New Hampshire skaters earn Hockey East honors

WAKEFIELD, Mass. - Michael Ayers (Hingham, Mass.) and Colin Hemingway (Surrey, B.C.) of the top-ranked University of New Hampshire men's hockey team were named Goaltender of the Month and Player of the Month, respectively, for the month of March by Hockey East on Monday. Hemingway also received Player of the Month honors for February and Ayers was previously named Goaltender of the Month for January.

Hemingway, who leads the nation in game-winning goals (10) and is No. 2 in both goals (33) and goals per game (0.85), recorded five goals and nine assists for 14 points in seven March games to extend his point-scoring streak to 12 games. The junior forward scored first-period goals in a span of 4:43 in the March 24 NCAA East Regional quarterfinal game to propel UNH to a 4-3 victory against Cornell University. The first of his two tallies in that game was the 100th point of his career and he now has totals of 45-56-101 in 98 games.

Another highlight was recording a point in four game-winning goals. Most recently, Hemingway had an assist on the game-winning goal in the March 16 Hockey East title game against the University of Maine at the FleetCenter. He also set up the game-winning goal in the March 15 semifinal game against UMass-Lowell. He scored the game-winning goal in a March 8 quarterfinal game against Merrimack College and in the March 3 regular-season finale at Boston College.

Hemingway's other honors in March included Hockey East All-Conference First Team, Hockey East All-Tournament Team and NCAA All-East Regional Team.

Ayers, who leads the nation with a .853 winning percentage by virtue of a 14-2-1 record, registered a 3-0-0 record with a 1.93 GAA and a .936 save percentage in the month of March. The sophomore goaltender stopped 31 of 32 shots (96.9%) to backbone New Hampshire to its first Hockey East tournament championship with a 3-1 victory vs. Maine. He matched his career high of 33 saves in the team's 5-4 overtime victory against Merrimack that propelled UNH into the Hockey East semifinals. Ayers also stopped 24 of 25 shots (96.0%) in the regular-season finale against Boston College.

For the season, Ayers has a 2.19 GAA and a .922 save percentage; those numbers rank him seventh in the nation in goals-against-average and eighth in save percentage. Ayers' other March honors included Hockey East All-Conference Second Team and conference goaltending champion (for recording the league's lowest GAA of 1.79).

New Hampshire (30-6-3) puts its 10-game winning streak on the line April 4 in a Frozen Four semifinal matchup against third-ranked Maine. Game time at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., is 1:30 p.m. Eastern. The national title game is April 6 (7 p.m. Eastern).

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