Game Day: Women's Ice Hockey Battles #5/6 Boston College In Home-And-Home Series

Game Notes | Live Stats (Oct 14) | Video (Oct 14) | Tickets (Oct 14) | Live Stats (Oct. 15) | Video (Oct. 15) | Audio (Oct. 15)

The Matchup
    The University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team opens Hockey East league action this weekend with a home-and-home series against nationally-ranked Boston College. The teams face off Oct. 14 (7 p.m.) at the Whittemore Center, then meet again Oct. 15 (2 p.m.) at BC's Conte Forum.
    UNH has a 44-5-4 lifetime record, including 0-2-1 in the 2010-11 season series, against Boston College. The Wildcats have a 5-3-2 edge in the last 10 meetings. The home team has not been victorious each of the past six games; UNH is 2-0-1 at Conte Forum and BC is 3-0-0 at the Whitt during that span. The 'Cats are unbeaten in their last six trips to BC (5-0-1) dating back to the Eagles' 7-2 victory in November 2006. New Hampshire's most recent win in this series was Feb. 21, 2010 (a 4-1 win at Conte Forum), and the most recent home win vs. the Eagles occurred March 8, 2009 in the Hockey East championship game (2-1).
    Last November at the Whittemore Center, UNH led the sixth-ranked Eagles 1-0 with three minutes remaining, but BC tied the score at 17:12 and struck again 46 seconds later to take a 2-1 lead; they netted an empty-net goal with five seconds remaining to secure the win. UNH goalie Lindsey Minton finished with a career-high 37 saves, including 20 in the third period.
    The teams did not face off again until the final weekend of the regular season. New Hampshire needed two points in the home-and-home series to advance to the postseason; the teams skated to a scoreless tie at BC in which the Wildcats recorded a 42-29 shot advantage, then the seventh-ranked Eagles prevailed 2-1 on UNH's Senior Day. Kristina Lavoie netted a shorthanded goal with one minute remaining in regulation but the visitors fended off the Wildcats' late surge that included a 6-on-4 advantage for the final 34 seconds.

The State of New Hampshire
    New Hampshire has a 3-1-0 overall record with a 1-1-0 mark at the Whittemore Center. Following a season-opening, two-game series sweep at Niagara University, the Wildcats split a pair of home games last weekend in which they defeated Colgate, 3-0, on Oct. 7 and lost 2-1 to Syracuse (Oct. 8).
    UNH's penalty kill went 10-for-10 last weekend (against Colgate and Syracuse) and yielded a mere six shots to the opposition.
    New Hampshire has outscored the opposition 3-0 in the first period and 9-3 in the second period, but the Wildcats have been outscored 5-1 in the final frame.
    UNH has been strong in the faceoff circle, where it has won 137 of 231 draws (59.3%).
    The Wildcats have been whistled for more penalties than the opposition all four games (21-14 overall).
    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.
    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.
    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
    Freshman goaltender Jenn Gilligan recorded a shutout in her second career start. She stopped all 19 shots faced in a 3-0 victory against Colgate University on Oct. 7 at the Whittemore Center.
    Junior forward Kristine Horn enters the weekend with a four-game goal-scoring streak, while sophomore forward Nicole Gifford carries a four-game assist streak into the BC series.
    Defensemen Katie Brock and Brynja Bogan lead the team in plus/minus at +5 and +4, respectively.
    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 weekend with 30 goals and 24 assists for 54 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.

Wildcats in the Nation
    Here is how UNH stacks up against Boston College in the national statistics (27 teams; through Oct. 13):
    UNH    BC
Offense (gpg)    11 (3.25)    15 (2.50)
Defense (gpg)    6 (2.00)    26 (4.50)
PP (%)    5 (.273)    19 (.111)
PK (%)    4 (.944)    22 (.727)

Quick Starts
    New Hampshire skated to a 3-0 lead each of the first three games of the season and did not face a deficit until the fourth game of the season, when Syracuse took a 1-0 lead midway through the second stanza.

