The University of New Hampshire women’s ice hockey team, ranked fourth in both national polls, concludes the regular season this weekend with a home-and-home series against Boston College. UNH’s Senior Day at the Whittemore Center is Feb. 20 (2 p.m.) and the finale is Feb. 21 (7 p.m.) at Conte Forum.
Saturday’s game at UNH will be videostreamed online at unhwildcats.tv, and broadcast live on the Wildcat Sports Radio Network.
UNH has a 43-2-3 overall record, with a 21-0-2 record at home and 21-2-1 on the road, against Boston College. The Wildcats have won each of the last four meetings and are unbeaten in nine consecutive games (8- 0-1) since the Eagles’ 7-2 win at Conte Forum on Nov. 2, 2006.
Earlier this year at BC, the ‘Cats were 4-0 victors. Sarah Cuthbert (1g, 1a), with her first career multiple-point game, and defenseman Katie Brock (2a) led the attack. Cuthbert scored midway through the first period and Kelly Cahill scored early in the second stanza to give UNH a two-goal lead. Julie Allen and Kristina Lavoie netted third-period goals 31 seconds apart –at 7:47 and 8:18 – to quickly extend the advantage to 4-0. New Hampshire goaltender Kayley Herman made 21 saves, including 11 in the second period, while BC’s Kiera Kingston stopped 27 shots (13 in the first period).
The state of New Hampshire
New Hampshire enters the final weekend of the regular season tied for first place (with UConn and Providence) in the Hockey East standings. If UNH wins both games this weekend vs. Boston College, the Wildcats will win at least a share of the league regular-season title for the seventh consecutive year; UNH also shared the title in 2005.
In the previous seven years of Hockey East, UNH entered the postseason with at least a three-game winning streak six times. The only exception was 2005, and that was the only time the Wildcats did not advance to the championship game. The ‘Cats enter the weekend with a three-game winning streak.
UNH’s overall special teams (power play + penalty kill) is the best in the nation with a 60.8% success rate.
There are a handful of game breakdowns in which the Wildcats are undefeated: when scoring 3+ goals (16-0-3); when leading after two periods (14-0-3); when leading after one period (9-0-3); and when tied after one period (5-0-1).
UNH has scored at least one power-play goal in 22 of 29 games.
Kelly Paton carries a seven-game point-scoring streak into the weekend; she has four goals and seven assists in that span.
Kristina Lavoie had her 11-game goal-scoring and 12-game pointscoring streaks end on consecutive days last weekend.
Micaela Long recorded a careeer-high four assists in UNH’s 4-2 win against Vermont on Feb. 13.
Lindsey Minton recorded her second shutout of the season (third of career) with a 24-save effort vs. UVM on Feb. 14. Minton apparently loves Valentine’s Day; in two career games, she is 2-0-0 with a 0.50 GAA and .976 save percentage.
Brittany Skudder matched her career highs in both assists (two) and points (three) Feb. 13 vs. Vermont.
With her next two minutes of playing time, Kayley Herman will climb into fourth place on UNH’s career leaderboard for minutes played. She currently has 4388:55 and Dina Solimini (1994-96) is at 4390:44.
Both Long and Paton have 27 points in 16 home games, and both Minton and Herman have a 1.73 GAA in eight home games.
With Courtney Birchard out of the lineup last weekend against Vermont, freshman forward Kristine Horn was listed on the line chart as a defenseman and saw significant time on the blue line.
Developing the Playoff Picture
With one weekend remaining in the regular season, the six-member field of the 8th Annual Hockey East Championship tournament has been determined, but only Boston College is locked into a seed (at number six) – even if the Eagles pull into a tie with either/both Boston U. or Northeastern, BC loses all possible tiebreakers. The remaining five teams could finish anywhere from first through fifth.
Providence and Boston U. control their own destiny. PC is in a threeway tie for first place (with UNH and UConn) and will earn the No. 1 seed with two wins at Vermont – regardless if the Friars are tied with either or both UNH and UConn.
UNH loses a tiebreaker with PC but wins the tiebreaker involving any other team. If the standings remain as is, UNH will be the second seed.
BU, meanwhile, is tied for fourth place with Northeastern and will finish no lower than the fourth seed with four points this weekend (two home games against Maine) because the Terriers hold the tiebreaker edge vs. NU.
Saluting the Seniors
The UNH Class of 2010 – comprised of Kelly Cahill, Micaela Long, Kelly Paton and Shannon Sisk – will play its final regular-season home game this Saturday, Feb. 20 at the Whittemore Center against Boston College. This quartet has led UNH to three consecutive Hockey East titles – both regular season and tournament – as well as three straight NCAA tournament appearances, including one trip to the Frozen Four.
These ‘Cats have won a total of 103 games and have won 79.9% of the 139 games spanning the 2006 through 2010 seasons. In that time, UNH has an 83.1% winning percentage at the Whittemore Center and an 84.8% winning percentage in Hockey East.
Senior Day Success
In 32 years, UNH has a 25-5-2 record on Senior Day. The Wildcats have been victorious each of the last four Senior Day games and are unbeaten in eight straight (7-0-1). UNH has wins against Boston College in the 2003 (8-2) and 2004 (2-1) Senior Day games.
GAME DAY: #4 WOMEN'S HOCKEY PLAYS HOST TO BOSTON COLLEGE ON SENIOR DAY (FEB. 20)