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Roundup: UNH’s fan-less plans for hockey, basketball teams

Monitor staff
Published: 11/14/2020 5:15:30 PM
Modified: 11/14/2020 5:15:20 PM

The University of New Hampshire hockey and basketball teams will get a chance to play this season, but their fans will have to follow from a distance.

Hockey East released its proposed schedule earlier this week with the UNH women’s hockey team playing Boston College on Nov. 20 at the Whittemore Center in Durham and the New Hampshire men hosting B.C. at the Whitt on Nov. 21.

America East, UNH’s basketball conference, released its tentative schedule earlier this month with plans for an 18-game conference season consisting of nine weekends of back-to-backs against the same opponent in the same location. The Wildcat women are slated to open with a pair of home games against conference newcomer NJIT on Dec. 5 and 6 and the UNH men’s team opens on the road in Newark, N.J., at NJIT on Dec. 12 and 13.

“It speaks to the hard work and dedication of everyone involved at the university, from President (James) Dean’s leadership to all the students who have navigated their way through the semester,” UNH Director of Athletics Marty Scarano said of the potential winter season in a press release. “We are very proud of the way our staff, coaches and student-athletes have responded to this unprecedented challenge. Our Wildcats will now get the opportunity to represent the University doing what they love, but we also remain acutely aware of the danger of COVID-19 and will continue to maintain safety as the utmost priority above all else.”

No spectators will be permitted at any UNH home events as the school keeps the safety of the participating student-athletes, coaches and essential staff the top priority. People prohibited from attending include family, media and other UNH students and faculty. The Wildcats gymnastics and swimming & diving team do not have currently have schedules, but potential on-campus events for those sports will stick to the no-spectator policy.

As of now, the first five, and eight of the first 11, men’s hockey games will be televised on NESN, and a ninth among those first 11 will be on NESN+. And all of the men’s hockey games will be on the radio. The opening two women’s hockey games are scheduled to be on NESN. Those are all the currently announced plans to broadcast UNH games this winter.

■ America East will be a guard-driven league this season, at least according to the 2020-21 Preseason All-Conference Team. Four of the five players on the team are guards, the lone exception being UNH forward Nick Guadarrama. Last year, the 6-foot-5 Newington, Conn., native led the team in scoring (12.9 points per game) and field-goal percentage (48%) and was second in total rebounds (206) as the Wildcats finished the season 15-15.

“We’re very happy for Nick to be recognized as one of the top players in the conference,” UNH coach Bill Herrion said. “This says a lot for the respect that the other coaches in the league have for our players. Nick is a very important part of this basketball team, and we need him to take the next step with his game to help us get where we want to go.”

The America East head coaches picked the Wildcats to finish third in the 10-team conference in the preseason poll. Vermont was picked to finish first ahead of UMBC with Albany in fourth a spot behind New Hampshire.

Plymouth State in limbo

While Hockey East decided to play, the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference decided not to have a winter season, which means the Plymouth State men’s hockey team won’t have a chance to skate for a third-straight MASCAC title this winter. PSU could play a non-conference men’s hockey schedule, but that is still undecided. PSU is a Little East member in men’s and women’s basketball, but no decisions have been made about those schedules, either.

“It is very unfortunate for all of the MASCAC student-athletes, but the (conference) Presidents are making decisions based on keeping their students healthy and safe,” PSU Director of Athletics Kim Bownes said. “We don’t yet know what this means for Plymouth State men’s ice hockey, but we will keep moving forward to see what happens, particularly with the Little East Conference and other in-state universities.”

Youth hockey results

Owen Rumfelt scored a pair of goals and Owen Ritter had the other as the Concord Capitals Flanagan’s Southender Mite Elite team skated to a 3-1 win against the Mancheseter Flames. Cooper Vachon picked up the win in goal with plenty of defensive help from Kaylie Fitzgerald, Caleb Hollis, Sam Paul, Molly Przepiorka and Q Simpson.

■ Ethan Herrick had two goals and an assist for the Concord Capitals LeBreton Steele 11U team in its 5-3 win against Rochester. Asher Fernandes also scored two goals for the Capitals, William Thayer added one of his own and Chase Thomas had an assist.

■ Finn Brown had three assists and a goal as the Concord Capitals Elite Door of New England 16U team beat the New Hampshire Edge 16U. John Thomas, Nolan Fullerton and Trevor Brown also scored for Concord, and Colin O’Neil and Aidan Miller were outstanding in goal.

■ Ryder Manni had three goals and an assist for the Concord Capitals Joe Darrah Enterprises 10U Select Team in its 5-2 win against Rochester. Michael Gantner was strong in net for the Capitals, who also got goals from Joey Santito and Sam Scordo.

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