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The University of New Hampshire women’s ice hockey team, ranked fifth in the national polls, enters postseason play with a 22-5-5 overall record. The Wildcats earned the top seed in the 2009 Women’s Hockey East Championship Tournament by virtue of winning its sixth consecutive regular-season title with a 16-2-3 league record. UNH has won three consecutive WHEA tourney titles, including here at the Whittemore Center in 2007.
UNH faces off against fourth-seeded Providence College (17-15-3) in a March 7 (12 p.m.) semifinal game at the Whittemore Center. The game will be broadcast live on the UNH Sports Network (as well as Yahoo!) and live video will be available online through B2 Network. The winner advances to the March 8 title game, which is 12:30 p.m. at the Whittemore Center, and the tournament champion receives an NCAA tourney bid.
New Hampshire has a 71-39-12 lifetime record, including 2-1-0 this season, against Providence. UNH has an 11-1-2 record in the last 14 meetings; the Wildcats carried a 12-game unbeaten streak (10-0-2) vs. the Friars into this season, but PC prevailed 5-0 at Schneider Arena on Jan. 10. The ‘Cats responded with a home-and-home sweep Feb. 13-14 in which they were 3-2 victors on the road and 4-1 winners at home.
Inside that series, the teams combined for 79 shots (UNH 43-36) on Jan. 10 and 82 shots in the two games combined in the weekend series (UNH 23-22; UNH 20-17). The Wildcats were 2 of 11 on the power play and PC was 3-for-17.
The ‘Cats have a 35-7-7 home record, including 16-1-4 at the Whittemore Center, vs. the Friars. Providence has not defeated UNH in Durham since Jan. 11, 1997 (4-3); since that game, PC is 0-14-4 on the Wildcats’ home ice.
Head coach Brian McCloskey has guided New Hampshire to a 16-8-3 record against PC since taking the helm for the 2003 season.
This will be the 14th postseason meeting between these programs. PC has an 8-5 overall edge, but UNH has defeated the Friars each of the past two years in the Hockey East championship game. These teams also faced off in the first two Hockey East title games (‘03 and ‘04) with PC prevailing in both.
New Hampshire has a 3-1 record in home postseason games vs. the Friars (all in league championship games) and a 1-2 mark in semifinal games (all at neutral sites).
Also of note, UNH has won two of three postseason games decided by overtime and that includes the longest collegiate hockey game (men’s or women’s); the ‘Cats defeated the Friars, 3-2, in five overtimes of the 1996 ECAC title game (the inaugural year of the Whittemore Center).
TICKETS ON SALE FOR THE 2009 WHEA TOURNAMENT
The 2009 WHEA Championship Tournament will be held March 7-8 at UNH’s Whittemore Center. The first of Saturday’s two semifinals features top-seeded UNH against Providence College at noon. Boston College faces off against Boston University at 3 p.m. The March 8 championship game begins at 12:30 p.m. and will be aired on NESN at 4 p.m.
Tickets for the Women’s Hockey East Championship Tournament are available at the Whittemore Center Box Office, TicketMaster and by clicking here. Tickets are $8 for adults and $4 for seniors/youths. Students of Hockey East institutions will receive a complimentary ticket by presenting a valid student ID at the Whittemore Center Box Office on game day.
WAKEFIELD SELECTED AS A PATTY KAZ TOP 10 FINALIST
Sophomore forward Jenn Wakefield has been selected a 2009 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award Top 10 Finalist, as announced by USA Hockey on March 2. Wakefield was selected from a ballot of 43 student-athletes that included teammate Kacey Bellamy.
The award, initiated in 1998, is presented annually to the most outstanding collegiate women’s ice hockey player. A UNH student-athlete has been named a Top 10 Finalist 11 times and three have advanced as a Top 3 Finalist, including the inaugural recipient of the award, Brandy Fisher.
The three finalists for this year’s award will be announced March 10 and the 2009 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award will be presented at a brunch ceremony at the Royal Sonesta Hotel Boston on March 21, in conjunction with the NCAA Women’s Frozen Four, in Boston. Tickets to the event may be purchased at PattyKaz.com or by calling 800-566-3288, ext. 184 ($85/individual seats, $800/table of 10).
FABER TO COMPETE AT FROZEN FOUR SKILLS CHALLENGE
Senior forward and assistant captain Sam Faber has been announced as a participant for the 4th Annual Frozen Four Skills Challenge that will be held April 10 at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. The proclamation was made Tuesday by the NCAA.
An original list of 140 men’s and women’s players – all seniors – was trimmed to 68 by a selection committee and the final 16 members of both the East and West teams were selected by online voting from Feb. 4-18.
The competitions will include puck control relay, fastest skater, hardest shot, rapid fire shooting, accuracy shooting and penalty shot.
Tickets for the event are $10 and are on sale at the Verizon Center box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster.com or by phone at 202-397-7328. The Frozen Four Skills Challenge will begin at 8 p.m. and will be preceded by the Hockey Humanitarian Award (6:30 p.m.) and Hobey Baker Memorial Award (7 p.m.).
