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The University of New Hampshire women’s ice hockey team, split at #4 and #5 in this week’s national polls, concludes the season series against the University of Maine with two road games this weekend (Jan. 29, 7 pm; Jan. 30, 2 pm) at Alfond Arena.
UNH has a 31-1-3 lifetime record, including a 5-0 win at the Whittemore Center on Nov. 1, 2009, vs. Maine. The Wildcats have won 12 straight games in the series and are unbeaten in 25 (23-0-2) dating back to Jan. 20, 2002, when the Black Bears were 2-1 victors in Durham.
During the win streak, seven of the 12 games have ended in shutout; during the unbeaten streak, 13 wins have been by shutout.
New Hampshire has a 13-0-2 record at Alfond Arena.
In this season’s previous matchup, Kelly Paton led the offense with two goals and two assists and Kayley Herman stopped all 12 shots she faced, including six in the third period) to lead UNH to a 5-0 victory. Micaela Long (1g, 2a), Raylen Dziengelewski (3a) and Kelly Cahill (1g, 1a) also had multiple points. The Wildcats led 1-0 at the first intermission and 2-0 at the second break, then netted three goals in less than a four-minute span early in the third period to pull away.
THE STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
New Hampshire has nine regular-season games remaining – all in Hockey East league action – and that includes this weekend’s two-game series at Maine and three games vs. Vermont.
The Wildcats play five games in a 10-day span beginning with the Jan. 29 game at Maine. The ‘Cats will also travel to Vermont and UConn in this stretch.
Despite the fact that UNH is currently fifth in the Hockey East standings with 16 points, the ‘Cats will win at least a share of the league regular season title if they win out. That total of 34 points could only be matched by Providence, which currently has 22 points with six games remaining.
The Wildcats are trying to avoid a four-game winless streak (0-2-1 in the last three games); in head coach Brian McCloskey’s eight-year tenure, the ‘Cats have had one four-game winless streak (in 2005; 0-2-2).
UNH has not scored a first-period goal in three consecutive games and has just one first-period goal (Jan. 8 vs. Northeastern at Fenway Park) in the last five games.
UNH has trailed at the second intermission each of the last four games.
Micaela Long has 24 points (5g, 19a) during her current 15-game point-scoring streak. She has at least one assist each of the last six games.
Kristina Lavoie has scored a goal each of the last six games. She leads UNH rookies in goals (11) and points (20); those numbers rank second on the team in goals and third in points.
Julie Allen has scored a goal in four of the last six games, and her season total of seven exceeds last year’s total (four).
Raylen Dziengelewski has an assist in three consecutive games (all vs. nationally-ranked teams).
THIS DATE IN HISTORY
UNH has had mixed success on Jan. 29 and Jan. 30 – the Wildcats have a 6-5-0 record on the 29th and are 7-1-2 on the 30th. Of the five losses on the 29th, four have been on the road (the other was at a neutral site). On Jan. 30, 1999, UNH skated to a scoreless tie vs. Minnesota at the Whittemore Center; it was the first of two scoreless ties in the program’s history.
“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.
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.
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 (0.91 points per game) and is also 13th in game-winning goals (three) as well as 15th in power-play goals (five).
Senior forward and captain Kelly Paton is ranked in the top 20 in three statistics – points per game (5th, 1.59), assists per game (4th, 1.00) and goals per game (18th, 0.59). She is also 13th in game-winning goals (three).
Micaela Long, another senior forward, is second in the nation in assists (1.18 apg) and is #5 in points (1.59 per game).
Kristine Horn and Kristina Lavoie are two of the top rookie point producers – Lavoie is sixth (0.91) and Horn in 15th (0.73). Lavoie is also 15th in power-play goals (five).
Junior goaltender Kayley Herman is eighth in goals-against-average (1.68) and 10th in save percentage (.925).
GAME DAY: #4 WOMEN'S HOCKEY TRAVELS TO MAINE FOR TWO-GAME SERIES
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