#10 MEN'S HOCKEY BATTLES MERRIMACK IN HOME-AND-HOME SERIES

AUDIO | STATS: FRI - SAT   | VIDEO: FRI SAT | GAME NOTES
DURHAM, N.H. --The 10th-ranked University of New Hampshire men's ice hockey team enters a weekend home-and-home series with Merrimack College. The Wildcats travel to Merrimack on Friday night at 7 p.m. at Lawler Arena in North Andover, Mass. UNH will play host to the Warriors on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. live on NESN (coverage beginning at 7 p.m.). Doors will open at 6 p.m. on Saturday night at Whittemore Center. Saturday night will also be "Senior Night" when the program will take time in pregame to honor the accomplishments of its seniors. Both games can be heard on the Wildcat Sports Network with live audio, live stats and live video available online at www.unhwildcats.com.

SCOUTING THE WARRIORS:
Merrimack enters the weekend ‘s series 8-18-4 overall with a 4-16-3 record in Hockey East. Most recently, the Warriors took three of a possible four points last weekend with Providence College. The teams skated to a 1-1 tie on Saturday, while MC rolled over Providence 5-1 on Sunday.  The Warriors are 3-1-1 in their last five games.  Merrimack is fighting for a spot in the eight-team field in the Hockey East playoffs. The Warriors are currently on the outside looking in sitting in 10th place two points behind ninth place Providence and six behind eighth-place Maine. Chris Barton and Rob Ricci lead the Warriors offensively with 22 (9-13) and 20 points (10-10), respectively, while Jesse Todd is tied for second among freshmen forwards in Hockey East games with 17 points. Freshman netminder Joe Cannata is 6-9-4 with a .918 save percentage and a 2.36 GAA.

SERIES HISTORY VS. MERRIMACK:
The Wildcats hold the advantage in the all-time series vs. Merrimack College at 59-12-8 in 79 all-time meetings dating back to Jan. 16, 1960...The Wildcats have won 11 of the last 14 meetings, which includes a 2-0-1 record in last year’s season series. Merrimack won this year’s only meeting in a 4-3 come-from-behind win on Nov. 29 at Whittemore Center. UNH owns a 22-3-2 all-time record vs. Merrimack at the Whittemore Center and Coach Umile in his 19-year coaching career has compiled a 47-9-7 all-time mark against the Warriors...The ‘Cats are 12-2-0 in the last 14 meetings against Merrimack at Towse Rink. In UNH’s last eight wins against the Warriors, UNH has outscored Merrimack, 49-10. Since 1995, the Wildcats are 35-3-5 against MC.Seniors Jerry Pollastrone(2-2-4) and Thomas Fortney (0-4-4) and junior Bobby Butler (2-2-4) are the active leading Wildcat scorers against Merrimack with four points. Junior goaltender Brian Foster has posted a 0-1-1 lifetime record against the Warriors with a 2.41 GAA, a .919 save percentage.

GETTING OUT TO AN EARLY LEAD: UNH has benefitted from getting an early lead. The Wildcats are 11-0-3 when leading after two and 9-1-3 with a lead after the first period.

POLLASTRONE APPROACHING 100:
  With 91 points, senior forward Jerry Pollastrone is looking to become the 67th member of the Wildcat century club. Last season, Mike Radja and Matt Fornataro joined the prestigious list.

THANK YOU SENIORS:
On Saturday night prior to the game, the Wildcats will honor the accomplishments of its six seniors. The group as already won 87 games and a pair of Hockey East regular season titles. Thank you Greg Collins, Thomas Fortney, Jamie Fritsch, Kevin Kapstad, Jerry Pollastrone and Alan Thompson.

van RIEMSDYK NOTCHES SECOND CAREER MULTI-GOAL GAME:
While James van Riemsdyk has already racked up 24 goals and 68 points  in his two seasons with the Wildcats, Saturday’s two goal effort was just the second of his Wildcat career. The first came on Nov. 28, 2008 at Northeastern.

‘CATS FINDING OFFENSIVE STRIDE:
The Wildcat offense has been firing on all cylinders lately as it has scored three or more goals in six of the last seven games and four or more goals five times during that stretch.

SOPHOMORE 50:
UNH’s sophomores have lit the lamp exactly 50 times this season accounting for 55 percent of the offense.  Mike Sislo (17) and James van Riemsdyk (13) are the top two goals scorers on the team.

SOPHOMORES NET ALL SEVEN GOALS LAST WEEKEND:
UNH’s sophomores scored all seven goals last weekend. James van Riemsdyk, Danny Dries and Phil DeSimone each netted a pair of goals, while Mike Sislo potted one.

MOVING ON UP:
With a pair of quality wins over No. 17 Boston College, UNH has moved up to third place in the Hockey East standings, tied with Vermont, and is eighth in the most current pairwise with Cornell and Miami. In the national polls, UNH is 10th in the USA Today poll and 12th in the USCHO poll.

UNH CAPTURES 21st-STRAIGHT HOCKEY EAST PLAYOFF APPEARANCE:
With a win on Friday night, UNH officially qualified for its 21st-straight Hockey East playoff appearance. The Wildcats have qualified for the post season in every year since 1989.

WELL-BALANCED WINNING:
With a win over BC, the Wildcats have wins over eight different Hockey East teams. Merrimack is the only team the Wildcats have yet to defeat in 2008-09.

SCORING IN EVERY WAY:
In Friday night’s 3-2 win, the Wildcats scored a shorthanded, a power play and an even-strength goal.

