UNH's Jones, McCloskey receive top Hockey East honors

BOSTON - Stephanie Jones (Kimberley, B.C.), a senior forward and captain on the University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team, was named co-Player of the Year and third-year head coach Brian McCloskey received CCM co-Coach of the Year honors from Hockey East at its annual banquet on Friday.

Jones was joined by teammates Nicole Hekle (Winnipeg, Manitoba) and Melissa Bourdon (Ile Bizard, Quebec) as a Hockey East First Team All-Star selection. Hekle, a sophomore forward, was also recognized as the Scoring Champion for her league-high 33 points in Hockey East games and Bourdon received the ITECH Goaltending Champion award for the second consecutive year for recording the lowest GAA in league-only games. In addition, freshman forward Leah Craig (Seaforth, Ontario) was named to the ITECH All-Rookie Team.

Jones leads New Hampshire in goals (23) and is No. 18 in the nation in that statistic (0.68 gpg). She also leads the team in game-winning goals (five) and power-play goals (seven), and ranks second in points (40) and fourth in assists (17). Both the goal and point totals are personal single-season highs and the 17 assists matches her previous best effort.

Hekle, who recorded 13 goals and 20 assists for 33 points in 20 Hockey East games, leads the 'Cats in both assists (33) and points (52) as she ranks 10th in the nation in assists (0.97 per game) and 17th in points (1.53 ppg). She is tied with Jones as the leader in power-play goals and also has a team best +22 plus/minus rating. Her assist total ranks 10th on UNH's list of single-season superlatives.

Bourdon compiled a 10-2-2 record with a 1.85 GAA, .915 save percentage and three shutouts in 16 Hockey East contests. Overall, she went 18-6-4 with a 1.94 GAA, .916 save percentage and four shutouts. She ranks 10th in the nation in GAA, 14th in save percentage and sixth in minutes played (1704:27).

Craig leads all UNH rookies in assists (16) and is tied for the lead in points (27), and the 27 points is tied for fourth overall. In 20 Hockey East games, Craig recorded seven goals and 14 assists for 21 points.

McCloskey guided the Wildcats to a share of the Hockey East regular-season title with a 13-2-4 record, and the 'Cats finished the regular season at 21-7-6 overall.

A UNH Wildcat has received the Player of the Year award in all three years of the league's existence. Jen Huggon won the inaugural award in 2003 and Carolyn Gordon shared last year's honor. McCloskey, who shared this year's honor with Tom Mutch of Boston College, was also tabbed Coach of the Year by Hockey East in his first season as head coach (2003).

UNH is the second seed in the upcoming 2005 Women's Hockey East Championship. The Wildcats will play third-seeded University of Connecticut (15-11-8, 11-5-4) in a March 12 (3 p.m.) semifinal game at Boston University's Walter Brown Arena. The winner advances to the March 13 title game, which begins at 1 p.m. and will be televised live by NESN.

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