Editor's note: NESN.com will preview each Hockey East school this week.
Once again, New Hampshire was one of the best teams in the country last season, finishing second in the league and earning a bid to the NCAA Tournament. However, once again the Wildcats fell short of postseason success, failing to win Hockey East and failing to reach the Frozen Four. Head coach Dick Umile loses his elite scorers from last year but still has the talent on his roster to be a factor in Hockey East in 2011-12.
Record/finish in 2010-11
17-6-4 (38 points)
Second in Hockey East
Lost in Hockey East semifinal (Merrimack)
Lost in NCAA regional final (Notre Dame)
Key 2010-11 stat
The Wildcats' first line was a top line in every sense of the term. Seniors Paul Thompson, Mike Sislo and Phil DeSimone combined to score 36 goals and tally 65 assists for a total of 101 points. The trio accounted for over 40 percent of New Hampshire's offense.
Player to watch in 2011-12
Senior goaltender Matt Di Girolamo is one of the top returning netminders in the country, finishing last season with a 2.16 GAA and .931 save percentage. He logged the most minutes of any Hockey East goalie, starting all 39 games for his team.
"It's never easy to lose your top scorers from last season, but we have confidence in our younger players to step in and fill roles for us on our team."
Always a perennial contender in the league, UNH might take a rare step back with the losses of Thompson (last year's Hockey East Player of the Year), Sislo and DeSimone. Senior Stevie Moses (7-11-18) will lead the scoring push, but the Wildcats will not be as dangerous on offense as years past. Expect a top four finish in Durham, but don't expect UNH to be a top contender for the Hockey East title.