Game Day: Women's Ice Hockey Faces Off Vs. Colgate in Home Opener; 'Cuse Also Travels to Durham

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The Matchups
    The University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team takes an undefeated record of 2-0-0 into its Oct. 7 home opener against Colgate University. Game time is 7 p.m. at the Whittemore Center. The Wildcats' three-game homestand continues Oct. 8 (5 p.m.) vs. Syracuse University.
    Live stats and video streaming are available for both games online at www.unhwildcats.com. Fans can present a football ticket from the Oct. 8 game (vs. Villanova) to the Whittemore Center Box Office to receive a free ticket to the women's hockey game vs. Syracuse.
    Friday night's game vs. Colgate will be broadcast live on the Wildcat Sports Radio Network with Mike Murphy calling the play-by-play and Pete Webster providing color commentary.
    UNH has a 5-2-0 lifetime record, including last year's 1-0 overtime road loss, against Colgate. The Wildcats have prevailed all four games at the Whittemore Center and that includes a 4-0 victory in the most recent meeting (October 2009); New Hampshire has outscored the Raiders 17-1 in the four meetings in Durham.
    Last year at Starr Rink in Hamilton (N.Y.), Brittany Phillips scored a power-play goal at 1:35 of overtime and Kimberly Sass made 31 saves to shut out UNH. The Wildcats recorded a 31-17 shot advantage through regulation and that included 19-6 in the first period, but Colgate had a 6-0 edge in OT. Lindsey Minton was in goal for the 'Cats and stopped 22 shots.
    UNH has a 1-1-0 lifetime record against Syracuse. Last October, the Orange prevailed 4-2 on home ice; one year earlier, the Wildcats were 2-1 victors at the Whittemore Center.
    In last year's meeting, Syracuse built a 4-0 lead with one goal in the first period, two in the second and another in the third. Arielle O'Neill scored third-period goals at 9:01 and 18:23 to lift the Wildcats within 4-2. UNH tallied a 14-8 shot advantage in the third period to finish at 28-27 overall; the 'Cats were 1-for-9 on the power play and 6 of 6 on the penalty kill.

Kashman Receives Hockey East Honor
    Heather Kashman, a freshman forward, was named the Pro Ambitions Women's Hockey East Association Rookie of the Week on Oct. 3. She recorded two points with a goal in both of the games at Niagara University to help UNH sweep the Purple Eagles. Her first-period goal in the Sept. 30 season opener gave the Wildcats a 1-0 lead, and her second-period tally the next day gave UNH a 2-0 advantage. Kashman had a +3 plus/minus rating and a .400 shooting percentage.

The State of New Hampshire
    New Hampshire improved to 9-0-1 in season openers under head coach Brian McCloskey with a 6-4 victory Sept. 30 at Niagara University. The Wildcats are now 30-3-2 overall in season openers. UNH swept the two-game series at Niagara with a 3-2 win Oct. 1 to improve to 2-0-0.
    The six goals in the 6-4 win at Niagara marked the highest UNH output since Oct. 18, 2009 against Niagara (6-1 win at the Whittemore Center) and the most scored by the 'Cats on the road since Feb. 8, 2009 at Vermont (6-2 win).
    New Hampshire scored five second-period goals in the season opener at Niagara; in comparison, the Wildcats' highest goal output in a game last season was five goals.
    Of the 21 Wildcats in the opening-day lineup, seven were freshmen.
    UNH returns 14 letterwinners, including seniors Emma Clark and Lindsey Minton as well as captains Katie Brock, Kailey Chappell and Nicole Gifford. There are nine newcomers to this year's squad.
    The Wildcats also lost nine letterwinners from a year ago and that includes 2010 All-America selection Courtney Birchard.
    The top two point producers and top three scoring forwards return. Junior forward Kristina Lavoie led the team in both assists (11) and points (20) while ranking second in goals (nine). Arielle O'Neill was the team's top goal scorer as a freshman with 11; she ranked second in points (19) and tied for third in assists (eight). Kristine Horn, another junior, tallied five goals and 10 assists for 15 points; those numbers were second in assists and tied for third in points.
    The defensive corps lost three players to graduation but consists of captains Katie Brock and Kailey Chappell, both of whom are juniors, as well as sophomore Maggie Hunt.

