GAME NOTES: Women's Hockey "White Out the Whitt" Oct. 13 vs. Maine

Game Notes (PDF)

The Matchups

    The University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team concludes a three-game homestand with its Hockey East league opener Sunday, Oct. 13 against interstate rival University of Maine as part of Homecoming Weekend. The White Out the Whitt game begins at 2 p.m. and will be broadcast on the Wildcat Sports Radio Network.
    UNH has a 36-6-4 overall record, including 2-0-1 last season, against Maine. Prior to the 2012-13 season, the Black Bears swept the three-game season series in 2011-12 and won the series (2-1-0) in '10-'11. Before that, UNH had won 14 consecutive meetings spanning January 2006 to January  2010 as part of a 28-game unbeaten streak (25-0-3) in the series.
    New Hampshire has an 18-3-2 home record dating back to the first ever meeting, which was played at the Whittemore Center on Nov. 14, 1998 (6-1 win).
    The Wildcats and Black Bears faced off in the Whittemore Center the last two games of the 2012-13 regular season. On Feb. 23, Maine skated to a 2-0 lead in the first period but the 'Cats responded with a pair of second-period tallies to level the score, 2-2, and that was the final in overtime. UNH recorded a 51-27 shot advantage, including 7-4 in OT, as Maine goalie Meghann Treacy made 49 saves. On special teams, the 'Cats were 1 of 4 on the power play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill.
    On UNH's Senior Day (Feb. 24), the teams skated to a scoreless first period and New Hampshire took a 1-0 lead at 5:52 of the second stanza. The Black Bears tied the score 10 minutes later and the teams entered the final frame tied 1-1. The Wildcats regained the lead, 2-1, on a goal by Sara Carlson at 7:03 and won by that score. UNH finished with the 29-27 shot advantage and went 1-for-3 on the power play; Maine was scoreless on six power-play opportunities.

The State of New Hampshire
    New Hampshire has alternated wins and losses through four games following last weekend's loss (3-2 to RIT, Oct. 4) and win (3-2 vs. Syracuse, Oct. 5).
    The Wildcats scored two goals each of the first three games of the season before scoring three vs. Syracuse.
    The past three games have been decided by one goal and the 'Cats are 2-1 in those games.
    UNH has had seven different goal scorers and the only Wildcats with multiple goals are Nicole Gifford and Alexis Crossley, both of whom have two.
    Nine skaters have tallied an assist. Gifford (three), Jessica Hitchcock (two) and Hannah Armstrong (two) are the three 'Cats with multiple assists.
    New Hampshire has been outscored 5-1 in the first period but has the scoring edge in both the second (4-3) and third (4-2) periods.

'Cat Nips
    Nicole Gifford tallied a career-high three assists Oct. 5 against Syracuse University at the Whittemore Center; the three points equaled her personal best. She set up all three of UNH's goals to help the Wildcats erase a two-goal deficit and record a 3-2 victory. Gifford also scored a goal one day earlier vs. RIT to factor in four of the team's five goals last weekend.
    Alexis Crossley matched her career high of two goals with a pair of power-play tallies, including the game-winner, Oct. 5 vs. Syracuse.
    Vilma Vaattovaara stopped 24 of 26 shots (.923 save percentage) in UNH's 3-2 win vs. Syracuse. In two games this season, Vaattovaara is 2-0-0 with a 1.50 GAA and .956 save percentage.
    Hannah Armstrong recorded an assist in both games last weekend vs. RIT and Syracuse.
    Jessica Hitchcock tallied a point in both games last weekend with a goal vs. Syracuse and assist against RIT.

    Senior forward Nicole Gifford recorded her 50th career point with the first of her career-high three assists – a helper in the second period –  Oct. 5 against Syracuse. Gifford currently has 52 points (20g, 32a) in 104 career games.
    Classmate and fellow forward Arielle O'Neill is approaching the 50-point milestone. She enters Sunday's game with 45 points (22g, 23a) in 104 career games.
    Freshman forward Cassandra Vilgrain recorded her first career point with an assist vs. St. Lawrence in the second game of the season (Sept. 28).

