The University of New Hampshire women’s hockey team, ranked No. 4 in both of this week’s national polls, opens the 2009 season Oct. 8 at home against Hockey East rival Boston College. The game, which begins at 7 p.m., will be videostreamed online at www.unhwildcats.com.

UNH has a 39-2-2 lifetime record, including last year’s season-series sweep by an aggregate score of 10-3, against Boston College. The Wildcats have won four straight in the series and are 18-2-1 against the Eagles in the six-year tenure of head coach Brian McCloskey.

UNH has an 18-0-1 home record against Boston College, and that includes 15-0-1 at the Whittemore Center; the teams skated to a 2-2 tie Jan. 8, 2005.

UNH won the initial 21 games before BC managed a tie Feb. 19, 2002. The ‘Cats have won by shutout 14 times, including the only postseason (and neutral-site) matchup between these programs – the 2006 Hockey East championship game.

In three games last year, two of which were at the Eagles’ Conte Forum, the Wildcats recorded a 111-50 shot advantage. They were 3-for-14 on the power play as well as 10 of 11 on the penalty kill. With the spotlight turned towards the goaltenders, UNH’s Kayley Herman recorded a 1.00 GAA and .940 save percentage and BC’s Molly Schaus had a 3.33 GAA and .910 save percentage.

    New Hampshire won its fifth consecutive Hockey East regular-season title and third straight league tournament championship last season, and the Wildcats advanced to the Frozen Four for the second time in three years. Along the way, UNH became the first team to go through a Hockey East season undefeated (20-0-1) and broke six league records.

The ‘Cats finished the season with 33 wins to tie the program’s single-season benchmark. UNH finished the year ranked No. 1 in penalty kill (.934) as well as second in offense (4.16 gpg), defense (1.08 gpg) and power play (.265).

The Wildcats return 12 letterwinners, including a Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award Top 10 Finalist (Sam Faber), Hockey East Scoring Champion (Jenn Wakefield) and Hockey East Goaltending Champion (Kayley Herman). Faber (25-24-49) and Wakefield (27-19-46) were the team’s top two point producers in ‘08; the former led the team in both assists and points while the latter led the squad in goals. Herman broke UNH single-season records for both wins (29) and goals-against-average (1.07).

    New Hampshire has a 27-3-1 overall record in season openers that includes 12-2-0 at home (4-1-0 at the Whittemore Center). UNH has won six straight season openers dating back to a 4-3 loss to Ohio State to start the 2002 season. The Wildcats are 2-0-0 when opening the season against a league opponent. The ‘Cats upended Maine, 4-1, at home in the 2006 season and UConn, 4-2, on the road in the 2004 season. UNH has never faced off against Boston College in a season opener.

    UNH has a 25-5-1 record in home openers. The Wildcats have won four straight home openers and are 5-0-1 in the last six. The last loss was that setback to Ohio State in the ’02 season. New Hampshire is 5-1-1 when the home opener is a league opponent. In Hockey East play, that includes the 2006 season win vs. Maine as well as a 1-1 tie vs. UConn in the ’04 season. UNH has never faced off against Boston College in a home opener.

    The Wildcats carry a 38-game regular season Hockey East unbeaten streak (35-0-3) into Wednesday’s opener against Boston College; including postseason, that streak stands at 42 games (39-0-3). The Eagles were the last league team to defeat the ‘Cats (Nov. 2, 2006; 7-2; at Conte Forum).

    UNH is 53-0-7 in home league regular-season games since the inception of Hockey East in the 2003 season. The ‘Cats are also 2-0 in postseason Hockey East home games. The Hockey East teams that have skated to a tie against New Hampshire at the Whittemore Center are Providence (three), UConn (two), Boston College and Maine.

    Hockey East will introduce a shootout this season. The league will implement the NCAA’s three-shooter system at the end of 65 minutes of play; the CCHA men and WCHA women will also use this experimental system this season. If tied at the end of overtime, both teams will earn one point and the winner of the shootout will gain another point in the league standings. UNH will utilize the shootout in all home games this season.

Hockey East expands its postseason field from four to six teams this season. The top two teams will receive a bye into the semifinals, whereas the No. 3 seed will host the No. 6 seed and the fourth seed will host the fifth seed (Feb 28/March 1) in a single-elimination game. The No. 1 seed will host the semifinals (March 7) and championship game (March 8); the top seed will play the lowest remaining seed in the semifinal round.

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