WOMEN'S HOCKEY EYES 3RD STRAIGHT HOCKEY EAST TOURNEY TITLE
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THE MATCHUP

    The University of New Hampshire women’s hockey team, currently ranked No. 2 in both national polls, enters the 6th Annual Hockey East Championship Tournament with a 30-3-1 overall record. The Wildcats became the first team to complete the league season undefeated by finishing with a 20-0-1 record. UNH faces off against fourth-seeded Boston University (15-16-3 overall, 11-9-1 HE) in a March 8 (12 p.m.) semifinal at the University of Connecticut’s Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum.

The University of Connecticut has issued a travel advisory due to a number of simultaneous home events.

The game will be broadcast live on the UNH Sports Network and live video will be provided by B2 Networks.

UNH has won all 15 lifetime meetings, including this year’s three-game sweep, against Boston University, a program that gained varsity status in 2006 (the Wildcats won six matchups between the 1978-85 seasons). The ‘Cats have outscored BU 37-8 with three wins by shutout in the Terriers’ three seasons as a member of Hockey East.

Saturday will be the first postseason game, as well as the first neutral-site game, between these programs.

This year’s three meetings occurred early in the season. UNH opened its Hockey East slate Oct. 21 with a 3-1 home win, then recorded a 4-1 road victory on Nov. 1 and a 3-2 overtime victory at home Dec. 1. The scores were close, but the shots were not. UNH amassed a 119-34 advantage in the three games and that included 44-10 in the OT win in which Jennifer Hitchcock scored with three seconds remaining. The Wildcats were just 2-for-10 on the power play but perfect (11-11) on the penalty kill.

PLAYING THE REST OF THE FIELD
    UNH swept the season series vs. UConn and went 2-0-1 vs. Providence in ‘08. The Wildcats outscored the Huskies 19-3 and recorded a 126-41 shot advantage in the two home games (Nov. 10, 8-2; March 1, 5-0) and one road game (March 2, 6-1). The series vs. PC was much lower scoring. The teams skated to a 1-1 tie at the Whittemore Center on Jan. 19, then the ‘Cat swept a home-and-home series 3-0 on the road and 3-1 at home Feb. 23-24.

The ‘Cats defeated both UConn (2-0) and Providence (3-1) in last year’s Hockey East Championship Tournament at the Whittemore Center.

New Hampshire has a 25-3-3 lifetime record against UConn and the Wildcats are unbeaten in the last 10 matchups (9-0-1). UNH has a 9-1-1 road record and has won four straight vs. the homestanding Huskies. The Wildcats are 2-1-0 in postseason play.

UNH has a 68-38-12 lifetime record vs. Providence with a 10-game unbeaten streak of 8-0-2. The Wildcats have a 10-13-0 mark in neutral-site games vs. the Friars; the teams have not faced off at a neutral site since March 21, 2004, when PC was a 3-0 victor in the Hockey East championship game at Northeastern’s Matthews Arena. These programs have faced off 12 times in postseason play (all in league tourneys) and the Friars hold an 8-4 advantage (6-3 in title games); all three Hockey East meetings have been in the title game – PC won in ‘03 and ‘04; UNH won in ‘07.

DOUBLE DOUBLE FOR UNH HOCKEY
    UNH hockey pulled off a double double in 2007 and 2008. The Wildcats became the first Hockey East school to win both the men’s and women’s regular-season championships in ‘07, and the Wildcats duplicated that feat in 2008 when both teams clinched the regular-season title on Feb. 23. The women secured their fifth straight regular-season title with a win at Providence College at 3 p.m. and the men’s team won their title later that night (9:30 p.m.) with a win against Boston College.

THE STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

    New Hampshire won its fifth consecutive Hockey East regular-season title this season and the Wildcats are the two-time defending league tournament champions.

The Wildcats ended the regular season with a 30-3-1 overall record (20-0-1 Hockey East; 14-2-0 on the road; 16-1-1 at home). UNH’s current 16-game unbeaten streak (15-0-1) is the team’s longest of the season and third unbeaten streak of at least six games this season; the ‘Cats recorded previous streaks of eight games (8-0-0) and six games (6-0-0).

UNH is the first team to finish the league regular season undefeated; the ‘Cats had just one loss in ‘04, ‘06 and ‘07; PC had one loss in ‘03. The Wildcats have a 40-game unbeaten streak (37-0-3), including postseason, vs. Hockey East teams.