Countdown to 250
    Head coach Brian McCloskey enters the weekend with 248 victories. Now in his 12th season at the UNH helm, McCloskey has compiled an overall record of 248-106-38 that includes 150-52-21-1 in Hockey East.

What Just Happened
    New Hampshire split a weekend series against CHA teams with a 3-2 loss to RIT (Oct. 4) followed by a 3-2 win against Syracuse (Oct. 5); both games were at the Whittemore Center.
    In the game vs. RIT, the Tigers led 2-1 at the end of one period despite being outshot 16-3. UNH pulled even at 14:14 of the second stanza on Heather Kashman's power-play goal. The Wildcats were whistled for four minor penalties in the third period and the Tigers regained the lead, 3-2, on an even-strength tally with 8:21 to play. RIT goalie Ali Binnington finished with 30 saves and UNH netminder Marie-Eve Jean recorded 10 of her 16 saves in the third period.
    The next day vs. Syracuse, UNH once again trailed (1-0) at the first intermission despite having the edge in shots, 12-7. And once again the 'Cats fell behind 2-0, but an Alexis Crossley power-play goal lifted New Hampshire within 2-1 at 14:45 of the second period. Jessica Hitchcock leveled the score early in the final frame on Jessica Hitchcock's goal and Crossley netted another power-play goal with 5:33 remaining to give the home team a 3-2 lead. UNH finished with a 36-26 shot advantage.

What Happens Next
    UNH hits the road for the remainder of October with a game at Boston College on Oct. 16 and a two-game series at Penn State University (Oct. 26-27). The Wildcats' next home game is Nov. 1 vs. Boston University.

In & Out
    Freshman defenseman Kate Haslett played in both games opening weekend at St. Lawrence (Sept. 27-28) but did not dress for either home game last weekend.
    Sophomore forward Haley Breedlove was out the opening weekend at SLU but skated in both home games vs. RIT and Syracuse.

Captain of the 'Cats
    Senior forward Nicole Gifford is captain of the 2013-14 Wildcats. Gifford ranked fifth on the team in assists (10) and also scored three goals – all on the power play – for a total of 13 points last year.
    This season, Gifford has tallied a point in three of four games as she leads the team in assists (three) and points (five), and is tied for the lead in goals (two). She also has a team-leading 16 shots.
    Junior forward Hannah Armstrong and sophomore defenseman Alexis Crossley are the assistant captains.
    Armstrong rebounded from an injury-plagued 2011-12 season to skate in all 34 games a year ago. She ranked fourth overall – and is the leader among returning forwards – with 19 points on 11 goals and eight assists; she was second in goals.
    Armstrong carries a two-game point-scoring streak into Sunday's game vs. Maine with an assist each of the last two games; she is tied for second on the team in assists (two).
    Crossley was a highly decorated freshman in 2012-13 with Hockey East Second Team All-Star, All-Rookie Team, Rookie of the Month and All-Academic Team included among her accolades. Crossley led all 'Cats in both assists (17) and power-play goals (five), and she ranked second in points (24). In the league, she was second in defenseman scoring, third in blocked shots (64) and fifth in both freshman scoring and power-play points (13).
    Crossley recorded her first points of the 2013-14 season with a two-goal effort vs. Syracuse to tie her benchmark for goals in a game; both of those goals were scored on the power play. She is tied (with Gifford) for the team lead in goals with those two tallies, and is second in shots with 13.

Senior Snipers
    Senior forwards Jessica Hitchcock and Arielle O'Neill are two of the top returning point producers.
    Hitchcock is a second-year Wildcat who was also a two-year letterwinner at Niagara University. She scored a goal in her UNH debut and ended the 2012-13 season ranked third in goals (nine) and fifth in points (18). Hitchcock also ranked third in shots.
    This season, Hitchcock has tallied a point in 3 of 4 games with a total of three points (1g, 2a) to rank second on the team in points and tied for second in assists.
    O'Neill, a three-time Hockey East All-Academic Team honoree, skated in 102 of 103 games the past three seasons. She netted eight goals last year as a junior to rank fourth on the team, and she also tallied seven assists for a total of 15 points. O'Neill has not recorded a point in four games this season.

