November 30, 2010

Game Notes: Women's Hockey Continues Longstanding Rivalries against NU (Dec. 1) & PC (Dec. 4)

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The Matchups

    The University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team (8-7-0) opens the month of December with battles against longtime rivals Northeastern University (Dec. 1 at the Whittemore Center) and Providence College (Dec. 4 at Schneider Arena), both of whom are ranked #10 in the national polls.
    Wednesday's game vs. NU will be broadcast on the Wildcat Sports Radio Network; videostreaming and live stats will also be available.
    One of the longest rivalries in women's college hockey –dating back to 1979 – resumes Wednesday, Dec. 1 at the Whittemore Center when New Hampshire and Northeastern face off. It will be the 113th meeting between the programs. UNH has a 76-28-8 record vs. the Huskies that includes 34-9-5 at home and 26-0-1 in the last 27 meetings dating back to NU's 2-0 win in the 2002 ECAC Eastern semifinals; the Wildcats' 26-game win streak vs. the Huskies ended with a 2-2 tie in the most recent meeting (Jan. 20).
    This storied rivalry includes a special part of women's hockey –the first NCAA outdoor women's ice hockey game Jan, 8, 2010 at Fenway Park. The Wildcats scored four times in the third period to overcome a two-goal deficit and prevail 5-3 at the home of the Boston Red Sox.
    An even longer rivalry – dating back to 1977 – continues this Saturday when UNH travels to Schneider Arena to play Providence. These teams have faced off 126 times and the 'Cats hold an overall edge of 72-42-12, including 25-20-5 on the road.
    Last year, the Friars did something no other Hockey East team had accomplished in the eight-year history of the league – sweep the season series from New Hampshire with three victories vs. the Wildcats.
    In the past five years, UNH has a 12-4-2 record vs. PC.

Toys For Tots
    Help UNH hockey with the Toys for Tots toy drive for the Dec. 9 (vs. Harvard) and Dec. 11 (vs. Dartmouth) games. Donate an unwrapped toy at the Whittemore Center Box Office and purchase a ticket to either game for the discounted price of $3.

The State of New Hampshire
    New Hampshire continues a stretch of five games in 14 days Wednesday at home against Northeastern. The stretch continues Dec. 4 at Providence before concluding at home against ECAC foes Harvard (Dec. 9) and Dartmouth (Dec. 11).
    UNH's third-ranked penalty kill unit held Boston College's 11th-ranked power play scoreless in six opportunities this past Sunday at the Whittemore Center.
    This past Sunday's 3-1 loss to sixth-ranked BC marked the first time in seven games this season UNH did not win when taking a lead into the third period; the Wildcats had been perfect at 6-0-0.
    UNH has lost five consecutive games following a seven-game winning streak to carry an 8-7-0 overall record into the game vs. NU.
    UNH's five-game losing streak is the longest since the 2001 team lost five straight; that squad finished with a 17-17-0 record.
    In the nine-year history of Hockey East, this is the second time that UNH does not have a winning percentage in league play. The 2008-09 team was 0-1-3-1 through four league games (finished atop the Hockey East standings at 15-2-3-1).
    UNH has not scored a power-play goal in eight consecutive games (0-for-23). UNH's penalty kill is 34-for-37 (91.9%) in that span.

There's No Place Like Home
    Since the Whittemore Center opened in the 1995-96 season, the UNH women's ice hockey team has a 198-39-24 home record, which calculates to an .808 winning percentage. (includes this season)
    The Wildcats won each of its initial five home games of the 2010-11 season before losing 1-0 to UConn on Nov. 13; UNH had scored a goal in 109 consecutive home games dating back to Nov. 2004.
    New Hampshire has allowed just eight goals –including one empty-net goal – in seven home games this season.
    Junior goaltender Lindsey Minton is 5-2-0 with a 1. GAA, .959 save percentage and three shutouts at home.
    New Hampshire has not lost at home to a non-conference team in regular-season play since November 2007 (18-0-2 since then).

Countdown to the 700 Club
    UNH, now in its 34th year at the varsity level, is the winningest women's college hockey program in the United States with an overall record of 695-183-64 for a .773 winning percentage. In 33 years, the Wildcats have won one national championship (1998; AWCHA), four Hockey East tournament championships, six Hockey East regular-season titles, five ECAC tournament championships and four EAIAW championships. UNH has made five consecutive NCAA tourney appearances (2006-10) with two trips to the Frozen Four in that span.

