Game Notes: Women's Hockey Plays Host to Maine for Two-Game Series (Jan. 29-30)

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The Matchup
    The University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team welcomes the University of Maine to the Whittemore Center for a two-game series Jan. 29-30. Both games begin at 2 p.m.
    Both games will be videostreamed online at unhwildcats.tv, and Sunday's matchup will also be broadcast by the Wildcat Sports Radio Network.
    UNH has a 33-2-3 lifetime record against Maine, but the Black Bears were 4-1 victors in this season's previous meeting (Nov. 23 at Le Colisee in Lewiston, Maine). UNH carried a 14-game winning streak vs. Maine into that game as part of a 28-game unbeaten streak (25-0-3) dating back to UM's 2-1 win at the Whittemore Center (Jan. 20, 2002).
    The Wildcats have a 16-1-1 home record – all at the Whittemore Center – against the Black Bears. New Hampshire is unbeaten in 13 consecutive home games (12-0-1) since January 2002.
    Overall, the 'Cats have outscored Maine 169-39 in 38 games with 16 victories by shutout.
    Earlier this season, UNH generated a 33-24 shot advantage but the Black Bears prevailed 4-1. Maine took an early 1-0 lead on a Myriam Croussette power-play goal at 3:28 of the first period. UNH leveled the score, 1-1, on Arielle O'Neill's shorthanded goal with 41 seconds remaining in the first. The Black Bears regained the lead, 2-1, with 11 seconds left in the second stanza, then extended the advantage to two goals on Croussette's second strike of the game, which was 44 seconds into the final frame. UM added an empty-net goal at 17:02 to close the scoring.

Skating Strides Against Breast Cancer
    Hockey East's awareness and fundraising initiative will take place at four venues this weekend, including UNH's Whittemore Center on Jan. 29 (men's game vs. Providence) and Jan. 30 (women's hockey vs. Maine).
    In February 2007, Hockey East debuted its inaugural "Skating Strides Against Breast Cancer". The one-day event was hosted by Hockey East schools as a way to establish a greater fan base, to raise needed funds, and to work with the specific charities to raise awareness for both the league and the specific cause.
    In the initial year, close to $20,000 was donated back to local breast cancer charities (Friends of Mel's Foundation and the American Cancer Society), vastly exceeding expectations and the four-year total is over $114,000. "Skating Strides" has won two national awards at NACMA in the "Single Day Attendance Promotion" category in 2007 and 2009.

Help Restore Hockey
    Fans at the Whittemore Center can help support local youth hockey programs this Saturday by bringing used hockey gear as a donation for the Restore Hockey Drive. You may drop off items at both the men's and women's hockey games on Jan. 29. Anyone who makes a donation will receive a ticket voucher for a women's hockey game and be entered for a chance to win two tickets to the men's Hockey East Championship at the TD Garden (Boston).

The State of New Hampshire
    New Hampshire played the ninth-ranked team for the second consecutive game when the Wildcats faced off against Northeastern University on Jan. 22 – the 'Cats previously skated against Providence College on Jan. 15. UNH prevailed in both games with a 2-1 road win against PC and a 4-3 overtime win at NU.
    Including this weekend, five of UNH's last nine regular-season games are against teams ranked in this week's national polls.
    Following this weekend, five of UNH's last seven regular-season games are on the road.
    The Wildcats are tied for sixth place (with Maine) in the Hockey East standings – the top six teams qualify for Hockey East postseason play – with eight league games remaining. UNH and Maine are ahead of UVM by two points. New Hampshire has two games remaining against both Maine and UVM.