'Cat Nips
    Kristina Lavoie recorded her 50th career point with the first of her two points, a second-period assist, Sept. 30 at Niagara. She enters the week with 29 goals and 23 assists for 52 points.
    Lindsey Minton played in her 50th career game (48th start) Oct. 1 at Niagara. She has a 30-15-2 lifetime record with a 1.85 GAA, .918 save percentage and seven shutouts.
    Three freshman recorded a point in their Sept. 30 collegiate debut at Niagara and Jenn Gilligan made 21 saves for her first career victory. Caroline Broderick and Heather Kashman scored a goal; Jenna Lascelle tallied an assist.
    Five 'Cats recorded a point in both games of the Niagara series. They are: Heather Kashman (2-0-2), Kristina Lavoie (2-1-3), Kristine Horn (2-1-3), Nicole Gifford (1-2-3) and Hannah Armstrong (1-1-2).
    O'Neill matched her personal best of two assists Sept. 30 at Niagara. Her assists on consecutive goals were one minute apart and helped extend UNH's lead from 4-1 to 6-1 late in the second period.
    Gifford equalled her career high of two points with a goal and an assist Sept. 30 at Niagara.
    Katie Brock recorded a +3 plus/minus rating in last Friday's 6-4 victory and was a team-best +4 overall in the weekend series at Niagara. Brynja Bogan, one of three rookies on the blue line, has a +3 rating to tie for second in that statistic.

Quick Starts
    New Hampshire skated to a 3-0 lead in both of last weekend's games at Niagara. In the Sept. 30 season opener, the Wildcats led 1-0 at the first intermission on a goal by Heather Kashman, then Nicole Gifford (at 4:27) and Kristine Horn (10:34) potted second-period goals to give the 'Cats a three-goal advantage.
    UNH built a 3-0 lead faster in the Oct. 1 rematch. Horn scored at 1:50 of the first period, Kashman scored midway through the stanza and Kristina Lavoie gave the Wildcats a 3-0 lead at 3:52 of the second period.

What Just Happened?
    UNH opened the 2011-12 season with a long bus ride to Niagara University last weekend and returned to Durham with 6-4 and 3-2 victories.In the Sept. 30 opener, the Wildcats skated to a 1-0 lead in the first period and then scored five times in the second period to build a 6-1 advantage; Niagara recorded a 10-5 shot advantage and outscored the 'Cats 3-0 in the final frame; Jenn Gilligan made 21 saves defending the UNH goal.
    Sixteen hours later, the teams took the ice again and UNH once again led 3-0 midway through the game; the Purple Eagles scored late in the second stanza and in the middle of the third period to pull within 3-2, but then were whistled for penalties at 16:08 and 18:47; Lindsey Minton stopped 22 shots and was named the #1 Star of the Game.

What's Up Next?
    New Hampshire begins a three-game homestand with two games at the Whittemore Center this weekend. The Wildcats face off against Colgate University on Oct. 7 (7 p.m.), then play host to Syracuse University on Oct. 8 (5 p.m.). The three-game homestand concludes with the Hockey East opener vs. Boston College on Oct. 14 (7 p.m.).

Starting Strong
    In the 10-year tenure of head coach Brian McCloskey, UNH has exhibited a propensity for starting seasons with an extended unbeaten streak.
    Last year was one of the few exceptions, as the Wildcats won the opener but then lost the second and third games. They did reel off seven consecutive wins, however, to improve to 8-2-0 through 10 games.
    New Hampshire had opened each of the previous two seasons with six-game unbeaten streaks; the 'Cats had a 5-0-1 mark in 2010 preceded by 4-0-2 in 2009. In the 2007 season, UNH opened with nine consecutive wins. In '05 and '03 the Wildcats began with seven straight victories.
    This year's squad is off two a two-game winning streak.

