DURHAM, N.H. -- The University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey program handed out nine awards and announced the captains for the 2006-07 season at the annual team banquet, which was held April 15 in celebration to the record-setting 2006 season.
Martine Garland (Toronto, Ontario), Jennifer Hitchcock (LaSalle, Ontario) and Nicole Hekle (Winnipeg, Manitoba) will captain the 2007 Wildcats. Both Garland and Hekle served as captains of the 2006 UNH team that won the Hockey East regular season and tournament titles and advanced to the Frozen Four in the program's first NCAA tournament appearance in compiling a 33-3-1 record.
Garland, an RBK All-America First Team selection, was presented with the Colleen Coyne Award as the team's top defenseman. The sophomore was the national leader in defenseman scoring at 1.09 points per game, a number that ranks 25th overall. She was also No. 3 in the nation in assists at 0.94 per game. Garland ranked third on the team in assists (32) and fourth in points (37) to lead UNH blueliners in both statistics. She also recorded an impressive plus/minus rating of +30. Garland anchored UNH's defensive unit that recorded a school-record six consecutive shutouts and ranked fourth in the nation in penalty kill (.905).
Hitchcock, an RBK All-America Second Team selection, was the Sue Merz Award (seventh player) recipient. The sophomore forward finished the 2006 season ranked No. 1 in the nation in both points per game (1.78) and power-play goals (14). Hitchcock also ranked among the top 10 in assists (second; 0.97 per game), goals (third; 0.81 per game), game-winning goals (10th; five) and shorthanded goals (10th; two). She led UNH in goals (30), assists (36) and points (66) to become the first Wildcat since Michelle Thornton in 2001 to lead the team in all three statistics. Hitchcock also led the 'Cats in both power-play goals and shorthanded goals, and she was third in both plus/minus (+39) and shooting percentage (.190).
Sadie Wright-Ward (Durham, N.H.), another RBK All-America First Team selection, was honored with both the Karyn Bye Award (most valuable player) and Tricia Dunn Award (best defensive forward). The sophomore forward ranked fourth in the nation in points (1.65 ppg), sixth in assists (0.89 apg) and seventh in goals (0.76 gpg), as well as ninth in power-play goals (eight) and 22nd in game-winning goals (four). Wright-Ward ranked second on the team in goals (28), assists (33), points (61), power-play goals, game-winning goals and plus/minus (+46).
Sam Faber (Mt. Sinai, N.Y.), the Hockey East ITECH Rookie of the Year, also received two honors - the Rookie of the Year and Fan Favorite Award. The freshman forward finished No. 7 in the nation - third among rookies - in scoring at 1.38 points per game. She is also No. 10 in assists (0.78 apg), No. 17 in goals (0.59 gpg), No. 10 in shorthanded goals (two) and No. 22 in game-winning goals (four). Faber ranked third on the team in points (51) and goals (22), as well as fourth in assists (29), first in plus/minus (+46) and second in shooting percentage (.193).
Shannon Clement (Sault Ste Marie, Ontario), in her first full year as a forward, was presented the Norma O'Dowd Hartnett Sportsmanship Award. The junior, who skated primarily as a defenseman in her first two seasons as a Wildcat, recorded 18 goals and 10 assists for 28 points in the 2006 season. Her numbers also included five power-play goals and three game-winning goals.
Becky Peters (Dover, N.H.), a senior defenseman, was bestowed the Unsung Hero Award. She was a steady, if not flashy, blueliner who also made a significant impact on the entire team off the ice. On the ice, she also contributed to the offense with one goal and six assists for seven points.
Amy McLaughlin (Berlin, Mass.) earned the Award for Academic Excellence in her pursuit of a graduate degree. The defenseman recorded a point in each of the last five games of her career to finish the season with four goals and 16 assists for 20 points. She also had an impressive plus/minus rating of +36.
Special recognition was also given to the team's three seniors - Lindsay Hansen (Northport, N.Y.), McLaughlin and Peters. Hansen, a former Unsung Hero Award (2005) and Rookie of the Year (2003) honoree, recorded 30 points on eight goals and 22 assists as a senior forward to complete her career with 38 goals and 97 assists for 135 points. Those numbers rank tied for fourth on UNH's all-time assist list and 17th in points. UNH led the nation in offense (4.81 gpg), defense (1.14 gpg), scoring margin (+3.68), power play (30.9%), combined special teams (58.6%) and winning percentage (.905). The 'Cats also boasted winning streaks of 17 and 11 games as part of a 29-game unbeaten streak.