Equal Opportunity Wildcat
    Sara Carlson was one of three freshman – the only forward – to skate in all 34 games last year; she was equal finisher, equal playmaker with seven goals and seven assists for 14 points.
    Carlson tallied an assist in the season opener at St. Lawrence (Sept. 27) and scored a goal the next day vs. the Saints to account for her two points in four games this season.

Mine, Mine, Mine, Mine, Mine, Mine
    Sophomore forward Brittney Redlick scored six goals to account for all six of her points in 26 games played last season. She has not recorded a point in four games this season.

Healthy Returns
    Heather Kashman (sophomore) and Jonna Curtis (freshman) return from redshirt seasons in 2012-13. Injury sidelined Kashman last year after recording 10 points (7g, 3a) as a freshman. Curtis had a strong start to her UNH career with three multiple-point efforts in the first five games, but then she was sidelined by injury the rest of the season and was awarded a redshirt season; Curtis tallied six points (2g, 4a) in five games.
    Kashman has skated in all four games this season and tallied two points with an assist at St. Lawrence (Sept. 28) and goal vs. RIT (Oct. 4).
    Curtis has yet to return to the in 2013-14.

The Puck Stops Here
    The Wildcats once again have four goaltenders on the 2013-14 roster with three returning netminders (one junior, two sophomores) and one incoming freshman.
    After missing the first 10 games of the 2012-13 season, Jenn Gilligan started 20 of the last 24 games and finished with a 10-5-3 record, 2.29 GAA, 909 save percentage and two shutouts. Her stats improved in league games with a 2.06 GAA and .915 save percentage. With those numbers, Gilligan was a Hockey East Honorable Mention selection.
    Gilligan went unbeaten (3-0-0) in November and was honored as Hockey East Goaltender of the Month in January by virtue of a 1.81 GAA and .924 save percentage.
    Vilma Vaattovaara played in 12 games, including 10 starts, a year ago and compiled a 3-9-0 record with a 4.04 GAA and .868 save percentage.
    Marie-Eve Jean went 1-1-1 with a 2.71 GAA and .906 save percentage in four games (two starts) last year as a freshman. In Hockey East league action, Jean was unbeaten (1-0-1) with a 1.45 GAA and .935 save percentage.
    In two games this season, Jean is 0-2-0 with a 3.55 GAA and .860 save percentage.

Incoming 'Cats
    UNH has three incoming student-athletes – all freshmen – with one new forward, defenseman and goaltender.
    The lone newcomer to the forward corps is Cassandra Vilgrain. She led the Edge School for Athletes to a gold medal at the World Sport School Challenge, where she was named the tournament's top forward, and to the JWHL championship game.
    Kate Haslett comes to UNH from Brooks School, where she captained the team as a senior defenseman and was named ISL All-League and All-New England Second Team.
    Ashley Wilkes played between the pipes at North American Hockey Academy in 2012-13, when she had a 19-0-1 record with a 1.09 GAA and .942 save percentage to garner JWHL First Team All-Star recognition and backbone NAHA to the league title.

Facing Off
    Arielle O'Neill led UNH and was second in Hockey East in faceoff win percentage (64.5%) last season, when she won 343 of 532 faceoffs.
    It was Nicole Gifford, however, who took the highest total of faceoffs with 661. She won 347 draws for a .525 win percentage.
    This season, O'Neill has once again been dominant in the faceoff circle with a .645 winning percentage (40 of 62) and Gifford has taken the most draws (76).

Current 'Cats With Hat Tricks
    Three current UNH skaters have scored three goals in a game.
  Hannah Armstrong - Feb. 11, 2013 vs. Connecticut
  Nicole Gifford - Nov. 26, 2011 vs. Princeton
  Jenna Lascelle - Dec. 12, 2011 vs. Dartmouth

Spanning the Globe
    The Wildcats are a team made up of student-athletes from around the world. In the geographic breakdown, 12 'Cats hail from Canada while eight are from the United States and one calls Finland home.

