BOSTONKelly Paton (Woodstock, Ontario) of the seventh-ranked University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team was named 2010 New England Women's Hockey Division I Player of the Year and was joined by teammates Micaela Long (South Boston, Mass.) and Courtney Birchard (Mississauga, Ontario) on the New England Women's Hockey Division I All-Star Team, the New England Hockey Writers Association announced Friday.

The UNH trio and the remainder of the New England honorees will be recognized April 13 (6 p.m.) at a banquet at the Prince Restaurant (Saugus, Mass.).

Paton, a senior forward and captain of the Wildcats who was also named a 2009 New England All-Star, ranked sixth in the nation in points per game (1.55) as well as fourth in assists per game (0.97) and 20th in goals per game (0.58); in other statistics, she is 16th in game-winning goals (four) and 19th in power-play goals (six). In 11 games vs. nationally-ranked teams, Paton tallied 14 points (6g, 8a).

Paton completed Hockey East league play ranked second in points (32), assists (20) and power-play points (13) as well as third in goals (12).

Paton led the team in points (51), goals (19) and plus/minus (+16) and tied for the lead in game-winning goals with four. She was also second in assists (32) and tied for second in power-play goals (6). Furthermore, she ranked second in shots (128) and fourth in shooting percentage (.148).
Paton's other 2010 accolades included RBK/AHCA All-America First Team, Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award Top 3 Finalist as well as Hockey East co-Player of the Year, First Team All-Star (unanimous selection), Three Stars Award, three-time Player of the Month and three-time Player of the Week.

Long, a senior forward, ranked second in the nation in assists per game (1.15) as well as sixth in points per game (1.55) and 19th in power-play goals (six). She compiled 15 points (2g, 13a) in 11 games vs. nationally-ranked teams.

Long led Hockey East in points (34), assists (27), power-play points (14) and power-play goals (four).

Long finished the season with 13 goals and 38 assists for 51 points in 33 games played. She led the team in assists and tied for the lead in points; Long also ranked second in plus/minus (+15) and power-play goals (six).

Long's other 2010 Hockey East accolades included First Team All-Star, Humboldt Storage and Moving Scoring Champion and two-time Player of the Week.

Birchard, a junior defenseman, ranked fifth in the nation in defensemen scoring at 0.81 points per game; she also tied with Paton in both game-winning goals (16th; four) and power-play goals (19th; six).

Birchard led Hockey East in power-play goals (four) and ranked second in defensemen scoring (13 points), third in game-winning goals (three) and fourth in power-play points (seven).

Despite missing the last six games of the season due to injury, Birchard recorded a team-high 136 shots, tied for the team lead in game-winning goals and tied for second in power-play goals; she also tied for third in assists (13) and ranked fourth in points (22), fifth in goals (nine).

Birchard's other 2010 accolades included RBK/AHCA All-America Second Team, Hockey East First Team All-Star and one league Player of the Week award.

Birchard, Long and Paton helped UNH rank first in the nation in special teams (60.3%) -- first in power-play (27.5%) and fifth in penalty kill (90.1%) -- as well as eighth in offense (3.00 goals per game) and 10th in defense (2.00 goals per game).

New Hampshire, which made its fifth consecutive NCAA Women's Ice Hockey Championship tournament appearance this year, finished the 2010 season with a 19-9-5 overall record.

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