March 10, 2010

GAME DAY: #7 WOMEN'S HOCKEY TRAVELS TO MINNESOTA-DULUTH FOR NCAA QUARTERFINAL

NOTES | VIDEO | AUDIO

The Matchup
The University of New Hampshire women’s ice hockey team, ranked seventh in the national polls, travels to play second-seeded University of Minnesota-Duluth at the DECC in a March 13 quarterfinal game of the 2010 NCAA Women’s Ice Hockey Championship. Game time is 3 p.m. Eastern.

The game will be broadcast live on the Wildcat Sports Radio Network and audio streaming will also be available through www.unhwildcats.com. Also visit the UNH Athletics official web site for a link to free videostreaming.
UNH has a 2-4-0 lifetime record, including 0-2-0 in NCAA tournament play, against the Bulldogs.

This will mark the third consecutive year these teams face off in the NCAA postseason.
Last year in an NCAA quarterfinal game at UNH’s Whittemore Center, the teams skated to a scoreless tie through two periods of play. UMD then scored goals at 2:49 and 10:08 to take a 2-0 lead. UNH pulled within one goal at 11:59 but the visitors struck again at 17:43 and scored an empty-net goal with 11 seconds remaining to secure the victory.

UNH played 2008 Frozen Four host Minnesota-Duluth in the semifinals and, despite recording a 43-15 shot advantage, were ousted by the Bulldogs, 3-2.

Paton named a Patty Kazmaier Top 3 Finalist
Kelly Paton, senior forward and UNH captain, was named a Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award Top 3 Finalist by USA Hockey on Tuesday. The Award is presented annually to the most outstanding women’s college hockey player. Paton was selected from the initial pool of 45 candidates that included teammates Micaela Long and Courtney Birchard to the list of Top 10 Candidates on March 2. A 13-member committee then pared the group to the final three.

Including Paton, UNH has had a total of 12 Top 10 candidates since the inception of the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award in 1998, when UNH’s Brandy Fisher was the inaugural recipient. Paton is the program’s fourth Top 3 Finalist. The others were Fisher (‘98), Nicki Luongo (‘99) and Carisa Zaban (‘00).

Four ‘Cats collect nine Hockey East accolades
Kelly Paton was named Hockey East co-Player of the Year to highlight a group of four UNH Wildcats who combined to receive nine Hockey East awards that were presented March 5.
Paton collected a total of three accolades, including the Three Stars Award (highest point total accrued in the Three Stars Award during Hockey East’s 21-game schedule) and First Team All-Star.

Kristina Lavoie also garnered three awards. She was named Bauer Rookie of the Year and was also an Honorable Mention and All-Rookie Team selection.

Micaela Long was presented the Humboldt Storage and Moving Scoring Champion trophy and was also named a First Team All-Star.

Courtney Birchard joined Long and Paton as a First Team All-Star to give UNH three of the six positions on the top team.

The state of New Hampshire
New Hampshire is making its fifth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Women’s Ice Hockey Championship, although this will be the first quarterfinal road game for the Wildcats, who were hosts in the 2006-09 seasons. UNH advanced to the Frozen Four in ‘06 and ‘08, when the event was held in the state of Minnesota. The 2010 Frozen Four is also in the Land of 1,000 Lakes (Minneapolis, Minn.).

UNH went 4-1-0 in the last five games of the regular season and that included a 4-1 road win against Boston College in the regular-season finale (Feb. 21). The Wildcats scored four goals in four of those five games and went 7-for-16 (43.8%) on the power play.
UNH’s overall special teams (power play + penalty kill) is the best in the nation with a 60.9% success rate.

There are a few scenarios in which the Wildcats are undefeated: when scoring the game’s first goal (10-0-4), when scoring 3+ goals (17-0-3); when leading after two periods (15-0-3); and when leading after one period (10-0-3).

The second period marks UNH’s highest goal output (40) and the opposition’s lowest (20).
UNH was shut out for the first time this season in the league semifinals (4-0 loss to Boston U.); the Wildcats had scored a goal in 47 consecutive games.

