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The University of New Hampshire women’s ice hockey team, third in both national polls, is 10-1-1 overall and 3-1-0 in Hockey East entering this weekend’s two-game home series vs. Northeastern University (2-8-1, 1-4-1 HE). The teams face off Nov. 17 (7 p.m.) and Nov. 18 (2 p.m.) at the Whittemore Center. Live stats will be available for both games at www.unhwildcats.com.
In 100 lifetime meetings, New Hampshire has a 64-29-7 record, including 3-0-0 last season, vs. Northeastern University. UNH won by sizable margins on the road (8-2, 11-1) and recorded a 2-0 win at home a year ago to extend its winning streak in the series to 15. In that three-game series, the ‘Cats recorded a 109-31 shot advantage and went 5-for-13 on the power play as well as 9-for-9 on the penalty kill.
The Wildcats have a 29-9-4 home record vs. the Huskies, and that includes an 11-3-2 mark at the Whittemore Center.
UNH head coach Brian McCloskey has a 15-0-0 record vs. Northeastern, and eight of the wins have been by shutout. The ‘Cats have outscored the Huskies 75-11 in McCloskey’s tenure.
In the storied history of these programs, UNH and NU have met five times in a league championship game and the ‘Cats hold a 4-1 edge.
PATON HONORED BY HOCKEY EAST
Kelly Paton, a freshman forward, was named Mission Hockey Rookie of the Week by Hockey East on Monday. Paton scored three goals to propel UNH to a 4-0 win and 1-1 tie against fourth-ranked St. Lawrence University. Paton gave the Wildcats a 1-0 lead in both games, and her shorthanded goal put the ‘Cats ahead 2-0 in the second period of the second game of the series. Sunday’s two-goal game marked the first multiple-goal effort of her 12-game career. Paton ranks fourth on the team in both goals (five) and assists (seven), and she has a team-best plus/minus rating of +8.
BOURDON RECEIVES NATIONAL AWARD
Senior goaltender Melissa Bourdon was named USCHO.com Defensive Player of the Week on Tuesday. Bourdon stopped 35 of 36 shots on goal for a 0.48 GAA, .972 save percentage and a shutout to backbone UNH to a 4-0 win and 1-1 tie against fourth-ranked St. Lawrence University, which had entered the weekend series ranked #5 in the nation in offense (4.20 gpg) and #2 on the power play (.299). Bourdon ascended into a tie for first place for the program’s career shutout mark of 26 with her 18-save effort in Sunday’s 4-0 victory; Bourdon holds sole possession of first place in the NCAA record book with the 26 career shutouts.
THE STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
New Hampshire enters the weekend with a 10-1-1 overall record that includes 6-0-1 at home and 3-1-0 in Hockey East. The Wildcats are in the midst of a seven-game homestand that started last weekend with a two-game series vs. fifth-ranked St. Lawrence University.
UNH has scored 22 of its 45 goals on the power play. The Wildcats have scored at least one power-play goal in 10 consecutive games and in 11 of 12 games this season.
One day after playing in the gold-medal game at the Four Nations Cup in Kitchener, Ontario, Kacey Bellamy returned to the UNH lineup last Sunday vs. St. Lawrence and matched her career highs in both assists and points with three assists. Bellamy recorded her first point in international play with an assist in the U.S. Select Team’s 7-0 win vs. Sweden on Nov. 10.
UNH’s eight Canadians (excluding goalie Melissa Bourdon) have combined to score 23 of the team’s 45 goals. When it comes to class, the juniors have produced 43% of the team’s offense with 42 points (14g, 28a).
The ‘Cats scored two even-strength goals in last Sunday’s 4-0 win vs. St. Lawrence. The last time UNH netted multiple even-strength goals in a game was eight games earlier – Oct. 7 at Minnesota.
New Hampshire held St. Lawrence to just one goal last weekend at the Whittemore Center with a 1-1 tie and a 4-0 victory. The last time the Saints were limited to one goal in two games of regular-season weekend was in the 1999-2000 season.