New Hampshire has allowed more than one goal in just nine of 34 games this season with 10 shutouts – that means the ‘Cats yielded one goal 15 times. The opposition has scored more than two goals only two times: Dec. 7 at #6 Mercyhurst (4-3 loss) and Oct. 6 at #4 St. Lawrence (3-0 loss). In comparison, UNH has scored more than three goals 19 times (19-0-0 record).

UNH has scored the most goals in the third period (58) despite recording the fewest shots (377) in that stanza; that make the final frame the one in which the Wildcats have the highest shooting percentage (.154; in comparison to .118 overall).

A glance at the goal and shot totals portrays UNH’s league dominance. The ‘Cats surrendered a total of 15 goals in 21 Hockey East games; UNH has scored more than that in all three periods with 36 in the third period, 33 in the first and 29 in the second. New Hampshire has yielded a total of 293 shots; in comparison, UNH’s lowest shot total in a period is 273 (in the second); the ‘Cats have 279 in the first and 275 in the third.

UNH has been unbeatable as a frontrunner. The ‘Cats are perfect when scoring first (25-0-0), leading at the first intermission (20-0-0) and leading after two periods (24-0-0).

The ‘Cats have won 20+ games all six years, including 30+ two of the last three years, under the guidance of head coach Brian McCloskey. Four of the top five seasons in terms of wins – including No. 1 (33 wins) in 2006 – have come in McCloskey’s tenure. This year’s 30 victories rank behind the 2006 and 1998 (31) seasons; last year’s 28 total ranks fourth and 27 in ‘03 is fifth.

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE
    The winner of the 6th Annual Hockey East Championship Tournament receives an automatic berth into the NCAA Women’s Ice Hockey Championship. The eight-team field will be announced March 9 at 6 p.m. Eastern time. Four schools will be host of a regional game between March 14-16 and the winners of those four games advance to the Frozen Four in Duluth, Minn. (March 20 & 22).

HOCKEY EAST TOURNAMENT HISTORY
    UNH has a 6-3 lifetime record in the Hockey East Championship Tournament and has won each of the last two titles. The Wildcats were runner-up in the first two years (‘03 and ‘04), then in ‘05 they were upended in the semifinals.

New Hampshire has a 4-1 mark in the semifinals (2-1 at neutral sites) and a 2-2 record in the championship game (1-2 neutral site; 0-0 on the road).

This is UNH’s first meeting vs. Boston University in the Hockey East tourney. The ‘Cats are 1-2 vs. PC and 1-1 vs. UConn.

UNH'S IRON MAN
    Jennifer Hitchcock is the only UNH Wildcat who has skated in all 143 of the team’s games in the last four seasons. The program record for career games played is 145 held by Nicole Hekle (2004-07).


streaking
    UNH ended the regular season with a 10-game winning streak – the Wildcats also had eight-, six- and five-game winning streaks earlier this season. The current 10-game stretch and the five-game win streak comprise a majority of the team’s current 16-game unbeaten streak (15-0-1). New Hampshire has outscored the opposition 74-12 in those 16 games.
    The Wildcats also have an 11-game home unbeaten streak (10-0-1; five consecutive wins) and a nine-game road unbeaten streak (9-0-0) and a four-game neutral-site unbeaten streak (4-0-0) as well as a 40-game unbeaten streak (37-0-3), including postseason, against Hockey East teams. The last league foe to defeat UNH was Boston College – the Eagles are not in this year’s field – on Nov. 2, 2006.

WE'RE NOT VERY NEUTRAL
    Saturday’s semifinal game vs. Boston University at UConn’s Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum will be New Hampshire’s first neutral-site game of the 2008 season. In ‘07, the Wildcats were victorious in their lone neutral-site game with a 7-0 win vs. Bemidji State at the University of Minnesota’s Ridder Arena. UNH also went undefeated (3-0-0) at neutral sites in the 2006 season with two wins in the Hockey East tournament (at Northeastern University) and another vs. the University of Wisconsin at Dartmouth College.

UNH’s most recent neutral-site loss was 5-4 (in overtime) to UConn in a 2005 Hockey East semifinal game that was held at Boston University.

New Hampshire lost its only neutral-site matchup at UConn’s Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum: March 15, 2002 in the ECAC Eastern League semifinals to Northeastern, 2-0.
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