BOSTON – The University of New Hampshire women’s ice hockey team, which has won five consecutive Hockey East regular-season titles as well as three straight league tournament championships, has been selected as the preseason favorite in 2009 according to the Hockey East Preseason Coaches Poll that was released at the league’s Media Day on Monday. This marks the fifth straight year that UNH tops the league’s preseason poll.

UNH (33-4-1 overall, 20-0-1 Hockey East) garnered four first-place votes and a total of 52 points to edge out Boston College (47 points; two first-place votes). Providence College also received two first-place votes with 43 points overall to place just ahead of the University of Connecticut (42 points). Boston University (36) was followed by Northeastern University (23) and University of Vermont (23) in a tie for sixth, and the University of Maine (14) completed the poll.

New Hampshire returns 12 letterwinners, including 2008 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award Top 10 Finalist Sam Faber (Mt. Sinai, N.Y.), 2008 Hockey East Scoring Champion Jenn Wakefield (Pickering, Ontario) and 2008 Hockey East Goaltending Champion Kayley Herman (Weyburn, Saskatchewan). Faber and Wakefield were UNH’s top two point producers last season with 49 and 46 points, respectively, while Herman set the school single-season records for wins (29) and goals-against-average (1.07). Senior captain Kacey Bellamy (Westfield, Mass.) backbones an experienced Wildcats’ defensive unit.

Fourth-ranked UNH opens the 2009 season Oct. 8 at home against 10th-ranked Boston College. Game time at the Whittemore Center is 7 p.m. Season tickets at the cost of just $30 are available until Oct. 1 at the arena Box Office or online by clicking here.

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