November 29, 2006
Meet Mr. Smith

By Jeff Howe

It's hard to imagine things could be going much better for Trevor Smith right now. The sophomore forward is leading New Hampshire in scoring with 11 goals and 11 assists, surpassing last year's totals (10-10—20) in just 11 games.

Hockey East Notebook

Some people say that stopping UNH's top line, which includes senior Jacob Micflikier (pictured), is the best way to beat the Wildcats. Trevor Smith and a strong supporting cast are disproving that theory.

National TV Schedule

And what's better than scoring? Well, the Wildcats are winning. After dropping a pair of home games at the end of October, UNH has ripped off a nine-game unbeaten streak (8-0-1) and is riding six wins in a row on its way to vaulting to No. 2 in the country.

Smith is leading a group that is winning in traditional Wildcat way – flying all over the ice and putting on a scoring spree. UNH leads the nation with 4.62 goals per game, lighting the lamp 60 times through 13 contests.

But with guys like Brett Hemingway and Jacob Micflikier sharing the spotlight on New Hampshire's top line, it's come as somewhat of a surprise that someone with the common surname of Smith, barely halfway through his second collegiate year and playing on the second line is leading the lamp lighting charge.

That's sort of where the surprises end, though. First, UNH's "second line" of Smith, junior Matt Fornataro and sophomore Jerry Pollastrone is one of the deadliest lines in college hockey, compiling 58 points this season.

And second, Smith and the back of the net have met before – quite often. Before showing up in Durham, he was the third-leading scorer in the USHL with 29 goals and 39 assists in 60 games for the Omaha Lancers.

So while Hockey East fans sit back and scratch their heads wondering why Trevor Smith is terrorizing their teams, they may not have realized that it was merely a matter of time. Perhaps they just needed a proper introduction.

Here it goes. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Trevor Smith.

"He is as good of a forward as there is in this league," UNH coach Richard Umile says. "I think he has proven that already. He is a good hockey player, and he is a very smart hockey player on top of the fact that he is very skilled. It's not by accident that he finds himself in those spots. He puts himself there.

"We were hoping this was going to happen. I think he proved that last year in the second half of the season when he became one of the better players, especially one of the better freshmen in the league. He didn't quite get the recognition he deserved or people weren't quite sure what he was going to be. We knew he was going to be good. He is a great goal scorer, and he is deadly with his shot."

Smith's biggest asset is indeed his shot, which he spent countless hours perfecting during the offseason. While burying 10 pucks last year was mildly impressive for a freshman, it wasn't enough.

So he shot. And he shot some more. There were shooting schools and lessons and tireless practices. He says he shot "hundreds of pucks" every day getting ready for his sophomore campaign.

When Smith is left with a one-on-one opportunity against Boston College goalie Cory Schneider – like he was during UNH's 6-3 win on Nov. 22 – he finds himself staring into a red light, raising his stick and hugging his teammates. Schneider may be the premier goalie in Hockey East, but Smith made it look easy that night, picking out a corner and hitting it. That goal turned out to be his 21st point of the season, a new career-high.

"He is a natural goal scorer," Pollastrone says. "He had 10 goals last year, but I think he was a little disappointed with that. We saw in practice that he could score, and he just got off to a good start and kept on going."

"Confidence is his biggest thing," Fornataro says of Smith's vast improvement. "He's got a great shot, and he knows how to get open. He knows how to pick his spots."

Smith, Pollastrone and Fornataro played together most of last season, too. They attribute that factor into their success this year. The trio spends time together on and off the ice. They're in each other's heads.

"It's huge for us," Smith says. "We know where each of us are on the ice. We know where we're going on faceoffs and little things like that. It gives us an advantage on the offensive side of the puck."

"They're both snipers," says Fornataro, the point guard of the group. "We have a good thing going. They get open, and I like to find them."

Smith claims it's the simple things that have translated into a greatly improved year. He worked hard, gained confidence and adapted better to the college lifestyle. He didn't exactly wave a magic wand and turn into the league's highest scorer.

And he doesn't plan on slowing down. Why ruin a good thing?

"I'm just not going to think about anything," Smith says. "It's working right now, and I'm just going to go out there and keep playing the game, playing with these two linemates and having some fun."


