.

Sorkin is leading the resurgent Wildcats offense with seven goals, already just two shy of his career high set two seasons ago. He’s been busy around the net, knocking in feeds and loose pucks that stray away from the goaltender, and the No. 20 Wildcats – with 29 goals in their last seven games, a stretch that has seen Sorkin pot five – have taken off as a result.

“He’s been a leader in the locker room, he’s been a leader on the ice,” Coach Dick Umile said. “We moved him over to wing with (Kevin) Goumas and it’s clicking. So he’s playing well. He’s doing an awful lot for us.”

He’s doing what he was expected to do last year, but never really got the chance. He broke his hand in a New Year’s Eve win over Bemidji State and, though he returned, he never really recovered. His shot was gone and his aggressiveness had vanished, and he limped to a final line of two goals and 15 assists, well below the team-leading 35 points (nine goals, 26 assists) he notched in his sophomore year.

“He never really came back,” Umile said. “He came back and he’s stronger. He worked hard in the offseason, and he’s come in with a great attitude.”

That and a physical element that UNH was missing with Austin Block’s departure. At 185 pounds, he’s hardly a hulking presence, but he brings strength with a 6-foot-3 build, and his ability to get dirty down low and put in rebounds, deflections and quick passes has mixed well with the Wildcats’ playmakers, especially Kevin Goumas, who he’s been partnered with during the team’s last seven games.

“Just stick with it,” Sorkin said, regarding his re-emergence. “I’m just glad I have the opportunity to play where I’m at. … I love playing with (linemates Goumas and Matt Willows). I think we’re really clicking.”

No doubt. The Wildcats are overjoyed to hear Sorkin sounding like that – though his play’s been doing most of the talking for him.

(Drew Bonifant can be reached at 369-3340 or at abonifant@cmonitor.com or via Twitter @dbonifant.)

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