The University of New Hampshire women’s ice hockey team, ranked fifth in the national polls with a 15-5-5 overall record, plays a two-game series at the University of Vermont (5-22-1) in a Battle of the ‘Cats on Feb. 7-8. Both games at Gutterson Fieldhouse begin at 2 p.m.
UNH has won all previous 19 meetings, including a 4-1 victory at the Whittemore Center on Nov. 1, against UVM. The Wildcats are 7-0-0 at Gutterson Fieldhouse; last year, UNH prevailed 5-0 on the road and then outscored the Catamounts 10-0 in two home games. Of the 19 victories, 13 have been by shutout.
In this year’s matchup, New Hampshire led 2-0 at the end of the first period and 4-0 through two stanzas. Sarah Smiddy broke up the shutout bid with a power-play goal at 10:16 of the final frame. Sam Faber (1g ,2a) led the Wildcats’ attack and Kelly Paton (1g, 1a) also had a multiple-point game. Kayley Herman made 11 saves for the win while UVM’s Kristen Olychuck stopped 19 shots. UNH went 1-for-2 on the power play and 3-for-4 on the penalty kill.
PATON RECEIVES TWO HOCKEY EAST ACCOLADES
Junior forward Kelly Paton was named January’s TPS Hockey Player of the Month by Hockey East on Tuesday. Paton led UNH with 12 points (six goals, six assists) in seven January games; her numbers included two power-play goals, one shorthanded goal, one game-winning goal, a .250 shooting percentage and a +7 rating.
Paton ended the month with consecutive multiple-point efforts, including her first career hat trick Jan. 30, against Boston College to extend her point-scoring streak to six games. Also in January, Paton tallied 2-1-3 against (then) seventh-ranked Dartmouth College. In six league games, she finished with nine points on four goals and five assists.
This marks the second time in as many months that a UNH Wildcat receives the TPS Hockey Player of the Month award – sophomore forward Jenn Wakefield was honored in December.
Kelly Paton was honored as TPS Hockey Player of the Week by Hockey East on Monday. Paton tallied five points (three goals, two assists) and a +3 rating to propel UNH to a pair of wins against fifth-ranked Boston College and, with that, first place in the league standings.
She recorded her first career hat trick, which included the game-winning goal, in a 5-2 road win Jan. 30. Paton scored the first and third goals to lead the Wildcats to a 3-0 advantage, and she netted a shorthanded goal with 2:08 remaining in the game to secure the victory. In the 4-2 home win Jan. 29, she recorded two second-period assists, including one on the game-winning tally, in a three-minute span to give the ‘Cats a 3-0 lead.
SKATING STRIDES AGAINST BREAST CANCER
Hockey East’s third annual “Skating Strides Against Breast Cancer” – which began with the BC at UNH game on Jan. 29 – concludes with this weekend’s series at Vermont.
The event is intended to work with the specific charities to raise awareness for both the league and the specific cause. In the initial year, close to $20,000 was donated back to local breast cancer charities (Friends of Mel’s Foundation and the American Cancer Society), vastly exceeding expectations. Last year, over $30,000 dollars was raised.
THE STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
UNH carries a season-long six-game winning streak into the weekend at Vermont, and the Wildcats have outscored the opposition 29-10 during the streak, which matches the team’s longest unbeaten streak this season at the start of the year (4-0-2).
UNH extended its unbeaten streak vs. BC to seven games (6-0-1) with last week’s home-and-home sweep
UNH netted a goal in 11 consecutive periods before being held scoreless in the second period last Friday
UNH’s four first-period goals Friday at BC matched the team’s highest goal output in the opening stanza this season
UNH is 3-0-2 in its last five games against nationally-ranked teams.
In three games last week, UNH scored a goal in eight of nine periods – including each of the last seven – and the Wildcats also recorded double-digit shots in eight of the nine periods. They tallied a season-high 52 shots in Saturday’s 5-1 win and generated an 89-34 shot advantage in the two-game series vs. Maine.
The ‘Cats have won all nine games in which the PK has not yielded a goal. They are 5-1-1 when scoring multiple power-play goals.
UNH has competed in four Hockey East shootouts this season and has scored on 1 of 15 attempts overall for a 1-3 record.
New Hampshire opened the 2009 season with 10 games in 25 days and the Wildcats compiled a 6-1-3 record, including a 1-1-3 mark against nationally-ranked teams. UNH closes the regular season with five games in 10 days (Feb. 13-22).
Kelly Paton wasn’t the only Wildcat to have a strong month in January. Jenn Wakefield tallied eight goals – five PPG and three game-winning goals – and three assists for 11 points in seven games. Sam Faber also tallied 11 points on two goals and nine assists; she also had a team-best +8 rating. In goal, Lindsey Minton went 3-0-0 with a 1.67 GAA and .925 save percentage.
The Wildcats averaged 4.14 goals per game and scored on 11 of 38 power plays for an impressive 28.9%.
WILDCATS IN THE NATION
A handful of Wildcats are ranked among the individual national leaders. Jenn Wakefield leads the nation in both power-play goals (11) and game-wining goals (seven); she is third in goals per game (1.00), seventh in shorthanded goals (two) and 14th in points-per-game (1.52). Sam Faber ranks fourth in shorthanded goals (three) as well as 24th in assists per game (0.76). Kelly Paton is 24th in goals per game (0.60) and 22nd in power-play goals (five). UNH boasts two of the highest scoring defensemen – Kacey Bellamy is sixth (0.76 ppg) and Maggie Joyce is 19th (0.62 ppg).