‘Cat nips
Kelly Paton’s nine-game point-scoring streak (6-10-16) ended March 6 in the Hockey East semifinal game vs. Boston U.

Paton and Micaela Long recorded 12 points apiece in the last five games of the regular season. Paton has five goals and seven assists while Long has tallied two goals and 10 assists.

Also in the last five game, Lindsey Minton had a 4-1-0 record with a 1.21 GAA and .950 save percentage by stopping 114 of 120 shots.

With Courtney Birchard out of the lineup the past five games, freshman forward Kristine Horn has been listed on the line chart as a defenseman and has seen significant time on the blue line.

Developing the playoff picture
UNH finished in a three-way tie for second place in the Hockey East regular season standings and earned the #2 seed via the tiebreaker system to get a bye into the semifinals of the 8th Annual Women’s Hockey East Championship. The Wildcats, who won the league tourney from 2006-09, were ousted from the semifinals by eventual tournament champion Boston University.

New Hampshire then received one of five at-large berths to the 2010 NCAA Women’s Ice Hockey Championship. The winner of the UNH vs. Minnesota-Duluth quarterfinal advances to play the winner of the Clarkson vs. Minnesota matchup in a March 19 Frozen Four semifinal game.

UNH in postseason play
New Hampshire has a 41-22 lifetime record in postseason play that includes a 2-4 record in four NCAA tournament appearances. The Wildcats, with a fifth consecutive trip to the NCAAs, were hosts in the quarterfinal round each of the previous four years. UNH advanced to the Frozen Four in 2006 and 2008.

UNH has an 11-4 record in the quarterfinal round, and that includes 2-2 in NCAA play.

Playing the field
UNH compiled a 1-3-2 record against the other seven teams comprising the 2010 NCAA Women’s Ice Hockey Championship. The Wildcats went 1-2-1 against fellow Hockey East representative Boston University, tied Harvard and lost at Clarkson.

Captain Paton
Senior forward Kelly Paton, a 2010 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award Top 3 Finalist, is captain of the UNH Wildcats. She has received nine league accolades this season – co-Player of the Year, First Team All-Star and Three Stars Award, as well as three Player of the Month honors (October; November; February) and three Pure Hockey Player of the Week awards (Nov. 2; Nov. 23: Nov. 30).

Paton reached double digits in both goals (10) and assists (16) in just the 14th game of the season. She currently has 19 goals and 32 assists to lead the team in goals and points (51); she also has a team-best plus/minus rating of +16 and is tied for the lead in game-winning goals (four). Furthermore, Paton ranks second in assists and shots (118), is tied for second in power-play goals (six) and is fourth in shooting percentage (.161).

In 21 Hockey East league games, she tallied 32 points on 12 goals and 20 assists.

Paton amassed 12 points with five goals and seven assists in the last five games of the regular season and she ended the regular season with a nine-game point-scoring streak (6g, 10a).

Paton opened the 2010 season with a 12-game point-scoring streak in which she tallied seven goals and 15 assists for 22 points. That streak also included a stretch of seven consecutive games with an assist at the start of the season.

Paton has a point in 27 of 32 games with 12 multiple-point efforts. She matched her career highs of three assists and four points Dec. 12 at Dartmouth to factor in all of the team’s goals in the 4-1 victory; that included a span of 5:37 in which she tallied three points. Paton also tallied a goal and three assists in UNH’s 4-1 win at Boston College in the regular-season finale.

Paton finished with three assists Oct. 18 vs. Niagara; in that game, she recorded assists 34 seconds apart late in the first period to transform a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead (en route to a 6-1 victory). Paton helped orchestrate UNH’s third-period comeback against Syracuse on Oct. 10. With the ‘Cats trailing 1-0, she set up a goal with 8:04 remaining in regulation, then scored with 7.2 seconds on the clock to lift UNH to a 2-1 victory.

Paton also willed the Wildcats to a 4-3 win vs. Rensselaer on Nov. 21. In that game, she recorded her second career hat trick (including the game-winning goal) and an assist to match her personal best of four points. In the next game at seventh-ranked Northeastern, Paton scored a shorthanded goal to give UNH a 1-0 lead and set up the shorthanded third-period goal that broke the 1-1 tie in a 2-1 victory.