UNH records 700th win
    UNH, now in its 37th year at the varsity level, is the winningest women's college hockey program in the United States with an overall record of 727-232-73 for a .740 winning percentage. The Wildcats attained the most recent century milestone Feb. 3, 2011 with a 4-2 road victory against third-ranked Boston University.
    In 36 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 made five consecutive NCAA tourney appearances (2006-10) with two trips to the Frozen Four in that span.

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. UNH has an overall record of 206-56-27 (.761 win percentage) at The Whitt since the venue opened in Fall 1995.

Lights. Camera. Action!
    The UNH women's ice hockey team will have four home games broadcast on television – two on the Live Well Network (sister station of WBIN-TV) and two on Fox College Sports. Here is the schedule:
  Sat. Oct. 5    Syracuse    Live Well Network    3-2 win
  Sun. Dec. 1    Ohio State    Live Well Network    1 pm
  Sun. Feb. 9    UConn    Fox College Sports    2 pm
  Sat. Feb. 15    Vermont    Fox College Sports    2 pm

On The Air
      A total of nine games will be broadcast on the Wildcats Sports Radio Network – Fox Sports WPKX-AM 930 (Dover-Portsmouth-Rochester) and WGIR-AM 610 (Manchester). Here is that schedule:
  Sun. Oct. 13    Maine    1:45 pm
  Thur. Nov. 7    Providence    6:45 pm
  Sun. Dec. 1    Ohio State    12:45 pm
  Sun. Dec. 8    Dartmouth    1:45 pm
  Fri. Jan. 10    Providence    6:45 pm
  Sun. Jan. 19    UConn    1:45 pm
  Sun. Feb. 9    UConn    1:45 pm
  Sat. Feb. 15    Vermont    1:45 pm
  Sun. Feb. 23    Northeastern    1:45 pm

We're Back
    UNH returns 18 letterwinners from last year's team that went 14-16-4 overall and finished fourth in the Hockey East standings with a 10-8-3 league record. UNH also has three newcomers (all freshmen) for a 21-player roster consisting of 12 forwards, five defensemen and four goaltenders.
    The top two point-producing forwards were lost to graduation, but five double-digit performers are back in 2013-14. They are junior assistant captain Hannah Armstrong (11-8-19), senior Jessica Hitchcock (9-9-18), senior Arielle O'Neill (8-7-15), sophomore Sara Carlson (7-7-14) and senior captain Nicole Gifford (3-10-13).
    Two juniors – Caroline Broderick, Jess Ryan – and two sophomores – Megan Armstrong, assistant captain Alexis Crossley – return to patrol the blue line. Crossley led all 'Cats in assists (17) and ranked second overall in points (24) en route to being named a Hockey East Second Team All-Star and All-Rookie Team honoree. Armstrong was second among UNH defensemen in goals (four) and points (13).
    In goal, junior Jenn Gilligan started 20 of the last 24 games of the 2012-13 season and was a Hockey East Honorable Mention selection. Sophomores Vilma Vaattovaara (12 gp) and Marie-Eve Jean (4 gp) also return between the pipes.

Scouting the Black Bears
    The University of Maine (Orono, Maine), picked seventh in the Hockey East Coaches Preseason Poll, enters Sunday's game with a 0-1-0 overall record. The Black Bears opened the season Oct. 6 with a 5-1 loss at Boston College.
    In that game, BC led 3-0 with a 32-11 shot advantage through two periods. Maine trimmed the deficit to two goals on Brianne Kilgour's third-period goal at 5:15, but in the middle of the stanza BC netted a power-play and shorthanded goal within two minutes to regain control. Maine's junior goaltender Meghann Treacy, in her 11th career appearance, made 39 saves.
    Maine lost top scorer Brittany Dougherty (13-19-32) from last year's team (5-24-4 overall, 2-16-3 Hockey East) but returns five of seven double-digit point producers. Jennifer More (7-9-16) is the top returnee, followed by Audra Richards (7-6-13), Kayla Kaluzny (2-10-12), Brianne Kilgour (7-4-11) and Katy Massey (5-5-10).
    The Black Bears also lost top goaltender Brittany Ott (24 games started; 3.62 GAA, .903 save percentage). The aforementioned Treacy played in 10 games (seven starts) with a 0-5-1 record, 3.79 GAA and .892 save percentage.

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