The University of New Hampshire women’s hockey team, currently ranked No. 2 in both national polls, has a 26-3-1 overall record that includes a 16-0-1 mark in Hockey East. UNH plays a home-and-home series against Providence College this weekend as the Wildcats hit the road for a Feb 23 (1 p.m.) matchup and then play host to the Friars on Feb. 24 (2 p.m.). Sunday’s game will be broadcast live on the UNH Sports Network.

One of the oldest rivalries in women’s college hockey continues this weekend when New Hampshire faces off against Providence College. UNH holds a 66-38-12 edge in the series with an eight-game unbeaten streak of 6-0-2 vs. the Friars (breakdown of 3-0-0 on the road and 3-0-2 at home). The Wildcats have a 22-18-5 road record with a 4-5-1 mark in their last 10 trips to Schneider Arena.

The Wildcats have a 34-7-7 home record vs. PC that includes a 15-1-4 mark at the Whittemore Center; Providence is 0-12-4 at the Whitt since recording a 4-3 win on Jan. 11, 1997.

One month ago at the Whittemore Center, the visitors took a 1-0 lead late in the first period but the ‘Cats rallied to tie the score, 1-1, before the first intermission. UNH outshot the Friars 17-9 over the last two periods – and 3-1 in OT – but the teams skated to a 1-1 tie as the Wildcats’ Kayley Herman stopped 18 shots overall and PC counterpart Danielle Ciarletta made 27 saves. In special teams, UNH was 1-for-2 on the power play and 1-for-1 on the penalty kill.

    New Hampshire enters the weekend with a 26-3-1 overall record (16-0-1 Hockey East; 12-2-0 on the road; 14-1-1 at home). UNH’s current 12-game unbeaten streak (110-1) is the team’s longest of the season and third unbeaten streak of at least six games this season; the ‘Cats recorded previous streaks of eight games (8-0-0) and six games (6-0-0).

The Wildcats clinched a share of the Hockey East regular-season title with last weekend’s sweep of Vermont. It is the fifth consecutive regular-season crown for the ‘Cats (including 2005, when they shared with Providence). UNH will be the outright regular-season champion with one more point – or with one more loss or tie by UConn.

UNH’s penalty kill enters the home-and-home series vs. PC perfect in 11 games and 58 consecutive shorthanded situations. It is the team’s longest PK streak in more than a decade.

The ‘Cats have won 20+ games all six years under the guidance of head coach Brian McCloskey. Four of the top five seasons in terms of wins – including No. 1 (33 wins) in 2006 – have come in McCloskey’s tenure. Last year’s 28-win total ranks third and the 27-win season of ‘03 is fourth. This year’s 26 is the fifth-highest mark.

UNH’s 16-0-1 start in Hockey East is the longest unbeaten streak at the outset of a season in the six-year history of the league. The Wildcats opened with nine-game unbeaten streaks in 2003 (9-0-0) and 2004 (8-0-1); Providence is the team that ended both of those streaks.

A glance at the goal and shot totals portrays UNH’s league dominance. In 17  Hockey East games, the ‘Cats have surrendered a total of 13 goals; UNH has scored more than that in all three periods with 31 in the third period, 27 in the first and 23 in the second. New Hampshire has yielded a total of 219 shots; in comparison, UNH’s lowest shot total in a period is 227 (in the third); the ‘Cats have 230 in the second and 234 in the opening frame.

    Tickets for the 6th annual Hockey East Championship Tournament can be purchased by calling the UConn box office at (877) 288-2666. The tournament will be held March 8-9 at the University of Connecticut’s Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum.

    UNH enters the weekend with a six-game winning streak – the Wildcats also had eight-, six- and five-game winning streaks earlier this season. The current six-game stretch and the five-game  win streak comprise a majority of the team’s 12-game unbeaten streak (11-0-1). New Hampshire outscored the opposition 57-10 in those 12 games.

UNH enters the series against PC with double-digit shots in 15 consecutive periods and in 17 of 18 periods during its six-game winning streak.

The Wildcats also have a 10-game home unbeaten streak (9-0-1) and a seven-game road unbeaten streak (7-0-0) as well as a 36-game unbeaten streak (33-0-3), including postseason, against Hockey East teams.

    Jennifer Hitchcock, with her six-point weekend against Vermont, climbed past U.S. Olympian Karyn Bye (‘93; 164 points) into eighth place on UNH’s all-time points list with 165 (86g, 79a); Andria Hunter (‘90) is No. 7 with 170 career points. Hitchcock is No. 9 on the career goals list; Hunter is eighth at 91.

Sadie Wright-Ward ascended to No. 10 on UNH’s all-time assist leaderboard Feb. 17 against Vermont with the 84th of her career. Wright-Ward carried a 10-game point-scoring streak – the longest such streak by a Wildcat this season – into the weekend with an assist in six straight games.

Martine Garland ranks fifth on UNH’s defenseman scoring list with 101 career points. Cindy MacKay (‘83) and Kristen Thomas (‘04) share the record of 108. And among defensemen, Garland’s 82 assists ranks second only to Thomas’ 83.

Twin sisters Julia and Stefanie Marty both recorded a point in the same game for the first time this season Feb. 16 vs. Vermont; Julia tallied an assist and Stefanie netted two goals.

    UNH has compiled a 12-2-0 road record that includes 8-0-0 in Hockey East and 4-2-0 against nationally-ranked teams. The ‘Cats have won seven consecutive road games.

Sadie Wright-Ward and Jenn Wakefield both have 12 goals to lead the team in that statistic. Wright-Ward also has seven assists for a team-high 19 points while Wakefield has six assists for a total of 18 points. Sam Faber (11g, 7a) is second in both goals and points while Leah Craig (4g, 13a) is the team leader in road assists. Kelly Paton, with 15 points in 14 road games, is the fifth Wildcat averaging more than one point per game on the road.

Kayley Herman has started 12 road games and has compiled an 11-1-0 record with a 1.17 GAA, .938 save percentage and three shutouts. Lucy Schoedel is 1-1-0 with a 1.50 GAA and .906 save percentage.

    New Hampshire has been very successful at defending home ice this season with a 14-1-1 record. UNH has outscored the opposition 69-17 (averages of 4.31 gpg/1.06 gpg) with a 563-244 shot advantage (35.19 per game/15.25 per game) in 16 home games.

Five ‘Cats are averaging at least one point per game at the Whittemore Center; Sam Faber leads the way with 24 points (10g, 14a) in 16 games and she also has a team-best .204 shooting percentage. Jennifer Hitchcock (11-12-23), Sadie Wright-Ward (5-14-19), Jenn Wakefield (8-9-17) and Leah Craig (5-11-16) are also at 1.00 ppg or better; Wakefield’s total is in 13 games. Kayley Herman, in 14 games (13 starts), has compiled an 11-1-1 record with a 1.09 GAA, .932 save percentage and two shutouts (in her home debut Oct. 14 vs. Colgate; and Feb. 16 vs. Vermont). Lucy Schoedel is 3-0-0 with a 0.86 GAA, .920 save percentage and two shutouts.

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