200 Wins at The Whitt
    New Hampshire recorded its 200th victory at the Whittemore Center with a 4-2 victory Jan. 30, 2011 against Maine. Since the Whitt opened in the 1995-96 season, the UNH women's ice hockey team has a 200-44-24 home record, which calculates to a .791 winning percentage.

Captaining the 'Cats
    Junior defensemen Katie Brock and Kailey Chappell and sophomore forward Nicole Gifford will captain the 2011-12 UNH Wildcats. All three were named to the 2011 Hockey East All-Academic Team.
    Brock skated in all 32 games last season and matched her rookie total of 0-4-4 with an assist on three game-winning goal. She tied for fifth on the team – and was second among defensemen – in plus/minus at +2; it marked the second consecutive year Brock ranked fifth overall and second among blue liners in that statistic.
    Chappell has skated in 64 of 65 games in her two years at UNH. She also recorded four points a year ago, but Chappell tallied a goal and three assists with one game-winning goal and an assist on two other game-winning goals.
    Gifford recorded five goals and two assists for a total of seven points in 31 games of the 2010-11 season, and she tied for second on the team in shooting percentage.

The Puck Stops Here
    UNH has four goaltenders on its 2011-12 roster, but only senior Lindsey Minton entered the season with collegiate experience. Freshman Jenn Gilligan is expected to challenge for playing time, while newcomer Moe Bradley and redshirt freshman Leslie Ann McGowan complete the depth chart.
    Minton got the starting nod Oct. 1 at Niagara and stopped 22 of 24 shots to backbone the Wildcats to a 3-2 victory. It marked her 50th career game (48th start).
    In 18 games last season (all starts), Minton went 8-10-0 with a 1.84 GAA and .926 save percentage to rank 14th in the nation in GAA and 18th in save percentage. Minton allowed zero or one goal in nine of 18 games, including consecutive shutouts of Niagara University (twice) and Vermont. Minton's personal-best shutout streak ended at 219:43 when Boston U. scored a second-period goal Nov. 7.
    Minton set career highs for saves both in a period (20) and game (37) against sixth-ranked Boston College at the Whittemore Center on Nov. 28. Minton held the Eagles scoreless for 57 minutes, but then the Eagles scored goals within a minute – and added an empty-netter with five seconds remaining – to spoil Minton's career effort (BC won, 3-1).
    Minton recorded single-season highs/bests in minutes (1073:20), saves (412), save percentage (.926) and shutouts (four).
    Minton currently has a 30-15-2 lifetime record with a 1.85 GAA, .918 save percentage and seven shutouts.

Forward Thinking
    Junior forwards Kristine Horn (5-foot-8) and Kristina Lavoie (5-9), as well as sophomore Arielle O'Neill (5-10), generated 38% of the team's points a year ago as three of the top four point producers.
    Horn ranked second on the team in assists (10) and tied for third in points (15) a year ago. As a freshman in 2009-10, she was third in assists (13) and fifth in points (21).
    Lavoie led the 2011 Wildcats in both assists (11) and points (20), and was second in both goals (nine) and shots (95); she also tied for third in plus/minus and scored a team-best three power-play goals. As a freshman, Lavoie tallied 18-11-29 to rank ninth nationally in rookie scoring as well as second on the team in goals and third in both points and plus/minus.
    O'Neill led the 'Cats in goals as a rookie '11 with 11 markers, and she also led the team in shooting percentage. She ranked second in both points (19) and plus/minus.

No Longer Freshmen
    Hannah Armstrong and Maggie Hunt will be veterans on the 2011-12 squad despite their sophomore status. Armstrong, a forward, recorded eight points on three goals and five assists in 29 games a year ago; she ranked second on the team in power-play goals (three) and scored one game-winning goal with assists on two other game-winning tallies. Hunt contributed four points (two goals, two assists) as a defensemen; she scored one game-winning goal and assisted on another.
 
