The University of New Hampshire women’s ice hockey team, ranked seventh in the national polls with a 13-5-5 overall record, plays a home-and-home series against No. 6/5 Boston College (16-5-3). The Wildcats are the hosts Jan. 29 and then they travel to Conte Forum for a Jan. 30 matchup. Both games begin at 7 p.m. and Thursday’s game will be broadcast on the UNH Sports Network as well as unhwildcats.tv.
   New Hampshire has a 39-2-3 lifetime record, including a 2-2 tie at the Whittemore Center earlier this season, against Boston College. The Wildcats are 18-0-2 at home with a 15-0-2 mark at the Whittemore Center.
   BC has scored a total of seven goals in five games (0-4-1 record) since recording a 7-2 win on Nov. 2, 2006.
   This season’s previous meeting entered the history book as the first women’s Hockey East game decided by shootout. The teams skated to a 2-2 tie through the end of overtime, then Kacey Bellamy scored in the fifth round to give UNH a 1-0 win. UNH goalie Kayley Herman stopped all five shots in the shootout session.
   This home-and-home series is a battle for first place in the Hockey East standings. UNH is tied for second place, two points behind BC (with a game in-hand).

   Thursday night’s game at the Whittemore Center kicks off Hockey East’s third annual “Skating Strides Against Breast Cancer” event that has grown into a two-weekend venture and features eight games between Jan. 29 and Feb. 8 (with at least one event on every WHEA campus). UNH’s home game will include the raffling of a pink team signed stick and the second intermission chuck-a-puck with proceeds going to fight breast cancer.
   UNH’s road games at BC (Jan. 30) and Vermont (Feb. 8) are also part of the Skating Strides campaign.
   The event is intended to work with the specific charities to raise awareness for both the league and the specific cause. In the initial year, close to $20,000 was donated back to local breast cancer charities (Friends of Mel’s Foundation and the American Cancer Society), vastly exceeding expectations. Last year, over $30,000 dollars was raised.

  UNH carries a season-long four-game winning streak into Thursday night’s game, and the Wildcats have outscored the opposition 20-6 during the streak. UNH’s longest unbeaten streak this season is six (4-0-2) – at the start of the year.
   In three games last week, UNH scored a goal in eight of nine periods – including each of the last seven – and the Wildcats also recorded double-digit shots in eight of the nine periods. They tallied a season-high 52 shots in Saturday’s 5-1 win and generated an 89-34 shot advantage in the two-game series vs. Maine.
   New Hampshire’s penalty kill has been perfect each of the last three games (12-for-12 total) and the power play is 9-for-24 (37.5%) in the last four games. The ‘Cats have won all eight games in which the PK has not yielded a goal. They are 5-1-1 when scoring multiple PPG.
   UNH has competed in four Hockey East shootouts this season and has scored on 1 of 15 attempts overall for a 1-3 record. BC’s only shootout result this season was its loss at UNH.
   Nine games remain on the 2009 regular-season schedule, and due to the postponement of the Dec. 12 game at Harvard, there is a rare late-season non-conference game on the slate – Feb. 17 at the Crimson. Four of the nine games are home, including the Feb. 22 regular-season finale vs. UConn.
   New Hampshire opened the 2009 season with 10 games in 25 days and the Wildcats compiled a 6-1-3 record, including a 1-1-3 mark against nationally-ranked teams. UNH closes the regular season with five games in 10 days (Feb. 13-22).

   Shannon Sisk recorded her first career assist last Saturday vs. Maine. Both of Sarah Cuthbert’s goals this season have been against Maine. Jenn Wakefield has scored a goal in four consecutive games and in eight of the last nine. Kelly Paton has a four-game point-scoring streak and Maggie Joyce, who tied her career high of three assists last Saturday, has a point in six of eight. Raylen Dziengelewski has recorded three of her five points this season in the last four games.

   The Wildcats are unbeaten (9-0-3) at the Whittemore Center this season and they were very successful at defending home ice last season with a 17-1-1 record. New Hampshire extended its home unbeaten streak  to 25 games (21-0-4) with last weekend’s series sweep of Maine.
   Jenn Wakefield (11-5-16), Kelly Paton (6-9-15), Sam Faber (5-8-13) are the top three point scorers at home this season, while Kayley Herman is 7-0-3 with a 1.28 GAA and .938 save percentage and Lindsey Minton is 2-0-0 with a 1.46 GAA and .932 save percentage.
   UNH is 57-0-9 in home league regular-season games since the inception of Hockey East in the 2003 season. The ‘Cats are also 2-0 in postseason Hockey East home games. The Hockey East teams that have skated to a tie against New Hampshire at the Whittemore Center are Providence (three), UConn (two), Boston College (two), Boston University and Maine.
   A handful of Wildcats are ranked among the individual national leaders. Jenn Wakefield leads the nation in power-play goals (10) and is third in goals per game (1.00) as well as second in game-winning goals (six), sixth in shorthanded goals (two) and 13th in points-per-game (1.57). Sam Faber ranks second in shorthanded goals (three) and Kelly Paton is 19th in power-play goals (five). UNH boasts two of the highest scoring defensemen – Kacey Bellamy is sixth (0.78 ppg) and Maggie Joyce is 19th (0.59 ppg).

   The University of New Hampshire athletic department has announced the creation of a special project called “Operation Hat Trick,” an initiative that will give baseball hats to injured military personnel.
   For every two hats sold (suggested retail price of $19.95 each), a third will be donated to the VA Hospital’s Recreation Therapy program. Six local retailers, including an online provider, have committed to the project by selling the hats through their outlets. The retailers are: UNH Bookstore, Hayden Sports, Town & Campus, Sportdesigns.com, Friends of Men’s Hockey, Friends of Women’s Hockey and UNH Athletics.
   Operation Hat Trick was launched at the UNH men’s hockey game vs. Providence on Nov. 22, and women’s hockey had its special presentation Friday, Dec. 5 vs. Harvard.
   Members of the hockey teams wore Operation Hat Trick hats during introductions and then tossed each personally autographed hat into the crowd. Three team-signed hats were raffled off with proceeds going to the VA Hospital Recreation Therapy program. In mid-December, members of each hockey team traveled to the VA Hospital to meet and greet patients and to deliver the first group of hats.
   Click here for more information about Operation Hat Trick or to view the product.

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