GAME DAY: #4 WOMEN'S HOCKEY TRAVELS TO VERMONT
THE MATCHUP: BATTLE OF THE
The University of New Hampshire women’s ice hockey team, ranked fourth in both national polls, travels to the University of Vermont for a Nov. 14 game at Gutterson Fieldhouse. Game time is two o’clock.
UNH has won all 21 lifetime meetings against Vermont and that includes nine road games. Last year, the Wildcats outscored the Catamounts 13-3 with 6-2 and 3-1 victories at Gutterson Fieldhouse as well as a 4-0 win at home. New Hampshire has shut out UVM 14 times in 21 games.
BIRCHARD RECEIVES HOCKEY EAST ACCOLADE
Junior defenseman Courtney Birchard was named the Pure Hockey Player of the Week by Hockey East on Nov. 9. Birchard recorded four points with a goal and an assist in both games of the home-and-home series vs. eighth-ranked Boston University (Nov. 6-7). She scored the game-tying goal with 54 seconds remaining in regulation to lift UNH into a 4-4 tie on Saturday; she also set up the team’s third goal, which gave the ‘Cats a 3-0 first-period lead. One night earlier, Birchard set up the UNH goal that tied the game, 1-1, and her second-period goal gave the Wildcats a 3-2 lead they would not relinquish.
Birchard is the second UNH skater to win the award in as many weeks, as senior forward Kelly Paton was the Nov. 2 honoree.
THE STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
New Hampshire extended its unbeaten streak to five games (3-0-2) last weekend with a 4-3 road win and 4-4 tie at home against eighth-ranked Boston University.
UNH has a Hockey East regular-season unbeaten streak of 16 games (15-0-1) dating back to last season. The Wildcats ended the 2009 league schedule with 11 consecutive wins and they are 4-0-1 in league play this season.
UNH scored a goal in 10 consecutive periods (spanning four games) until its scoreless second period vs. BU on Nov. 7; the Wildcats netted a total of 14 goals in those 10 periods.
Nineteen of the team’s 43 goals have been scored on the power play. The ‘Cats have scored a power-play goal in 10 consecutive games and in 11 of 12 this season.
New Hampshire is 7-0-2 at the Whittemore Center this season and has outscored the opposition 34-12 in those nine games.
UNH has not lost a regular-season game at the Whittemore Center since Nov. 11, 2007 (2-1 to Princeton). Since that game, the ‘Cats are 28-0-6 in regular-season home games.
Eighth-year head coach Brian McCloskey is approaching the 200-win milestone, as he enters the weekend with 197 career victories (197-42-27 overall record). There are currently nine active Division I coaches with 200+ wins. McCloskey’s predecessors at UNH also exceeded 200 victories. Russ McCurdy compiled a 264-36-10 record from 1978-92 and Karen Kay went 215-90-25 from 1993-2002.
Dating back to last season, Kelly Paton has recorded a point in 21 consecutive games. She tallied a point in each of the last nine games of ‘09 and has opened 2010 with a point in 12 straight. Overall, she has amassed 13 goals and 36 assists for 49 points (2.33 points per game) during the streak.
The last time a UNH Wildcat recorded a point-scoring streak of 20+ games was nearly 20 years ago, spanning the 1990-91 seasons. That’s when Karyn Bye opened the 1991 season with a point in 19 consecutive games after ending ‘90 with a four-game point-scoring streak for a total of 23 consecutive games with a point.
Senior forward Micaela Long has already tied her single-season high of 16 assists in just 12 games this season. She has two assists each of the last four games.
Junior defenseman Courtney Birchard has scored five of her seven goals on the power play.
Freshman forward Kristina Lavoie tallied three points with a goal and two assists in the two-game series vs. eighth-ranked Boston University; she also had a +2 rating for the week. In the series opener at BU, she helped ignite UNH’s comeback by setting up the team’s first goal of the game that leveled the score, 1-1, with 37 seconds remaining in the first period. She then gave the ‘Cats a 2-1 lead with a power-play goal at 5:26 of the second period. In the next game, Lavoie once again set up UNH’s first goal, but this time it gave the Wildcats a 1-0 lead just 1:10 after the opening faceoff.