Rivalries make for great quotes: The dominance Boston University showcased against Boston College last year was obscene. The Terriers won the Beanpot, stole the regular season league championship and then took home a classic overtime battle for the Hockey East championship.

When the two storied programs met in the NCAA Northeast Regional in Worcester, BU was the proud owner of a four-game winning streak over its Comm. Ave. counterpart.

But that's where the momentum swung heavily back in BC's favor. The Eagles took the Terriers to the woodshed, disposing the Pugs by a 5-0 score on their way to a national championship appearance.

Boston University's remarkable 19-1-2 second-half run was a thing of the past on the heels of one flat night – against the last team it could stomach losing to. And don't think the Terriers have forgotten.

"I've been waiting a long time to play them again," Terrier goalie John Curry said about this weekend's home-and-home with the Eagles. "I can't go about it too much differently as a goalie because I have my routine. If I try to do something I don't usually do, that can take me off my game. There is definitely a little extra fire anytime you play BC, but especially after how things went down last year. We were all pretty upset about it."

"There hasn't been a day that has gone by that I haven't thought about that game," Peter MacArthur echoed.

And although the Terriers were at home, their heads were not far from Milwaukee, not while BC was still playing.

"I'm glad they didn't win [the national championship], though," MacArthur said.

"So glad," Bryan Ewing quickly responded, wry grin and all.


Great Weekend Getaway
120x60 - Brand Red

BU at BC (Fri.)
BC at BU (Sat.)

There's the hype, the hatred, and all the hoopla. It's Jack Parker and Jerry York. It's the beanpot before the Beanpot. It's BU and BC, and it's on tap twice this weekend.

What To Do While You’re There: First of all, don't drive because you'll get lost. Second, go to Abe & Louie's on Boylston St., and try the best steak in town.

Stick Salute

If you're spending your weekend on the left side of Massachusetts, there is some serious sports action happening at UMass. On Friday night, the Minutemen host Niagara at 7 p.m. in hockey. At 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, the No. 3 UMass football team hosts UNH in the NCAA Quarterfinals. And then at 7:30 p.m. Saturday night, the men's basketball team tips off against Boston College. Things don't get much better than that.

Bench Minor

Merrimack has scored 14 goals in 12 games this season. The Warriors have been shut out three times, scored one goal six times, two goals once and three goals twice. They have scored just four goals in their six-game losing streak and haven't scored more than one goal in any of those contests.

• An old adage states that tying is like kissing your sister. We're not exactly looking for any hard evidence to prove the theory, but Jack Parker, whose Terriers have a league-high five ties, took the saying and ran with it after his team's draw with UMass on Tuesday night.

"We don't have a sister, so why are we kissing our sister so much here? Another tie," Parker said.

• Speaking of the tie between BU and UMass, that was the first point the Minutemen had ever earned at Agganis Arena. UMass had lost six straight road contests to the Terriers, including a two-game sweep at Agganis in last year's Hockey East quarterfinals.

• The last thing Maine fans probably wanted to see was their star and early Hobey Baker favorite Michel Léveillé leave the ice with an injury. But 58 seconds into the second period of a 3-2 loss at Vermont last Saturday, Léveillé was hit from behind by Kenny Macauley and went head-first into the boards. The Vermont defenseman took a five-minute major and game misconduct, while Maine's leading goal and point scorer didn't return due to a back injury. His status is still uncertain from here on out, but the Black Bears have just a single game this week, Friday against Providence.

• Unhappy with his leading scorer's effort, Jack Parker benched Kenny Roche last week in an eventual 2-1 win over Harvard. The Terriers in general have been plagued with inconsistency this season so the wake-up call put the team on notice. Roche didn't score in his first game back against Yale, but he set up BU's second goal against UMass on Tuesday.

• Vermont beat Harvard, 2-1, in overtime on Tuesday. But because the storyline never seems to get old, we'll remind you that Catamount coach Kevin Sneddon and Harvard's head honcho Ted Donato were teammates on the Crimson's 1989 national championship team.

• UNH's 6-3 win at BC on Thanksgiving Eve served as the Wildcats' first road win against the Eagles since Nov. 19, 2002.

• UVM's win over Maine on Saturday marked its first home victory over the Black Bears since Feb. 15, 1983.

A variety of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report