'Cat Nips
    Kayley Herman, in her first action since. Dec. 4, recorded a career-high 40 saves to backbone the 'Cats to a 4-3 overtime victory at ninth-ranked Northeastern University on Jan. 22. She had double-digit saves in the first (12), second (12) and third (16) periods.
    The last time a UNH goalie recorded 40+ saves in a game was Dec. 13, 2002 at Harvard, when Jen Huggon stopped 43 shots in a 7-1 loss.
    Arielle O'Neill matched her personal best of three points with a goal and career-high two assists, including one on the game-winning goal in overtime, at Northeastern last weekend.
    Courtney Birchard has scored the game-winning goal each of the last two games UNH has played at Matthews Arena. She potted the overtime goal Jan. 22 vs. Northeastern and, back in November 2009, she broke a 1-1 tie late in the third period with a shorthanded goal.
    Sarah Campbell has scored a goal each of the last two games and she has three tallies this season. Emma Clark has recorded an assist on all three goals.
    Molly Morrison scored her first goal as a UNH Wildcat with a game-winning tally at ninth-ranked Providence on Jan. 15; that game was her 52nd in a UNH jersey. Morrison also recorded an assist that game to mark her first multiple-point effort as a Wildcat.
    Lindsey Minton made 31 saves to backbone New Hampshire to a 2-1 victory at ninth-ranked Providence College on Jan. 15. That total is her second highest of the season (to her personal best of 37 vs. Boston College on Nov. 28).
    A freshman –Arielle O'Neill – leads the team in goals (nine), points (15), and plus/minus (+8) and sophomore Kristine Horn is atop the assist leaderboard with seven.

Close Calls
    New Hampshire improved to 2-1-0 in overtime games this season with last weekend's 4-3 OT win at ninth-ranked Northeastern. Overall, the Wildcats are 7-3 in games decided by one goal and that includes 3-2 in Hockey East. All three games vs. UConn had a one goal margin (1-2 record).

A History of Winning
    In 33 years, UNH has never finished with a losing record. The only non-winning season was 2001, when the 'Cats finished 17-17-0. The record for fewest goals in a season (99) and lowest scoring average (2.96 gpg) was established last season; this year's squad has 41 goals in 23 games for an average of 1.78 gpg.
    With a two-game sweep of Maine this weekend, UNH will have a winning record this season for the first time since ending November with an 8-7-0 overall record.

WhatJust Happened?
    UNH built a 2-0 advantage in the first period, took a 3-2 lead early in the third and scored 16 seconds into overtime to upend ninth-ranked Northeastern, 4-3, at Matthews Arena last Saturday.
    Kristina Lavoie and Sarah Campbell gave the 'Cats a two-goal lead with strikes at 5:39 and 14:52, respectively. NU rallied to tie the score on a late first-period goal and another midway through the second stanza. Arielle O'Neill put New Hampshire back in front with an unassisted tally at 3:02 of the third period, but the Huskies leveled the score again four minutes later.
    The teams entered the five-minute extra session tied 3-3, but UNH needed just 16 seconds to end the game on a goal by Courtney Birchard.
    Kayley Herman finished with a career-high 40 saves, including 16 in the third period, to improve to 6-0-1 lifetime against the Huskies. NU's Florence Schelling stopped 25 shots.

What's Up Next?
    Following the two-game home series vs. Maine, UNH plays a home-and-home series against third-ranked Boston University. The teams face off Feb. 3 (7 p.m.) at BU and Feb. 5 (2 p.m.) at the Whittemore Center.

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 199-42-24 home record, which calculates to a .796 winning percentage. (includes this season)
    New Hampshire's 3-1 home loss to Harvard on Dec. 9 ended the Wildcats' 20-game home non-conference regular-season unbeaten streak (18-0-2) that dated back to November 2007.

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 698-188-64 for a .770 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.
    The Wildcats became the first to reach the milestone of 600 victories in January 2007. Here is a time line for each century mark:
Mark    Date    Opponent    Result    Game #    Record
1st win    12/03/77    Colby    8-4    1    1-0-0
100    02/02/83    at Dartmouth    7-1    103    100-1-2
200    01/15/89    St. Lawrence    5-2    227    200-20-7
300    11/27/94    vs. Providence    5-2    371    300-55-16
400    11/21/98    at Yale    9-2    506    400-80-26
500    02/02/03    Providence    4-1    668    500-131-37
600    01/13/07    Maine    3-1    806    600-155-51

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