A Matter of Class
    Here is a glance at the class breakdown (excluding goalies) with number of players per class indicated in parenthesis:
    G (%)    A (%)    P (%)
Senior (1)    0   (0%)    0   (0%)    0   (0%)
Junior (6)    4 (44%)    2 (25%)    6 (35%)
Sophomore (5)    2 (22%)    5 (63%)    7 (41%)
Freshman (7)    3 (33%)    1 (13%)    4 (24%)

O, Canada
    Ten of 23 student-athletes on the 2011 UNH women's ice hockey roster hail from Canada. Hannah Armstrong, Kailey Chappell, Bryanna Farris, Nicole Gifford, Paige Goloubef, Jenna Lascelle, Kristina Lavoie and Arielle O'Neill are from Ontario, Jenn Gilligan hails from British Columbia and Heather Kashman is matriculating from Alberta.
    These players account for six of the team's nine goals (66.7%), 7 of 8 assists (87.5%) and 13 of 17 points (76.5%), as well as 50% of the minutes in goal.

On the Airwaves
    A total of eight 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), WNTK-FM 99.7 (New London) and WASR-AM 1420 (Wolfeboro), WSMN-AM 1590 (Nashua).
    It begins with the home opener Oct. 7 vs. Colgate and concludes with the final regular-season home game Feb. 12 against Providence.
    Here is the schedule of games (listed time is start of broadcast):
  Oct. 7 vs. Colgate, 6:55 pm
  Nov. 3 vs. Vermont, 6:55 pm
  Nov. 25 vs. Maine, 6:55 pm
  Nov. 29 vs. Union, 6:55 pm
  Dec. 11 vs. Dartmouth, 1:55 pm
  Jan. 13 vs. UConn, 6:55 pm
  Feb. 4 vs. Boston U., 1:55 pm
  Feb. 12 vs. Providence, 1:55 pm

Scouting the Raiders
    Colgate University (Hamilton, N.Y.), picked ninth in the ECAC Hockey Preseason Poll, opens the 2011-12 season Friday night at UNH's Whittemore Center. The Raiders return 14 letterwinners from last year's team that went 11-19-3 and tied for eighth in the league standings at 8-12-2.
    The top two point producers return from a year ago. Brittany Phillips led the team in both goals (15) and points (33), and she tied for the team lead in assists (18). Jenny Klynstra was second to Phillips in both goals (13) and points (27).
    In goal, Kimberly Sass played in 24 games (23 starts). She had an 8-13-3 record with a 2.88 GAA, .899 save percentage and five shutouts.

Scouting the Orange
    Syracuse University (Hamilton, N.Y.) opened the 2011-12 season last weekend at the East/West Showcase and returned home with a 1-1-0 record. The Orange defeated St. Cloud State, 2-1, in the opener and then fell 4-0 to fourth-ranked Minnesota.
    SU returns 17 letterwinners from last year's squad that went 14-16-6 overall with a 7-6-3 mark in the CHA and advanced to the league title game. In this year's preseason poll, the Orange tied for second with Niagara (behind Mercyhurst College and ahead of Robert Morris).
    Syracuse lost its top three point producers from last year's squad. Sophomore defenseman Akane Hosoyamada (2g , 16a) is the top returning scorer. Megan Skelly (7-10-17), Holly Carrie-Mattimoe (6-11-17) and Margot Scharfe (7-8-15) also reached double digits in points last season.
    The Orange return three goalies with collegiate experience. Kallie Billadeau played in 22 games (21 starts) and went 7-11-3 with a 2.84 GAA and .908 save percentage. Jenesica Drinkwater had a 6-5-3 record with a 2.64 GAA and .905 save percentage in 15 games (14 starts).
    This season through two games, six players have one point apiece. Drinkwater stopped 32 of 33 shots to defeat St. Cloud, then Billadeau made 46 saves (50 shots) against Minnesota.

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