DURHAM, N.H.  – Brian McCloskey, fifth-year head coach of the University of New Hampshire women’s ice hockey team, announced that four student-athletes have signed a National Letter of Intent to join the UNH program for the 2007-08 season. The incoming class is comprised of Courtney Birchard (Mississauga, Ontario), Raylen Dziengelewski (Southwick, Mass.), Kayley Herman (Weyburn, Saskatchewan) and Jenn Wakefield (Pickering, Ontario).
    “Our entire coaching staff is excited by the addition of these four outstanding student athletes,” McCloskey said. “Collectively, this foursome represents one of the most talented classes in the country and we're thrilled to welcome them to the UNH family.”
    Birchard is a 5-foot-9 quick and athletic forward out of Lincoln M. Alexander high school, where she has lettered in soccer and badminton. She guided the Toronto Jr. Aeros hockey team to the league and provincial championships last season and competed for Team Ontario in 2005. Birchard compiled 32 points (21g, 11a) in 29 games last season for the Aeros and this year as a captain, she has six points in ninth games.
    Dziengelewski, a 5-7 defenseman from The Loomis Chaffee School, participated at the USA Hockey National Hockey Camp in 2003, 2005 and 2006. She led the Loomis Chaffee School to the New England quarterfinals in her sophomore and junior seasons and earned NEPSGIHA All-Star Team status last season as team captain. Dziengelewski also served as captain of the 2006 field hockey team and received All-Star Team recognition; she has also lettered in softball at Loomis Chaffee. Dziengelewski, a poised puck handler and strong two-way defenseman, skated on the Connecticut Polar Bears U-19 Team that won the NAHA championship in 2005 and 2006. In 43 games last season for the Polar Bears, she recorded 34 points (six goals, 28 assists) and an impressive plus/minus rating of +58.
    Herman is a 5-4 athletic and agile goaltender out of Athol Murray College of Notre Dame, where she has competed in hockey, softball, rugby and badminton. She led the Hounds to the provincial and Western Shield championships in both 2004 and 2005. Herman has also led her team to the Canadian Midget Female Championships. Herman participated in the 2005 Canadian U-18 Championships for Team Saskatchewan.
    Wakefield, a 5-9 prototypical power forward, participated in the Canadian U-22 National Development Camp in both 2005 and 2006. She is currently playing for the Etobicoke Dolphins in the NWHL and in seven games this season, she has recorded seven points on four goals and three assists. Wakefield led the Team Ontario U-18 Team to the championship in 2006. She also letters in field hockey and rugby at Dunbardon High School.
    This quartet joins the winningest women’s collegiate hockey program in the United States. Now in its 30th season as a varsity sponsored sport, UNH has compiled an overall record of 593-154-49 for a .776 winning percentage. That mark includes a 114-28-14 record (.776 winning percentage) in coach McCloskey’s tenure.

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