January 19, 2010

GAME DAY: #4 WOMEN'S HOCKEY PLAYS HOST TO #7 NORTHEASTERN (JAN. 20)

NOTES | VIDEO | AUDIO | STATS | TICKETS

THE MATCHUP

    The University of New Hampshire women’s ice hockey team, ranked fourth in both national polls, concludes the season series against seventh-ranked Northeastern University on Wednesday, January 20 at the Whittemore Center. The game, which will be broadcast live on both the Wildcat Sports Radio Network and unhwildcats.tv (online video), begins at 7 p.m.
    In the previous 110 meetings, UNH has a 75-28-7 record against Northeastern. The Wildcats have a 34-9-4 mark at home vs. NU.
    The teams made history within the past fortnight as they faced off in the first women’s college hockey outdoor game Jan. 8 at Fenway Park. UNH rallied to score four consecutive third-period goals to rally for a 5-3 victory and extend the winning streak vs. the Huskies to 26 games.
    Earlier this season at NU’s Matthews Arena, the Wildcats netted a pair of shorthanded goals – including one that broke a 1-1 tie with 3:27 remaining in the game – to prevail 2-1. In that game, the offense was led by Kelly Paton (goal, assist) and the defense was backboned by Lindsey Minton (21 saves).
    Since the inception of Hockey East for the 2003 season –which also marked the first year as UNH head coach for Brian McCloskey – the Wildcats have won all 26 meetings between these programs.
    During this streak, the ‘Cats have won 13 times by shutout, including by 2-0 and 3-0 scores last season at the Whittemore Center.
    Northeastern last defeated New Hampshire on March 15, 2002, when the Huskies ousted the Wildcats from the ECAC Eastern League semifinals with a 2-0 win (at UConn’s Freitas Ice Forum). That game ended a stretch in which NU went 5-1-1 vs. the ‘Cats.

THE STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
    Wednesday’s game vs. Northeastern will be the team’s fourth consecutive game against a nationally-ranked team. UNH faced off twice last weekend vs. Providence and played these NU Huskies at Fenway Park on Jan. 8.
    After this game, only one of the Wildcats’ last 10 regular-season games are against a nationally-ranked opponent (despite the fact that three other Hockey East teams are in this week’s national polls) – Feb. 7 at UConn.
    New Hampshire opened the 2010 calendar year Jan. 8 at Fenway Park with a 5-3 victory against ninth-ranked Northeastern University but followed that with a pair of 3-2 losses in a home-and-home series vs. ninth-ranked Providence College last weekend (Jan. 16-17). Those losses snapped a five-game unbeaten streak (3-0-2) vs. nationally-ranked teams.
    The Wildcats are trying to avoid a three-game losing streak; in head coach Brian McCloskey’s eight-year tenure, the ‘Cats have lost three straight games just once – in the 2004 season (Harvard; Dartmouth twice).
    UNH scored four third-period goals Jan. 8 vs. Northeastern, which was the top-ranked defensive team in the nation at the time; the Huskies were yielding 1.06 goals per game; they had not allowed more than three goals in a game in the previous 18 games of the season and had surrendered a total of five goals in the previous five games.
    New Hampshire has an 11-0-1 record with 30+ shots in a game. The ‘Cats are 11-0-3 when scoring at least three goals in a game.
    In the eight-year history of Hockey East, UNH has lost a total of 16 games to league opponents –13 in the regular season and three in postseason play. Of those 16 losses, 11 have been to Providence (seven in the regular season; two in postseason).
    New Hampshire’s eight-year league record is now 122-13-15 (.863 winning percentage). Additionally, the ‘Cats are 10-3 in the Hockey East tournament.
    In head coach Brian McCloskey’s eight-year tenure, UNH has a 41-8-8 record (.789 winning percentage) in the month of January. That mark was 24-2-3 (.879) spanning the 2006-09 seasons.

'CAT NIPS
    Micaela Long has 23 points (5g, 18a) during her current 14-game point-scoring streak. She has at least one assist each of the last five games.
    Kristina. Lavoie has scored a goal each of the last five games. She leads UNH rookies in goals (10) and points (19); those numbers rank second on the team in goals and third in points.
    Julie Allen has scored a goal in three of the last five games, and her season total of six exceeds last year’s total (four).
    Kristine Horn has one point in five of the last six games.
    Raylen Dziengelewski has an assist in two consecutive games. She accomplished that feat earlier this season vs. Maine and Boston U. (Nov. 1 & 6).

THIS DATE IN HISTORY
    UNH has played 12 games on this date in history – January 20 – and the Wildcats have a 8-3-1 overall record that includes 6-2-0 in home games.
    This will mark the third meeting between UNH and Northeastern on January 20th. The ‘Cats were 4-2 road victors last season and the teams skated to a 2-2 tie in 1996.

"OPERATION HAT TRICK" CONTINUES
    Last season, the University of New Hampshire athletic department announced the creation of a special project called “Operation Hat Trick,” an initiative that will give baseball hats to injured military personnel. This year’s Operation Hat Trick festivities will be held at the Feb. 13 game vs. Vermont.
    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, 2008, and women’s hockey had its special presentation Friday, Dec. 5, 2008 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.
    For more information about Operation Hat Trick or to view the product, visit www.unhwildcats.com.

SUN LIFE FROZEN FENWAY: A FIRST IN WOMEN'S HOCKEY
    UNH and Northeastern made history Jan. 8, 2010, at Fenway Park – home of the Boston Red Sox – when the teams faced off in the first women’s hockey outdoor game as part of a Hockey East doubleheader entitled Sun Life Frozen Fenway. Tickets for the game went on sale Sept. 17 and sold out within a week. The game was televised live on NESN and the NHL Network.
    As for the game itself, NU took a 1-0 lead just 1:29 into the game and extended the advantage to two goals at 3:41. UNH responded with a highlight-reel goal – it made the ESPN SportsCenter Top 10 plays – by Shannon Sisk (from Sarah Cuthbert) just 18 seconds later. The Huskies reestablished a two-goal lead of 3-1 with a power-play goal in the second period, but the Wildcats stormed back with four goals in the third period, including an empty-netter with 15 seconds remaining to secure the victory. Kayley Herman, who entered the game at the start of the second stanza, stopped 12 of 13 shots in 40 minutes of action to earn the win; Lindsey Minton started the game and made three saves. NU goalie Florence Schelling turned aside 28 of 32 shots she faced.
    The Wildcats were part of another women’s ice hockey first that occurred in Boston when they won the inaugural national championship (American Women’s College Hockey Alliance) in 1998 against Brown University at the FleetCenter (now TD Garden).

WILDCATS IN THE NATION
        Junior defenseman Courtney Birchard ranks second in the nation in defenseman scoring (0.90 points per game) and is also 11th in power-play goals (five) as well as 12th in game-winning goals (three).
    Senior forward and captain Kelly Paton is ranked in the top 15 in three statistics – points per game (5th, 1.67), assists per game (4th, 1.05) and goals per game (15th, 0.62). She is also 12th in game-winning goals (three).
    Micaela Long, another senior forward, is second in the nation in assists (1.19 apg) and is #7 in points (1.62 per game).
    Kristine Horn and Kristina Lavoie are two of the top rookie point producers – Lavoie is fifth (0.90) and Horn in 12th (0.76).
    Junior goaltender Kayley Herman is eighth in goals-against-average (1.67) and 11th in save percentage (.926).

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