Looking to avenge their first losing season in 16 years, UNH started the 2012-13 campaign off on the right foot, earning a 5-3 victory over visiting St. Cloud State. That, however, wasn’t the only reason for the Wildcats to be happy on Friday night.
|UNH coach Dick Umile directs players during a Hockey East semifinals game against Merrimack at TD Garden in 2011. (Dave Arnold Photography)|
With the win, coach Dick Umile (Melrose, Mass.) notched career victory No. 500, making him the 22nd bench boss in college hockey history to reach the milestone.
“I told the team -- the guys gave me the game puck – it’s all about having a lot of good hockey players,” Umile said in his post-game press conference. “If you last long enough coaching good hockey players, they win hockey games. I just happened to be fortunate enough to be coaching this program under a lot of good hockey players.”
Umile, who served as an assistant coach for two seasons before taking over head coaching duties in 1990, has guided the Wildcats to 17 NCAA tournament appearances during his tenure and topped the 30-win mark on two occasions. UNH reached the national championship game in both 1999 and 2003.
According to UNH, he is just the eighth coach to notch 500 victories with one program.
“We’ve been waiting pretty much all summer for that one,” said senior defenseman Connor Hardowa, who notched three assists in the win over St. Cloud State. “We couldn’t get him that last one last year at BU, but it’s nice to see him get to 500. Not too many people have done it, so it’s an honor to be a part of the program when he gets that one. A lot of guys put in a lot of effort to get to 500, so we’re just a small piece of it.”
UNH will square off with St. Cloud State again on Saturday night at the Whittemore Center. They’ll begin their conference schedule next Saturday when they host the BU Terriers.