WOMEN'S HOCKEY FACES ST. LAWRENCE IN NCAA REGIONAL
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THE MATCHUP

    The University of New Hampshire women’s hockey team, ranked No. 4 in this week’s national polls, enters the 2007 National Collegiate Women’s Ice Hockey Championship as the top No. 4 seed with a 28-3-5 overall record. The Wildcats play host to St. Lawrence University (28-7-3, 17-4-1), runners-up in the ECAC tournament, Saturday (1 p.m.) at the Whittemore Center.

The game will be broadcast live on the UNH Sports Network as well as on WUNH and USCHO.com.

UNH has a 24-8-3 lifetime record against St. Lawrence, and that includes 1-0-1 this season as well as a 2-1 postseason mark; additionally, the ‘Cats are 12-3-1 at home, including 7-3-1 at the Whittemore Center, vs. the Saints.

New Hampshire won the initial 21 meetings in this series. Since the 1999-2000 season, SLU holds an 8-3-3 series edge with a 3-3-1 record in Durham. Five of the last 14 meetings have been decided by overtime and UNH is winless (0-2-3) in those five OT contests.

In UNH head coach Brian McCloskey’s five-year tenure, the ‘Cats have a 2-3-3 record (0-1-3 in overtime) against St. Lawrence.

Back in November at the Whittemore Center, the teams skated to a 1-1 tie and New Hampshire recorded a 4-0 victory. In the two games, UNH outscored the Saints 5-1, recorded a 57-36 shot advantage and went 2-for-7 on the power play as well as 11 of 12 on the penalty kill.

In the series opener, Kelly Paton broke a scoreless tie with a tally at 7:31 of the second period and SLU’s Sabrina Harbec netted what proved to be the game-tying goal at 10:51 of the final frame. On the following day, Paton netted an early first-period goal and struck again midway through the second to give the ‘Cats a 2-0 lead. Martine Garland scored with 24 seconds remaining in the middle stanza and Angela Taylor potted a goal early in the third to give UNH a commanding four-goal lead.

In the short postseason history between these programs, all three previous meetings were in the ECAC tournament. The Saints prevailed 1-0 in the most recent meeting, a 2001 quarterfinal game at Appleton Arena. UNH was a 5-1 victor in the 1995 semifinals and ousted SLU from the 1993 quarterfinals with a 6-1 victory at home (Snively Arena).

THE STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
    New Hampshire enters 2007 Women’s Hockey East Championship at 28-3-5 overall with a 18-1-2 mark in Hockey East and 15-1-4 at home. The Wildcats enter the NCAA tournament unbeaten in 13 games (11-0-2) with five consecutive wins. In addition, UNH is unbeaten in its last nine home games (6-0-3).

The ‘Cats successfully defended their sweep of the 2006 Hockey East regular season and tournament titles in 2007. UNH has won the regular-season crown four consecutive years – it shared the title with Providence College in 2005 and won it outright in 2004, 2006 and 2007.

Saturday’s game will be the team’s 200th at the Whittemore Center.

New Hampshire has allowed a total of two goals in the last four games. The Wildcats have not surrendered more than two goals in a game during their 13-game unbeaten streak.

UNH improved its postseason home record to 23-2 with last weekend’s pair of wins in the Hockey East Championship; the Wildcats are 10-1 in postseason games at the Whittemore Center.

The Wildcats held UConn to single-digit shots in the semifinal game to mark the seventh time this season that UNH accomplished that feat.

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.

UNH has 30+ shots in 30 of 36 games, and that includes 17 times in which they have 40+ shots. UNH outshot the opposition in all but one game.

THAT'S NOTEWORTHY

    New Hampshire held St. Lawrence to just one goal in the Nov. 11-12 weekend at the Whittemore Center with a 1-1 tie and a 4-0 victory. The last time the Saints were limited to one goal in two games of a regular-season weekend was in the 1999-2000 season.

UNH VS. THE ECAC
    UNH went 3-1-3 against teams from the highly-touted ECAC with wins against Brown, St. Lawrence and Colgate as well as ties vs. St. Lawrence, Harvard and Dartmouth. The only loss was a 4-2 setback at (then #4) Dartmouth.
    New Hampshire defeated Colgate on the road (4-1) as well as Brown (2-0) and St. Lawrence (4-0) at home; the Wildcats have also skated to draws at home vs. SLU (1-1) and Dartmouth (3-3) as well as a 3-3 tie at Harvard.

HOW WE GOT HERE
    UNH earned one of three automatic qualifier berths into the NCAA Women’s Ice Hockey Championship by winning the Hockey East Championship tournament last weekend. The ‘Cats received the No. 4 seed to have the distinction as a host school in the regionals.

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE
    The winning team of today’s regional advances to the Frozen Four, which will be held March 16-18 at Lake Placid, N.Y. The winner of the Wisconsin vs. Harvard regional game will await this game’s victor on March 16 (5 p.m.).

UNH IN THE POSTSEASON
    New Hampshire has a 35-18 lifetime record in postseason play, and that includes 1-1 in the NCAA Women’s Ice Hockey Championship. In the 2006 NCAA tournament, UNH advanced out of the regionals with a 3-1 home win versus Harvard University then lost 5-4 to host Minnesota in the semifinals of the Frozen Four.

Prior to NCAA’s sponsorship of a women’s hockey championship, UNH won the inaugural national championship in 1998 (sponsored by the American Women’s College Hockey Alliance; AWCHA) and finished as runner-up in 1999.

The ‘Cats have a 23-2 home record in postseason play. The losses occurred in the 2000 ECAC quarterfinal (4-3 to Northeastern) and in the 1985 ECAC championship game (4-2 to Providence).

Nine of the team’s last 14 postseason games have ended with a team being shut out. UNH has won by shutout five times, including last weekend’s 2-0 victory against UConn; the opposition has blanked the ‘Cats four times.

New Hampshire has a 9-4 mark in postseason overtime games, and that includes both games of the 1999 AWCHA tournament.

UNH has won a total of seven league tourney titles. The ‘Cats are two-time Hockey East champions (2006 and 2007) and five-time ECAC titlists (1996, 1991, 1990, 1987 1986). They have finished as runner-up nine other times (2004, 2003, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1995, 1993, 1992 and 1985).
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