COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The University of New Hampshire, which won the 2006 Hockey East regular season and tournament titles and advanced to the Frozen Four in compiling a 33-3-1 record, was picked No. 2 in the nation in the preseason USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Women’s College Hockey Poll that was released Tuesday.
    UNH received a total of 145 points to place behind defending national champion University of Wisconsin (18 first-place votes; 189 points). The University of Minnesota (140 points), Dartmouth College (one; 125) and St. Lawrence University (117) complete the top five.
    UNH returns 17 letterwinners – including three All-America selections and a Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award Top 10 Finalist – from last year’s team that swept the Hockey East regular-season and tournament titles and advanced to the Frozen Four in compiling a school-record 33 victories.
    Junior forward and tri-captain Jennifer Hitchcock (LaSalle, Ontario) led the nation in scoring a year ago at 1.78 points per game with 66 points in 37 games while Martine Garland (Toronto, Ontario), another junior tri-captain, was No. 1 in scoring among defensemen at 1.09 ppg. Senior goaltender Melissa Bourdon (Ile Bizard Quebec) was the national leader in both wins (28) and winning percentage (.891) and ranked second in goals-against-average with a school-record mark of 1.18.
    New Hampshire, the host of the 2007 Hockey East Championship on March 3-4, opens the season with a two-game home series against Niagara University. The teams face off Sept. 29 and Sept. 30 with a seven o’clock start time for both games at the Whittemore Center.
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