The University of New Hampshire women’s ice hockey team, split at #4 and #5 in the most recent  national polls, plays the first of three games this week Feb. 3 at the University of Vermont. Game time at Gutterson Fieldhouse is 7 p.m.
    UNH has won all 21 previous meetings in the “Battle of the ‘Cats” series with UVM, and that includes nine wins at Gutterson Fieldhouse. The Wildcats have shut out the Catamounts 14 times, including eight since Vermont joined Hockey East in the 2006 season.

    New Hampshire has seven regular-season games remaining – all in Hockey East league action – and that includes three games this week. The Wildcats are in the midst of a five-game, 10-day stretch that started Jan. 29 with a 5-2 victory at Maine and will end Sunday, Feb. 7 at UConn.
    Despite the fact that UNH is currently fourth in the Hockey East standings with 20 points, the ‘Cats control their own destiny. If they win the remainder of the games, they will win the regular-season title and be the #1 seed for the Hockey East tournament (and be host of the semifinal and final games).
    New Hampshire has the fifth-best winning percentage in the nation (.729), and that mark is best among Hockey East teams.
    UNH’s overall special teams (power play + penalty kill) is the best in the nation with a 62.2% success rate.
    In 14 league games, UNH has outscored the opposition 19-6 in the third period.

    Micaela Long has 27 points (6g, 21a) during her current 17-game point-scoring streak; it is the longest single-season point streak by a Wildcat since former teammate Sam Faber had a 17-game streak in 2006.
    Long has at least one assist each of the last eight games; it is the longest single-season streak since 2007, when former teammate Sadie Wright-Ward also had a mark of eight games. (Kelly Paton had a 13-game assist streak spanning the 2009-2010 seasons).
    Kristina Lavoie has scored a goal each of the last eight games. She leads UNH rookies in goals (13) and points (22); 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 five of eight; her season total of nine is more than double of last year’s total (four).
    Raylen Dziengelewski has an assist in five consecutive games.
    Sarah Cuthbert has five points in the last eight games (six points total this season).
    Brittany Skudder recorded career highs in both assists (two) and points (three) Jan. 29 at Maine.
    Lindsey Minton tallied 19 saves Jan. 30 at Maine to record her first win since Nov. 29.

    In 33 years of UNH women’s hockey history, this will mark the second time the Wildcats play games on February 2, 3 and 6 – in 1988, the ‘Cats won all three games.
    Of those three dates, UNH has the highest winning percentage Feb. 7 (7-1-0), followed by Feb. 6 (6-1-1) and Feb. 2 (9-4-0).

    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,, 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.

     Micaela Long, a senior forward, is second in the nation in assists (1.17 apg) and is #5 in points (1.58 per game). Classmate and captain Kelly Paton is also among the national leaders in both points (6th; 1.54 ppg) and assists (4th; 0.96 apg) as well as goals (19th; 0.58 gpg); Paton is also 17th in game-winning goals (three).
    Junior defenseman Courtney Birchard is tied with Paton for 17th in game-winning goals. She is also 4th in defensemen scoring at 0.88 points per game as well as 17th in power-play goals (five)..
    Kristine Horn and Kristina Lavoie are two of the top rookie point producers – Lavoie is 5th (0.92 ppg) and Horn in 16th (0.71 ppg). Lavoie is also 17th in power-play goals.
    Junior goaltender Kayley Herman is eighth in goals-against-average (1.70) and 13th in save percentage (.924).

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