UNH CONTINUES HOME SUCCESS AGAINST EAGLES:
The ‘Cats are 16-2 in 18 all-time meetings against the Eagles at Towse Rink.

‘CATS CONTINUE FEBRUARY SUCCESS:
UNH is 4-1-1 in the month of February and went unbeaten in February last season at 7-0-1 for the first time in over 80 years. February marks the third-consecutive month the Wildcats have gone .500 or better.

KAPSTAD TALLIES 20th ASSIST:
Senior defensemen Kevin Kapstad is having a benchmark season, he had just 18  points (7g, 11a) in his first three season but already has 21 points (1g, 20a) this season. With his 20th assist on Friday night, he becomes the first Wildcat defenseman to have 20 assists since Brian Yandle had 24 helpers in 2005-06.

DESIMONE AND DRIES EACH SCORE A PAIR:
Phil DeSimone and Danny Dries each scored a pair of goals this weekend. DeSimone and Dries tallied on each night of the weekend sweep of BC.

SISLO APPROACHING 20 GOALS:
Mike Sislo has 17 goals this season and looks to become the first 20-goal scorer since Trevor Smith had 21 goals in 2006-07. Before Smith you have to go back to 2004-05 when Preston Callander (25), Brett Hemingway (22) and Jacob Micflikier (20) all lit the lamp 20+ times.

van RIEMSDYK HEATING UP AT THE RIGHT TIME:
  van Riemsdyk had three of UNH’s seven goals last weekend and has scored in five straight games (4g,3a) and six of the last seven (4g, 4a).

van RIEMSDYK, SISLO ONE-TWO PUNCH SHORTHANDED:
James van Riemsdyk and Mike Sislo are back at it shorthanded. van Riemsdyk scored shorthanded on Friday with a primary assist from Mike Sislo. The duo have combined for all five shorthanded goals and seven points overall. Sislo is the league leader in shorthanded points (2g, 2a), while van Riemsdyk is the leader in shorthanded goals (3g, 0a).

van RIEMSDYK CONTINUES SUCCESS AGAINST EAGLES:
James van Riemsdyk 11 points (5g, 6a) in seven career games against BC.

POLLASTRONE EXTENDS POINT-SCORING STREAK TO FOUR: 
Jerry Pollastrone has scored in four-straight games with a goal and three assists.

‘CATS UNBEATEN IN LAST FOUR, AMONG NATION’S TOP STREAKS:
UNH is unbeaten in its last four games (3-0-1), only five teams in the country have longer streaks than the Wildcats.
Current Unbeaten Streak:        W- L- T      Games
    Boston University        9- 0- 3         12
    North Dakota                          5- 0- 0          5
    RIT                                   4- 0- 1          5
    Colorado College                      3- 0- 2          5
    UMass Lowell                          3- 0- 2          5
    New Hampshire                         3- 0- 1          4
    Notre Dame                            4- 0- 0          4
    Robert Morris                         3- 0- 1          4
    St. Lawrence                          3- 0- 1          4
    Harvard                               2- 0- 2          4

SATURDAY NIGHT HOCKEY ON NESN:
Saturday’s game will be broadcast live on NESN. The game will start at 7:30 with the pre-game show at 7:00. Overall, the Wildcats will be on NESN five times during the final two months of the season. Tom Caron(play-by-play) and Craig Janney (color analyst) will call the games for NESN’s Hockey East Friday Night broadcasts with Bob Beers (studio host) and Brendan Walsh (studio analyst).

COLLEGE HOCKEY NEWS’ PAIRWISE RATINGS (AS OF 2/23):
Rk     Team     PCWs     W-L-T     Win %     Rk     RPI     Rk

1      Boston University     24      23-5-4      .7813      2      .5970*     1
2t     Notre Dame     22     25-5-3     .8030     1     .5828*     2
2t     Michigan     22     24-10-0     .7059     6     .5706     3
4t     Denver     20     19-9-4     .6563     9t     .5595     5
4t     Vermont     20     17-8-5     .6500     11     .5582     6
6     Princeton     18     20-7-0     .7407     3t     .5546*     7
7     Northeastern     17     20-8-4     .6875     8     .5675     4
8t     New Hampshire     16     16-9-5     .6167     15     .5504     9
8t     Cornell     16     17-6-4     .7037     7     .5508     8
8t     Miami     16     18-9-5     .6406     12     .5477     11
11     North Dakota     15     20-11-3     .6324     13     .5486     10
12     Yale     14     19-6-2     .7407     3t     .5476*     12
13     Minnesota-Duluth 12     16-9-7     .6094     16     .5424     13
14     St. Lawrence     11     17-11-4     .5938     18     .5306     16
15     Ohio State     10     19-11-4     .6176     14     .5386     14
16     Colorado College     9     16-9-8     .6061     17     .5333     15
17t     Wisconsin     8     16-13-3     .5469     21t     .5298     17
17t     Air Force     8     22-8-2     .7188     5     .5298*     18
19     Minnesota     6     13-11-6     .5333     25t     .5284     19
20     St. Cloud State     5     17-13-2     .5625     19t     .5257     21
21t     Mass.-Lowell     4     15-13-2     .5333     25t     .5252     22
21t     Boston College     4     13-12-5     .5167     29t     .5259     20
23     Alaska     2     15-11-6     .5625     19t     .5219     23
24     Massachusetts     1     14-15-3     .4844     33     .5097     24
25     RIT     0     20-10-2     .6563     9t     .5089     25

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