The University of New Hampshire women’s hockey team, ranked No. 4 in this week’s national polls, enters the 2007 Women’s Hockey East Championship as the top seed with an 18-1-2 record in league play as part of an overall mark of 26-3-5. UNH’s Whittemore Center is the site of the 2007 Hockey East tournament and the Wildcats will play host to fourth-seeded University of Connecticut (17-14-3) in the first game of the tournament March 3 at 12 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on the UNH Sports Network.

The winner of that semifinal game will face off against the winner of the second semifinal – second-seeded Boston College vs. third-seeded Providence College (3 pm) – in the championship game March 4 at 12:30 p.m. The Hockey East Championship titlist receives an automatic berth into the NCAA Women’s Ice Hockey Championships.

UNH has a 21-3-3 lifetime record, including 2-0-1 this season and 1-1 in postseason play, against Connecticut. The Wildcats are 10-1-2 at home vs. the Huskies with an 8-1-2 mark at the Whittemore Center.

This season, the ‘Cats recorded a 6-2 road victory in early January and a 2-1 road win Feb. 16 before skating to a 2-2 tie at the Whittemore Center on Feb. 18. UNH never trailed in any of the three games. The Wildcats recorded a sizable shot advantage (126-47) in the series but UConn had the upper-hand on special teams as the Huskies were 3-for-12 on the power play and a perfect 8-for-8 on the penalty kill (to account for three of the seven games this season that New Hampshire did not score a power-play goal).

The last time these teams met in the postseason, UConn ousted the ‘Cats from the 2005 Hockey East tournament with a 5-4 overtime victory (at Boston University’s Matthews Arena). Since that game, UNH is 5-0-1 in the series and has outscored the Huskies by a 24-6 margin. The other postseason meeting was in the 2002 ECAC Eastern League quarterfinals and the Wildcats prevailed 4-1 at the Whittemore Center.

    Junior defenseman and captain Martine Garland was named a Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award Top 10 Finalist by The USA Hockey Foundation on Feb. 19.

An award of The USA Hockey Foundation, the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award recognizes the accomplishments of the most outstanding player in NCAA Division I women’s ice hockey each season. Other selection criteria include outstanding individual and team skills, sportsmanship, performance in the clutch, personal character, competitiveness and a love of hockey. Consideration is also given to academic achievement and civic involvement.

Garland, a 2006 RBK Hockey All-America First Team selection, has 31 points on six goals and 25 assists in 34 games this season to rank second on the team in assists and tie for third in points. Those numbers rank No. 10 in the nation in defenseman scoring (0.91 ppg) and No. 18 in assists (0.74 apg).

Garland is UNH’s seventh top 10 finalist in the 10-year history of the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award. Brandy Fisher was the inaugural recipient in 1998 and other top 10 finalists were Nicki Luongo (1999), Carisa Zaban (1999, 2000), Michelle Thornton (2001), Kira Misikowetz (2002) and Nicole Hekle (2006).

The three finalists for this year’s award will be announced March 5 and the award will be presented March 17 in conjunction with the NCAA Women’s Frozen Four in Lake Placid, N.Y.

    New Hampshire enters 2007 Women’s Hockey East Championship at 26-3-5 overall with a 18-1-2 mark in Hockey East and 13-1-4 at home. The Wildcats ended the regular season with an 11-game unbeaten streak (9-0-2) and three consecutive wins. In addition, UNH is unbeaten in its last 17 Hockey East games (15-0-2) and are unbeaten in the last seven home games (4-0-3).

The ‘Cats won the Hockey East regular-season title for the fourth time in as many years in 2007. UNH shared the title with Providence College in 2005 and won it outright in 2004, 2006 and 2007.

UNH’s penalty kill has been successful in 57 of its last 60 chances, which spans 14 games and calculates to a .950 percentage. The Wildcats’ streak of 32 consecutive successful penalty kills ended Feb. 18 on a third-period power-play goal by UConn.

New Hampshire has recorded 20+ victories all five years under head coach Brian McCloskey and 14 times in the 30-year history of the program.

The Wildcats recorded 30+ shots in 29 of 34 regular-season games this season, and that includes 17 times in which they have 40+ shots. UNH outshot the opposition in 33 of 34 game this season.

UNH’s 25 shots vs. Vermont last Saturday marked the second-lowest total for the Wildcats this season. The next day, the ‘Cats recorded 50 shots to mark the fifth time this year they recorded 50+ shots in a game.

UNH’s crowd of 1,209 Feb. 18 vs. UConn marked the second time this season that the Wildcats eclipsed 1,000 and the largest crowd since Jan. 2003.

UNH’s Whittemore Center will be the site of the 2007 Women’s Hockey East Championship. The semifinal games will take place March 3 and the championship game is March 4. Game times have been announced as 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. for the semifinal games, and the title game will begin at 12:30 p.m. There will also be a Hockey East alumni game March 4 at 9 am. Admission to the event is free.

This will be the first time in the league’s five-year history that the tournament will be held outside of Boston. Northeastern University’s Matthews Arena was the site of the 2003, 2004 and 2006 championships, and Boston University’s Walter Brown Arena was the venue in 2005.

Tickets for the 2007 Women’s Hockey East Championship Tournament are on sale now and may be purchased in person at the Whittemore Center Box Office, by phone at 1-866-WILDCAT, or on-line via www.unhwildcats.com.

The semifinals will be broadcast live worldwide via streaming on B2 Networks. Fans looking to catch the action via B2 will need a high-speed internet connection and Windows Media Player 9 or higher. All games will be available for the normal B2 rate of $6. All games can be accessed through the league’s website, www.hockeyeastonline.com, by clicking on the B2 logo.

Sunday’s championship game will be televised live on NESN.

New Hampshire is making its 23rd consecutive appearance in a conference postseason tourney this season. The Wildcats have a 30-16 overall record in 22 seasons (the first 18 years were in the ECAC) and won six championships (2006, 1996, 1991, 1990, 1987, 1986). The Wildcats finished as runner-up nine other times, including two years in Hockey East (2003, 2004); the ECAC runner-up results were in 1999, 1998, 1997, 1995, 1993, 1992 and 1985.

UNH has a 33-18 lifetime record in postseason play that includes 4-3 in Hockey East tournaments, 17-6 in semifinals and 21-2 at home (7-1 at the Whittemore Center). As a cross-reference, UNH is 6-0 in home semifinal games and 15-5 in league tournament semifinal contests.

The Wildcats are 7-10 in championship games. That mark includes 6-9 in league title games (5-1 at home).

Nine of the team’s last 12 postseason games have ended with a team being shut out – UNH has won by shutout four times, as has the opposition.

The ‘Cats have a 9-4 mark in postseason overtime games, and that includes both the semifinal and title games of the 1999 AWCHA Championship.

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