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NH College Hockey: Parker breaks through

By ALEX HALL
New Hampshire Union Leader

December 15. 2017 12:12AM
Franklin Pierce University's Haley Parker heads up ice during recent action. (Jon Donell/Franklin Pierce Athletics)



Haley Parker was frustrated with herself heading into the Franklin Pierce University women’s hockey team’s two-game home series with St. Michael’s College last month. The freshman forward from Londonderry and Proctor Academy had yet to score her first career goal despite plenty of opportunities.

Parker finally broke through when she scored on the power play with 5:57 remaining in the Ravens’ 5-2 victory over St. Michael’s on Nov. 10.

“Getting that first goal out of the way and the jitters of getting my first goal finally gone, that’s when I felt like I started hitting my stride,” Parker said.

Since registering her first goal, Parker has scored three more times and logged three assists over eight games. As Franklin Pierce (7-6-1) enters the holiday break, Parker ranks third on the team in scoring with 11 points (four goals, seven assists).

Getting her first goal out of the way is not the only reason behind Parker’s success. She has developed good chemistry with her linemates: senior center Alex Brolsma and sophomore right wing Meg Gilbride.

Gilbride has a very good shot while Brolsma, who is 5-foot-9, has good hands and knows how to use her height to her advantage in front of the net, Parker said. People have told Parker that she sees the ice well.

“We just all contribute so well together. I feel like that’s why we work,” Parker said. “We don’t step on each other’s toes. We’re not too selfish with the puck. I feel like my line in general moves the puck a lot.”

When Franklin Pierce finds itself in a specialty-teams situation, Parker can be found on one of the team’s two power-play units or on the penalty kill. Brolsma and Parker are usually the first forwards to go out when the Ravens are on the penalty kill, Parker said.

The Ravens, who enter the break on a three-game winning streak, have scored 10 of their 37 goals on the power play and own a .845 penalty-kill percentage.

“Our power play is where we get most of our goals,” Parker said. “And with the PK, I feel like we have a really good system. Our team is willing to go down and block shots and take one because we know it’s an opportunity to save a goal.”

When Franklin Pierce gets back on the ice next month, Parker wants to continue playing the way she has been recently.

“I’m not looking to score a bunch of goals,” Parker said. “I’m looking to make good plays and come out with a win.”

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WHILE it wasn’t under the most ideal circumstance, Mike Robinson realized a dream on Sunday at the Whittemore Center.

The freshman goaltender from Bedford made his first career home appearance for the University of New Hampshire men’s hockey team in its 4-3 loss to Merrimack College.

“I’m from New Hampshire. I’d always come to these games as a kid and to finally play in this rink is just a dream come true,” Robinson said after the setback.

After the Warriors took a 4-1 lead at the 6:43 mark of the second period, Wildcats coach Dick Umile relieved senior goaltender Danny Tirone in favor of Robinson. Tirone allowed four goals on the 11 shots he faced.

Robinson made 12 saves, including nine in the second period, over his 32:17 of time in net. Umile said Robinson “went in in a tough situation and did a good job.”

“I felt like I was seeing the puck well, I was feeling it well and I felt good,” Robinson said. “I just wanted to give my team a chance to come back in that game.”

Robinson, who was selected by the San Jose Sharks with the 86th pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, has allowed one goal on the 20 shots he has faced over two relief appearances. He made seven saves and allowed one goal over his 15:47 of time in net during the third period of UNH’s 5-2 loss at Providence College on Dec. 1.

It is tougher to come into a game in progress compared to starting, Robinson said, but he always makes sure he is mentally prepared in case he is called on.

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DARTMOUTH COLLEGE men’s hockey coach Bob Gaudet said every team goes through tough stretches during the season. For the Big Green, that experience has come at the beginning of the year.

Dartmouth will take a 2-7-1 overall record into its two-game, non-league road series at No. 2 Denver. The defending national champion Pioneers (9-3-4) will host Dartmouth tonight at 9 p.m. and again Saturday night at the same time.

The Big Green are 0-5-1 over their last six games and have not scored more than two goals in any of those contests.

“I keep on telling the guys that hard work works,” Gaudet said. “We’re working hard and practicing well and the adversity that we faced will help us be a much more stronger, confident team going into the new year.”

Part of the reason behind Dartmouth’s offensive struggles has been a tendency of being really unselfish with the puck instead of firing it on net, Gaudet said. The Big Green have also had difficulty getting out of their own zone at times.

“We’ve had stretches in games where we’ve spent too much time in our own end,” Gaudet said.

While Dartmouth has had its struggles, it did receive some good news on the injury front this week.

Senior goaltender Devin Buffalo, who has missed the past four games with a lower-body injury, should be available for one of the two games at Denver, Gaudet said. The Big Green will also see freshman defenseman Joey Matthews return to the ice sometime later this season, Gaudet said. Matthews has missed three games due to injury.

“It hasn’t been great in terms of Ws but I think we’re growing and our hard work is going to pay off,” Gaudet said.

The NH College Hockey column runs Fridays during the season. Alex Hall can be reached at ahall@unionleader.com.


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