WAKEFIELD HONORED AS HOCKEY EAST'S PLAYER OF THE MONTH
Sophomore forward Jenn Wakefield was named February’s TPS Hockey Player of the Month by Hockey East on March 3. Wakefield received the same distinction for the month of December.
Wakefield recorded nine goals and five assists for 14 points to lead the Wildcats to a 7-0-0 record in February, and with it the Hockey East regular-season title; her league honors during the month included Player of the Week on Feb. 23.
Wakefield’s other stats included two game-winning goals – both in the last weekend of the regular-season against nationally-ranked UConn, a +5 rating and a .220 shooting percentage as well as 4-3-7 in three games vs. nationally-ranked teams and 8-4-12 in six league games.
Wakefield recorded a point in every game and ended the month with four consecutive multiple-point efforts – she tallied multiple points in six of the seven games. She had two-goal performances against UConn, Providence and Vermont.
THE STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
New Hampshire’s 13-game winning streak is the longest active unbeaten streak in Division I. Finishing strong in the regular season is nothing new for these ‘Cats. Last year, UNH closed the regular season with 10 consecutive wins as part of a 16-game unbeaten streak (15-0-1). In 2007, UNH went 9-0-2 in the last 11 regular-season games. And in ‘06, the ‘Cats entered the postseason with a 14-game winning streak and 26-game unbeaten streak (25-0-1).
The Wildcats ended the regular season Feb. 21-22 with a home-and-home sweep of then 10th-ranked UConn. The ‘Cats rallied from a 3-1 second-period deficit to record a 4-3 road victory, then built a 4-0 lead in the Senior Day regular-season finale en route to a 4-2 win.
UNH has won six consecutive Hockey East regular-season crowns – the ‘Cats shared the 2005 title and won it outright in ‘04, ‘06, ‘07, ‘08 and ‘09.
UNH is 6-0-2 in its last eight games against nationally-ranked teams.
The ‘Cats have won all 12 games in which the PK has not yielded a goal. They are 7-1-1 when scoring multiple power-play goals.
The ‘Cats are second in the nation in shorthanded goals with 11. Jenn Wakefield (four goals) and Sam Faber (three) have been the top snipers with a teammate in the penalty box. Raylen Dziengelewski has been on the ice for seven of the team’s 11 shorthanded tallies. And Kacey Bellamy has also been on the ice for seven.
UNH has netted 37 power-play goals this season, and Jenn Wakefield, who has scored 12 power-play goals herself, has been on the ice for 28 of them. Kacey Bellamy has been on-ice for 27 of 37 PPG.
PLAYING THE REST OF THE FIELD
UNH compiled a 4-2-3 record this season against the remainder of the Hockey East tournament field. In addition to a 2-1-0 mark against Providence College, the Wildcats went 2-0-1 vs. Boston College and 0-1-2 against Boston University.
UNH IN THE POSTSEASON
New Hampshire has a 39-20 overall record in postseason play and that includes 8-3 in six Hockey East appearances as well as a 19-7 overall mark in semifinal games; that semifinal breakdown includes 7-0 at home and 5-1 in the Hockey East tourney.
UNH is 24-3 at home, including 2-0 in Hockey East, in postseason play.
INSIDE THE WIN STREAK
UNH has posted some impressive numbers during its 13-game winning streak. The Wildcats have scored at least three goals every game and have outscored the opposition 56-23; they have scored a goal in 33 of 39 periods.
New Hampshire has a .142 shooting percentage (.115 overall this season) and has held the opposition to a .080 shooting percentage (.097 overall). The shot advantage stands at 393-286.
The power play has excelled during this 13-game stretch by converting 19 of 63 opportunities for a .302 percentage (.216 overall this season).
Six players, led by Jenn Wakefield (17-8-25) and Kelly Paton (12-12-24), have recorded double-digit points. Paton has a .286 shooting percentage in this stretch and Wakefield is at .224. Sam Faber (3g, 17a) is next with 20 points, while both Micaela Long (6g, 8a) and Kacey Bellamy (2g, 12a) have 14 points and Angela Taylor is at 3-8-11.
Lindsey Minton has eight starts, including a stretch of five consecutive games from Feb. 8 – Feb. 21, in the past 13 games and her numbers include a 1.86 GAA and .910 save percentage. In five starts, Kayley Herman has a 1.60 GAA and .933 save percentage.
SALUTING THE SENIORS
The Class of 2009 enters the weekend with 116 wins – the highest total by any UNH class – and a .847 winning percentage. Included in that is a 61-3-8 record (.903 win%) at the Whittemore Center and a 73-4-7 mark (.911) in Hockey East that does not include 6-0 in postseason league play.
This class has captured the Hockey East regular-season crown all four years and has won each of the last three league tournament titles. These seniors have participated in three NCAA tournaments and advanced to the Frozen Four twice.