BOSTON – Brian McCloskey, head coach of the fifth-ranked University of New Hampshire women’s ice hockey team, was named Women’s Division I Coach of the Year by the New England Hockey Writers on Tuesday. UNH’s Kacey Bellamy (Westfield, Mass.), Sam Faber (Mt. Sinai, N.Y.), Kelly Paton (Woodstock, Ontario) and Jenn Wakefield (Pickering, Ontario) were announced as New England Women’s Div. I All-Stars.
UNH comprises one-third of the team and has the highest number of honorees by any school. Five of the other skaters hail from Hockey East to give the league a total of nine representatives.
This marks the third New England Coach of the Year award for McCloskey, who received the distinction in 2003 and 2006. He directed the Wildcats to a 24-6-5 overall record as well as their sixth consecutive regular-season league title, fourth straight league tournament title and fourth consecutive NCAA home quarterfinal game this season. McCloskey has led the ‘Cats to 20-plus wins all seven years and twice been a runner-up for the national Coach of the Year award; he is a finalist for this year’s national honor and received his fourth Hockey East Coach of the Year accolade in ’09.
Bellamy, a senior defenseman and captain of the Wildcats who was recently named to the U.S. Women’s National Team, ranked third in the nation in defensemen scoring with 28 points (6g, 22a) in 35 games. She recorded three goals and 14 assists for 17 points in 21 Hockey East league games as well as 4-10-14 in 17 games against nationally-ranked teams. Bellamy ranked second on the team in plus/minus and third in assists. Her other ’09 accolades included RBK All-America First Team, Hockey East First Team All-Star and Hockey East Tournament MVP.
Faber, a senior forward and assistant captain, was named to a New England All-Star for the third consecutive year. She ranks sixth nationally in shorthanded goals (three) as well as 13th in assists per game with 30 assists in 35 games. Faber led UNH in both assists and plus/minus; furthermore, she was third in both points (43) and goals (13) as well as fourth in shooting percentage. Faber tallied 10-17-27 in 21 Hockey East league games and 6-13-19 in 17 games against nationally-ranked teams. Faber recorded a point in 26 of 35 games with 11 multiple-point efforts; she ended the year with a point in four straight games and 8 of 9. Her other awards this season included Hockey East First Team All-Star.
Paton, a junior forward, recorded 21 goals and 26 assists for 47 points in 35 games to rank 22nd in the nation in points per game and 24th in both goals per game and assists per game; she is also 14th in power-play goals. Paton was the only Wildcat with 20+ goals and 20+ assists this season and her team rankings included first in shooting percentage as well as second in goals, power-play goals, assists and points; she was also third in game-winning goals and plus/minus. She tallied 12-16-28 in 21 Hockey East league games as well as 7-15-22 in 17 games vs. nationally-ranked teams. Paton opened the season with an 11-game point-scoring streak and ended it with a nine-game streak; overall, she recorded a point in 28 of 35 games with 14 multiple-point efforts. Paton’s 2009 accolades included Hockey East Second Team All-Star, Hockey East All-Tournament Team and Hockey East Player of the Month.
Wakefield, a sophomore forward, garnered New England All-Star recognition for the second time in as many years. With 32 goals and 17 assists for 49 points in 31 games, she ranks third in the nation in goals per game and 13th in points per game; Wakefield is also second in game-winning goals and third in both power-play goals and shorthanded goals. Wakefield recorded team highs in points, goals, power-play goals, shorthanded goals, game-winning goals and shots; additionally, she was second in shooting percentage and fifth in assists. Wakefield recorded 21-9-30 in 19 league games and 13-8-21 in 15 games vs. nationally-ranked teams. She tallied a point in 26 of 31 games with 15 multiple-point efforts. This year’s honors included Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award Top 10 Finalist, Hockey East First Team All-Star and Hockey East Player of the Month (twice).
The annual banquet, at which these UNH Wildcats will be presented the New England awards, is April 13 at the Prince Restaurant in Saugus, Mass.