In those consecutive games vs. RPI and NU, Paton factored in all six of the team’s goals with four goals and two assists. In fact, Paton has factored into all of UNH’s goals in nine games as well as 51 of 98 overall goals this season.

On Feb. 7 at nationally-ranked UConn, Paton recorded three points on one goal and two assists. She set up the game-winning goal – it gave UNH a 2-0 lead in the first period – and helped secure the 4-1 victory with a third-period assist early in the frame and by scoring an empty-net goal with 1:38 remaining. In the next game vs. Vermont, Paton tallied three points with two goals and an assist.

Wildcats in the nation

Senior forwards Kelly Paton and Micaela Long are ranked in the top six in a pair of statistics. In addition to being #6 in points per game (1.61), Long is #2 in assists (1.23 per game); Paton is #4 in assists (1.00) and #5 in points (1.65) as well as #17 in goals (0.61 gpg).

Freshman forward Kristina Lavoie is seventh in rookie scoring (0.94 ppg) and eighth in power-play goals (seven). Kristine Horn, another freshman forward/defenseman, is currently 19th in rookie scoring at 0.68 points per game.

Sophomore goaltender Lindsey Minton is 13th (1.85) in GAA and junior goalie Kayley Herman checks in at 14th in that statistic (1.87).

Junior defenseman Courtney Birchard is ranked among the top 10 in three statistics – defensemen scoring (6th, 0.81 points per game), game-winning goals (15th, four) and power-play goals (16th, six).

A Long time coming
Senior forward Micaela Long, the 2010 Humboldt Storage and Moving Scoring Champion of Hockey East and First Team All-Star, has been a consistent point producer in her four years as a Wildcat – she recorded double digits in both goals and assists every season. This year, Long has taken that consistency to a new level – she has recorded a point in 27 of 32 games (with point-scoring streaks of six and a team-best 17 games) to factor in 50 of the team’s 98 goals.
Long tallied two goals and 10 assists for 12 points in last five games of the regular season, including a goal and three assists in the Feb. 21 regular-season finale at Boston College, and she finished with 3-13-16 in the last 10.

Long leads the team in assists (38) and ranks second in both points (50) and plus/minus (+15); she is also third in goals (12) and tied for second in power-play goals (six).
In 21 Hockey East league games, Long tallied 34 points on seven goals and 27 assists.
Long reached the personal milestone of 100 career points with her seventh goal of the season –42nd of her career – Dec. 5 vs. Providence.

Long tallied a goal and an assist Jan. 29 at Maine and then recorded an assist in the Jan. 30 game vs. the Black Bears to extend her point-scoring streak to 17 games; she tallied six goals and 21 assists in that span (1.59 ppg). She had an assist each of the last eight games of that streak.
Long had seven multiple-point efforts during the 17-game point-scoring streak as part of 12 multiple-point games (nine multiple-assist efforts) overall this season.

In consecutive games against UConn (Feb. 7) and Vermont (Feb. 13), Long recorded an assist on seven consecutive UNH goals – the last three at UConn and all four against UVM. The three-assist effort tied her personal best, but then she established a new career high with the four assists the following game against the Catamounts.

In UNH’s last game of the 2009 calendar year (Dec. 12 at Dartmouth College), she matched her career highs in both assists (three) and points (four). And then she opened the 2010 calendar year with a goal and an assist Jan. 8 vs. Northeastern at Fenway Park.

In the Nov. 6-7 weekend, Long tallied two assists in both games against eighth-ranked Boston University. She matched her career highs in both goals (two) and points (four) against Niagara on Oct. 18.

In the season opener, Long recorded a goal – the game-winning tally – and an assist Oct. 3 vs. UConn. Long had a five-point weekend vs. UConn (0-2-2) and Maine (1-2-3) on Oct. 31-Nov. 1.
Long enters the weekend with 125 career points on 47 goals and 78 assists. She ranks second among active ‘Cats in all three statistics and is the active leader in games played (142).

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