What Just Happened?
    UNH split a pair of home games last weekend with a 3-0 win against Colgate (Oct. 7) and a 2-1 loss to Syracuse (Oct. 8) despite recording a 33-14 shot advantage against the Orange.

What's Up Next?
    New Hampshire travels to northern New York next weekend to face off against ECAC foes St. Lawrence (Oct. 14) and Clarkson (Oct. 15). The Wildcats are then idle until playing Vermont at the Whittemore Center on Nov. 3.

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 opened with three consecutive wins to mark the fifth time in coach McCloskey's 10-year tenure UNH started a season at 3-0-0.

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 201-45-24 home record, which calculates to a .789 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.
    Through four games this season, Brock is atop the UNH leaderboard in plus/minus at +5.
    Chappell skated in 64 of 65 games in her first two years at UNH. She recorded four points each of those years. Last season, 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.
    Gifford has recorded an assist each of the first four games of the 2011-12 season. She has a team-high four assists and is tied for the team lead in points (five). Gifford is fourth overall – second among forwards – in plus/minus at +2, and she is third in shots (11).

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).
    Through two weekends of the 2011-12 season, Horn has scored a goal in all four games to lead the Wildcats in goals (four). She also tallied an assist Oct. 1 at Niagara to record a multiple-point game. Horn is tied for the team lead in points (five) and is atop the leaderboard in shots (20).
    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.
    Through four games, Lavoie is also tied atop the points leaderboard with five; she has recorded three goals and two assists, and already has a pair of two-point games (Sept. 30 at Niagara; Oct. 7 vs. Colgate). Lavoie is second on the team in shots with 17.
    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.
    Entering this weekend's home-and-home series against BC, O'Neill has two points, both on assists in the Sept. 30 season opener at Niagara.

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.
    In fact, Gilligan has more than just challenged for playing time as she has received the starting nod in three of four games. She made 21 saves in her Sept. 30 collegiate debut, a 6-4 victory at Niagara. In her next start, Gilligan stopped 19 shots to record her first career shutout in a 3-0 win against Colgate on Oct. 7. She has a 2-1-0 record, 2.02 GAA and .897 save percentage.
    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.

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.
    Armstrong opened the 2011-12 season with a two-point weekend at Niagara University. She scored a goal in the Sept. 30 opener, then tallied an assist Oct. 1. She ranks third on the team – first among forwards –in plus/minus at +3.
    Hunt recorded her first point of the 2011-12 season with an assist on the Wildcats' only goal in a 2-1 loss to Syracuse at the Whittemore Center on Oct. 8.
 
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)    7 (54%)    3 (21%)    10 (37%)
Sophomore (5)    2 (15%)    8 (57%)    10 (37%)
Freshman (7)    4 (31%)    3 (21%)    7 (26%)

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 eight of the team's 13 goals (61.5%), 12 of 14 assists (85.7%) and 20 of 27 points (74.1%), as well as 75% 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 (3-0 win)
  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 Eagles
    Boston College, ranked #5/6 in this week's polls, opened the 2011-12 season last weekend with a two-game split at Minnesota-Duluth; the Eagles were defeated 7-2 in the opener, then recorded a 3-2 victory on a shorthanded goal with one second remaining in regulation.
    BC lost three-time Hockey East Player of the Year Kelli Stack (98g, 111a) and goaltender Molly Schaus (80-36-18; 1.81 GAA; .943 sv%) to graduation from last year's team that won the Hockey East tourney title and advanced to the Frozen Four.
    Five Eagles potted a goal in that two-game series. Freshman forward Alex Carpenter was one of those skaters, and she also tallied two assists to lead the team with three points. Emily Pfalzer, another rookie, and fellow defenseman Dru Burns also recorded multiple points; Pfalzer finished with a goal and an assist while Burns had two assists.
    Junior netminder Corinne Boyles started both games last weekend. She stopped 57 of 66 shots, including a 27-save effort in the 3-2 victory.
    On special teams, BC was 1-for-9 (11.1%) on the power play and 8 of 11 (72.7%) on the penalty kill.

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