WOMEN'S HOCKEY GAME NOTES VS. COLGATE
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Jennifer Hitchcock
DURHAM, N.H. -- The University of New Hampshire women’s hockey team, tied for third in the USCHO.com poll and ranked fourth outright in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll, is 1-1-0 overall following last weekend’s split at third-ranked St. Lawrence University. The Wildcats play their home opener Oct. 14 (1 p.m.) against Colgate University. The Raiders open the season Oct. 12 at Boston College.

UNH has won all three games in the lifetime series against Colgate University. Last year in Hamilton, N.Y., the Wildcats jumped out to a 2-0 first-period lead on a pair of power-play goals by Kacey Bellamy. Colgate pulled within 2-1 in the middle stanza, but the ‘Cats struck again near the end of both the second and third periods to record a 4-1 victory. UNH tallied a 30-22 shot advantage and four power-play goals. Wildcat goalie Lucy Schoedel recorded a career-high 21 saves in that game.

The last time these teams faced off in Durham (January 2006), the ‘Cats rolled to a 7-0 victory with a 45-11 edge in shots. In January ‘05, New Hampshire was a 5-1 victor at the Whittemore Center.

HERMAN GARNERS HOCKEY EAST HONOR

    UNH freshman goaltender Kayley Herman was honored as Mission co-Rookie of the Week by Hockey East on Oct. 8. In her collegiate debut, Herman earned a 4-2 road victory against fourth-ranked St. Lawrence University with a 16-save effort that included eight stops to shut out the Saints in the first period. Herman held the Saints scoreless for the final 34 minutes, 29 seconds of the game to give the Wildcats their opportunity to rally to victory.

THE STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

    New Hampshire returns 16 letterwinners – including three All-America selections (Martine Garland, Jennifer Hitchcock and Sadie Wright-Ward), one of whom has also been a Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award Top 10 Finalist (Garland in ‘07) – from a team that compiled a 28-4-5 overall record last season; the Wildcats went 18-1-2 in Hockey East and 15-2-4 at home.

The top seven scorers (including two defensemen) return from the 2007 team. All told, the Wildcats return 79.2% (118/149) of their goals and 80.6% (183/227) of the assists. At the other end of the ice, Lucy Schoedel is the lone returning goaltender; she played in six games (five starts) and compiled a 4-0-1 record with a 0.92 GAA and .938 save percentage.

UNH has won four consecutive Hockey East regular-season crowns as well as each of the last two league tournament titles. The Wildcats were awarded a regional home game as one of the top four seeds in the NCAA Women’s Ice Hockey Championships in both 2006 and 2007.

New Hampshire won its sixth consecutive season opener with last weekend’s 4-2 victory at St. Lawrence University. UNH had a balanced attack in that game with four different goal scorers and 10 skaters overall recording a point. Leah Craig (two assists) was the only player with multiple points in that victory.

UNH’s streak of scoring a goal in a game was stopped at 81 when the ‘Cats were shut out by St. Lawrence last Saturday. The last team to shut out New Hampshire was UConn in a scoreless tie (Feb. 19, 2005).

Lucy Schoedel matched her career high of 21 saves in the 3-0 loss at SLU. Kayley Herman recorded 16 saves to win her collegiate debut. Jenn Wakefield (goal) and Courtney Birchard (assist) recorded their first collegiate point in the season opener.

UNH has not lost consecutive games since Nov. 28 & Dec. 1, 2004. In the last five-plus seasons, the Wildcats have lost back-to-back games just five times.

VIDEO OF UNH HOCKEY GAMES AVAILABLE ONLINE
    UNH athletics and Pack Network have partnered together to spawn the creation of UNHwildcats.tv. Women’s ice hockey is part of the “Wildcat All-Access Pass,” which is an annual subscription for $79.95 that provides not only all the live coverage of various UNH home athletic events, but also premium content and archives. Individual games are also available at $6.95 per game. (In addition to women’s hockey, other sports included in the “Wildcat All-Access Pass” are men’s hockey, football, men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball and gymnastics.)

CELEBRATING 30 YEARS OF EXCELLENCE
    UNH, now in its 31st year at the varsity level, is the winningest women’s college hockey program in the United States with an overall record of 612-158-63 for a .773 winning percentage. In 30 years, the Wildcats have won one national championship (1998; AWCHA), two Hockey East tournament championships, four Hockey East regular-season titles, five ECAC tournament championships and four EAIAW championships.

OPENING ACT

    UNH has a 24-5-1 record in home openers, and that includes a 9-2-1 mark at the Whittemore Center (since October 1995). The Wildcats have won three consecutive home openers and are unbeaten in the last five (4-0-1) dating back to a 4-3 loss to Ohio State in October 2001. The ‘Cats have never faced off against Colgate in a home opener.

UNH IS THE CHOSEN ONE IN HOCKEY EAST

    New Hampshire garnered six of a possible seven first-place votes (coach can not vote for own team) and a total of 55 points to place atop the 2007-08 Hockey East Preseason Coaches Poll. This marks the fourth consecutive year that UNH has been tabbed the preseason favorite. Here is a complete look at the poll:
Preseason Poll
1.    UNH (6)    55
2    Boston College (2)    51
3.    Connecticut    41
4.    Boston University    38
5.    Providence    35
6.    Northeastern    24
7.    Vermont    20
8.    Maine    16

UNH VS. the ECAC
    New Hampshire opened the 2008 season last weekend with a two-game road series against the ECAC’s St. Lawrence University, and the Wildcats returned home with a split. UNH went 3-2-3 last season against teams from the ECAC and that included a 4-1 road victory against Colgate.

CENTURY CLUB
    Two current ‘Cats enter the weekend as part of UNH’s 37-member Century Club (100 career points) and three others are on the verge of joining that elite list.

Senior forward Jennifer Hitchcock is the active leader in both goals (69) and points (130); on the program’s career leaderboard, Hitchcock is 13th in goals and 19th in points.

Sadie Wright-Ward, another senior forward, has amassed 45 goals and 63 assists for 108 points; among active players, Wright-Ward ranks third in goals as well as second in assists and points.

Junior forward Sam Faber has amassed 98 points on 40 goals and 58 assists in 72 games.

Senior forward Leah Craig’s 46 goals and 46 assists account for 92 points.

Senior defenseman Martine Garland is UNH’s active leader in assists with 66, which ranks 25th overall (fourth amongst defensemen). She has also tallied 16 goals for a total of 82 points, and that point total is 10th among UNH defensemen. Only four defensemen are currently in the Century Club – Cindy MacKay (108), Kristen Thomas (108), Lauren Apollo (105) and Heather Reinke (103).

‘CATS RANK AMONG HOCKEY EAST'S ELITE
    UNH boasts five of the top eight active point scorers in Hockey East. Jennifer Hitchcock leads the league with 130 points and is followed by teammate Sadie Wright-Ward (108 points) in second. Sam Faber (98) and Leah Craig (92) check in at fifth and sixth, respectively, while Martine Garland is No. 8 with her 82 points. Faber, a junior, is the only non-senior in the top eight.
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