'Cat Nips
    Lindsey Minton made 20 saves in the third period Nov. 28 vs. Boston College. She had finished with less than 20 saves each of her previous three games (and five times overall this season).
    Sophomore forward Brittany Skudder netted her first goal of the season Nov. 28 against Boston College.
    UNH's leading point scorers in Hockey East league play are Arielle O'Neill (2-2-4) and Kristina Lavoie (2-2-4). In league play, Bryanna Farris  has a team-best +3 plus/minus rating.
    Senior goaltender Kayley Herman returned to action Nov. 23 vs. Maine and made 20 saves in the 4-1 loss. She had been sidelined due to injury since Oct. 15 at Rensselaer.

Wildcats in the Nation
    Here is how UNH stacks up against Northeastern and Providence in the national statistics (35 teams; through Nov. 30):
    UNH    NU    PC
Offense (gpg)    23 (1.93)    16 (2.75)    11 (3.12)
Defense (gpg)    8 (1.93)    10 (2.00)    9 (1.94)
PP (%)    32 (.073)    15 (.175)    20 (.148)
PK (%)    3 (.933)    16 (.857)    11 (.873)

On the Airwaves
    A total of nine UNH women's ice hockey games will be broadcast live on The Wildcat Sports Radio Network, which consists of WGIR-AM 610 (Manchester), WQSO-FM 96.7 (Portsmouth), WGIN-AM 930 (Rochester), WCNL-AM 1010 (Newport), WUVR-AM 1490 (Lebanon), WNTK-FM 99.7 (New London) and WASR-AM 1420 (Wolfeboro).
    Here is the schedule of games (listed broadcast time begins 30 minutes prior to the start of the game):
  Oct. 30 vs. Niagara, 2-0 win
  Nov. 28 vs. Boston College, 3-1 loss
  Dec. 1 vs. Northeastern, 6:30 pm
  Dec. 11 vs. Dartmouth, 1:30 pm
  Jan. 9 vs. Northeastern, 1:30 pm
  Jan. 14 vs. Providence, 6:30 pm
  Jan. 30 vs. Maine, 1:30 pm
  Feb. 5 vs. Boston University, 1:30 pm
  Feb. 20 vs. Boston College, 1:30 pm

Scouting the Huskies
    Northeastern University enters the weekend with an 9-3-4 overall record, including 2-2-3 in Hockey East. The Huskies travels to Durham with a two-game winning streak following a 2-1 victory vs. Brown this past Sunday.
    The previous weekend, NU split a home-and-home series vs. Providence in which PC was victorious (4-1) at home and the Huskies prevailed 5-1 at home.
    Goaltending has been the team's strength in recent years. Florence Schelling has an 8-3-4 record with a 1.8` GAA, .930 save percentage and two shutouts in 15 games (all starts).
    NU's top four point producers are underclassmen. Freshman Katie MacSorley leads the team in both goals (10) and points (13) while sophomore Rachel Llanes (6-6-12), freshman Claire Santostefano (4-7-11) and sophomore Brittany Esposito (4-6-10) have reached double digits in points. Sophomore Casey Pickett (4-5-9) and senior defenseman Julia Marty (1-8-9) – a former UNH Wildcat (2008 season) – are two other top point producers.
    The Huskies have had success in close games – they have won all four games decided by one goal – and when taking a 1-0 lead (7-1-2 record). Northeastern has outscored the opposition 18-9 in the first period.

Scouting the Friars
    Providence College enters Saturday's matchup with an 11-5-1 overall record that includes 2-2-1 in Hockey East and 6-1-1 at home. Last weekend, the Friars defeated cross-town rival Brown, 3-2, on the road to win the Mayor's Cup and defeated Union, 2-1, at home.
    Kate Bacon leads five double-digit point scorers with a team-high 12 goals and five assists for 17 points. Alyse Ruff tops the team in assists (12) and ranks second in points (16). Jennifer Friedman (3-10-13), Ashley Cottrell (6-5-11) and Abby Gauthier (4-7-11) are the other top point producers; Crinne Buie and Laura Veharanta are tied for third in goals (five) and Amber Yung is tied for third in assists (seven).
    Genevieve Lacasse has started all 17 games in goal. She has an 11-5-1 record with a 1.93 GAA, .939 save percentage and two shutouts to rank #7 in the nation in save percentage.
    PC has outscored the opposition 53-33 this season, but in five Hockey East games the Friars have been outscored 13-11. Here is a period-by-period breakdown (HE in parenthesis): 14-5 (6-1), 19-14 (2-7) and 19-13 (3-5).
    Six of Providence's games have been decided by one goal and the Friars are 3-3 in those contests. PC has scored the game's first goal 14 times (8-5-1 record), and is 3-0-0 when the opposition scores first.

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