The University of New Hampshire women’s hockey team, ranked No. 4 in both polls, enters the weekend with a 22-3-4 overall record and the Wildcats are atop the Hockey East standings with a 14-1-1 league record. UNH plays 10th-ranked University of Connecticut (17-11-2, 12-4-1) in a home-and-home series with the teams facing off Feb. 16 in Storrs (Conn.) and Feb. 18 (2 p.m.) in Durham. With two points vs. UConn (one win or two ties), the Wildcats will win the regular season title for the fourth consecutive year.
    Sunday’s game is Senior Day for UNH, and the game will be broadcast live on the UNH Sports Network and on WUNH.
    New Hampshire has a 20-3-2 lifetime record vs. UConn, and that includes a 6-2 road win this season (Jan. 6). UNH has won four straight in the series (by an aggregate score of 20-3) since a three-game winless streak (0-2-1) at the end of the 2005 season. The Wildcats have a 9-2-1 home record in the series and a 7-1-1 mark on the road.
    In this year’s previous meeting, UNH led 1-0 at the end of the first period and 3-0 at the end of two before extending the advantage to 6-0 in the third. UConn scored a pair of 5-on-3 power-play goals late in the final frame to close the scoring. The ‘Cats recorded a 38-18 shot advantage. UConn’s Brittany Wilson stopped 32 shots, including 17 in the first period, while Melissa Bourdon recorded 16 saves defending UNH’s goal.
    The Wildcats have held the Huskies scoreless seven times, whereas UConn has shut out New Hampshire twice. This includes one of two scoreless ties in UNH’s 813-game history on Feb. 19, 2005.

    Nicole Hekle, a senior forward and captain, was named TPS Player of the Week by Hockey East on Monday. It marked the second time in as many weeks and the fifth time this season that a UNH Wildcat student-athlete received the TPS Player of the Week award.
    Hekle recorded four points with a two-assist game at Northeastern University and a two-goal game at Providence College to help UNH strengthen its position atop the Hockey East standings. She scored the game-winning goal vs. PC when she gave the Wildcats a 1-0 first-period lead – it was her 50th career goal – and recorded an assist on Saturday’s game-winning goal against NU. Sunday marked her first multiple-goal game of the season and the two assists matched her season high

    New Hampshire enters the week at 22-3-4 overall with a 14-1-1 mark in Hockey East, 8-2-1 on the road and 5-3-3 vs. nationally-ranked teams. The Wildcats are unbeaten in six games (5-0-1) and 8-1-1 in the last 10 games. In addition, UNH is unbeaten in its last 12 Hockey East games (11-0-1) and undefeated in six home games (4-0-2).
    UNH’s penalty kill has been successful in 42 of its last 43 chances, which spans nine games and calculates to a .977 percentage.
    New Hampshire has recorded 20+ victories all five years under head coach Brian McCloskey and 14 times in the 30-year history of the program.
    The Wildcats have recorded 30+ shots in 25 of 29 games this season, and that includes 14 times in which they have 40+ shots.
    UNH closes the regular season with five games in 10 days and will travel a total of approximately 800 miles to play at UConn (Feb. 16), at Boston University (Feb. 21) and at Vermont (Feb. 24-25). The Wildcats also have a home game vs. UConn on Feb. 18 as part of the five-game stretch.
    The Wildcats recently (Jan. 27–Feb. 3) had a stretch in which they played four games in eight days and went 3-0-1 while traveling a total of 575 miles to play road games vs. Providence (3-1 W) and Boston University (4-1 W); they also played at home vs. PC (2-2 tie) and Boston College (4-2 W).

    Here is a comparison of how UNH and UConn enter the weekend in the national statistics (34 teams):
                                UNH            UConn
Off. (gpg)             6 (4.24)        24 (2.50)
Def. (gpg)            3 (1.48)       14 (2.27)
PP (%)                 4 (.247)       12 (.192)
PK (%)                 3 (.904)       20 (.832)

    UNH’s Whittemore Center will be the site of the 2007 Women’s Hockey East Championship. The semifinal games will take place March 3 and the championship game is March 4. Game times have been announced as 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. for the semifinal games, and the title game will begin at 12:30 p.m.
    This will be the first time in the league’s five-year history that the tournament will be held outside of Boston. Northeastern University’s Matthews Arena was the site of the 2003, 2004 and 2006 championships, and Boston University’s Walter Brown Arena was the venue in 2005.
    Tickets for the 2007 Women’s Hockey East Championship Tournament are on sale now and may be purchased in person at the Whittemore Center Box Office, by phone at 1-866-WILDCAT, or on-line via www.unhwildcats.com.
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