THREE WOMEN'S SKATERS NAMED TO HOCKEY EAST ALL-STAR TEAM; WILL SKATE VS. TEAM USA NOV. 22 AT THE WHIT

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WAKEFIELD, Mass. - Senior forwards Kelly Paton (Woodstock, Ontario) and Micaela Long (South Boston, Mass.), as well as junior defenseman Courtney Birchard (Mississauga, Ontario), of the fourth-ranked University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team have been selected to the Women's Hockey East All-Star Team that will face off against the 2010 U.S. Women's National Team on Nov. 22 at UNH's Whittemore Center. Game time is 1 p.m.

The three Wildcats will skate against former teammate and captain Kacey Bellamy ('09), who is currently competing with the U.S. team at the Four Nations Cup in Finland. The U.S. team also includes former WHEA student-athlete Karen Thatcher (Providence College) as well as Boston College's Molly Schaus and Kelli Stack.

The Nov. 22 exhibition game is part of Team USA's 2009 Qwest Tour, which is designed to pit the national team against elite level competition in preparation for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Team USA has already defeated the WCHA All-Stars (6-1; Sept. 5) and North Dakota (11-1; Oct. 10).

Tickets are available at the Whittemore Center box office, through www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000. Ticket prices are $9 for adults and $5 for students.

Paton, who was honored as Player of the Week and Player of the Month by Hockey East earlier this week, has tallied a point in all 10 UNH games this season and compiled 19 points on six goals and 13 assists; she leads the team in all three statistics and is ranked No. 3 in the nation in points per game (1.90) as well as sixth in assists per game (1.30). The Wildcats' captain is also second on the team in plus/minus (+8) and third in shooting percentage (.167).

Long ranks second on the team in both points (17) and assists (12), and she is tied for second in goals (five); furthermore, she leads the ‘Cats in plus/minus (+11) and the 12 assists are just four less than her previous single-season high. She is currently ranked fifth in the nation in points per game (1.70) and is seventh in assists per game (1.20).

Birchard is tied for second on the team in goals (five) and also ranks fourth in points (nine) as well as fifth in assists (four); those numbers are tops among UNH defensemen I all three statistics. In the national rankings, she is third in defensemen scoring at 0.90 points per game as well as fifth in power-play goals with three.

The Hockey East group of forwards includes senior snipers Allie Thunstrom (BC), Melissa Anderson  (Boston University) and Paton. That trio of players has scored 346 points all-time in their WHEA careers and they represent the league's only active 100-point scorers. Long and Maine's Amy Stech will also bring veteran leadership to the group of seniors. The forward list also includes upperclassmen Lindsay Berman (Northeastern) and UConn's Amy Hollstein.

The WHEA squad is loaded with underclassmen, as 10 of the 24 participants are sophomores. At forward, the list is headlined by Jenelle Kohanchuk (BU) and Mary Restuccia (BC). PC's Ashley Cottrell, UConn's Monique Weber and BC's Danielle Welch fill out the WHEA roster up front. Terriers' junior forward Lauren Cherewyk will serve as the lone alternate at forward on the WHEA roster.

On the defensive side of the puck, the roster is highlighted by Birchard and UConn's Cristin Allen. The roster also includes Jody Sydor (UConn), Peggy Wakeham (Vermont), Tara Watchorn (BU) and Amber Yung (PC) on the blue line. BU's Kasey Boucher and BC's Katelyn Kurth will serve as alternates.

In goal, the WHEA All-Stars has some incredible depth, starting with 2009 Hockey East Rookie of the Year Genevieve Lacasse (PC). NU sophomore netminder Florence Schelling has started the season on fire with a 6-1-1 record, 0.74 GAA and .970 save percentage to lead the nation in both categories. UVM's Kristen Olychuck will serve as the alternate goaltender for the WHEA squad.

BC head coach Katie King is the head coach of the WHEA All-Stars. She will be assisted by Linda Lundrigan (Northeastern), Meredith Roth (PC) and Jaime Totten (UConn).

New Hampshire's Whittemore Center was also the site of a WHEA All-Stars vs. U.S. Women's National Team exhibition game in Dec. 2005, when the U.S. team was preparing for the 2006 Olympic Winter Games. Bellamy, then a freshman for the Wildcats, skated on the WHEA All-Stars team that led 2-0 at the first intermission. Team USA rallied to tie the score in the second period and netted three goals in the final frame for the 5-2 final in front of 2,786 fans.

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