STACKING THEM UP
Here is a comparison of how UNH and Northeastern enter the weekend in the national statistics (34 teams):
Off. (gpg) 9 (3.75) 19 (2.64)
Def. (gpg) 3 (1.50) 32 (4.91)
PP (%) 4 (.278) 22 (.120)
PK (%) 3 (.934) 28 (.784)
NCAA RECORD IS TIED FOR FIRST AT UNH
Senior goaltender Melissa Bourdon moved into a tie for first place (with Jen Huggon; 2000-03) in the UNH record book for career shutouts with her 26th in an 18-save effort vs. St. Lawrence University on Nov. 12. Bourdon stands alone as the NCAA record holder, however, because three of Huggon’s shutouts were recorded when the NCAA did not recognize women’s hockey as a Division I sport.
Bourdon became the NCAA record holder with her 25th career shutout, which was a 13-save performance vs. Boston University on Oct. 29. Bourdon has five shutouts this season and went a span of four games – at Maine, vs. Brown, vs. BC and at BC – in which she surrendered just one goal.
Bourdon, a three-time Hockey East Goaltending Champion, recorded 10 shutouts – UNH’s second-highest single-season total – last season, four as a sophomore in 2005 and seven as a rookie, including one in her collegiate debut.
Fourteen of her 26 shutouts have been in Hockey East league action and two have come in postseason play. Bourdon holds the UNH record for consecutive shutouts (five) and consecutive shutout minutes (341:49).
Bourdon also ranks among the Wildcats’ career leaders in GAA (2nd; 1.62), wins (3rd; 72), saves (3rd; 1,747) and minutes (3rd; 5809:00).
Bourdon is also approaching the school benchmark for career victories. No. 2 on the list is Huggon (2000-03) with 74 and Alicia Roberts (1997-2000) holds the record with 76 career wins.
HOME SWEET HOME
The Wildcats home winning streak ended at 21 games following last Saturday’s 1-1 tie vs. St. Lawrence University, but the draw and subsequent win extended UNH’s unbeaten streak at the Whittemore Center to 29 games (25-0-4). The last visiting team to win at the Whitt was Dartmouth College (Jan. 5, 2005).
Since the arena opened in the 1995-96 season, UNH has compiled a 143-29-14 home record, which is an .805 winning percentage.
UNH won all 17 games at the Whittemore Center in the 2005-06 season. New Hampshire had not gone through a season undefeated at home since a 7-0-1 record at Snively Arena in the 1992 season.
THANKSGIVING WITH THE WILDCATS
For the second time in three years, the UNH women’s ice hockey team will entertain guests at the Whittemore Center for the Thanksgiving holiday. The 2006 UNH Tournament features two teams from Hockey East – UNH and Boston College – and two from the CHA (Wayne State and Mercyhurst). Three of the four teams are in this week’s national rankings.
The tourney opens Nov. 24 when BC faces off against Mercyhurst at 4 pm; UNH vs. Wayne State follows at 7 p.m. The second day of action features BC vs. Wayne State (4 pm) and UNH vs. Mercyhurst (7 pm).
HONORING A UNH COACHING LEGEND
For years now, photos of UNH women’s hockey teams and headshots of current Wildcats have been displayed on the concourse of the Whittemore Center. On December 10, 2006, this display will officially become commemorated as the Russell J. McCurdy Gallery with a dedication ceremony prior to the game vs. intrastate rival Dartmouth College.
McCurdy, an inductee of the UNH Hall of Fame, guided the Wildcats to a 264-36-10 overall record for an .868 winning percentage in 15 seasons (1978-1992). The program went undefeated in the initial four seasons (1978-81) at 72-0-1.
UNH won the EAIAW championship all four years of its existence (1980-93) and the ‘Cats won four ECAC titles under McCurdy’s direction.
HOCKEY EAST TOURNEY COMES TO DURHAM
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. 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.