The University of New Hampshire women’s ice hockey team, ranked sixth in both national polls, plays host to the University of Vermont for a two-game series at the Whittemore Center this weekend. Both games (Feb. 13 & 14) begin at two o’clock.
Both games will be videostreamed online at unhwildcats.tv and live stats will be available at www.unhwildcats.com.
UNH has a 21-1-0 lifetime record, including 12-0-0 at home, against UVM, but the Catamounts were 2-1 victors in the most recent “Battle of the ‘Cats” on Feb. 3 at Gutterson Fieldhouse. Of UNH’s 21 victories, 14 have been by shutout; that includes eight since Vermont joined Hockey East in the 2006 season.
On Feb. 3, UVM scored in the opening minutes of the game to take a 1-0 lead and in the closing minutes of the game to break a 1-1 tie en rout to recorded a 2-1 win. Chelsea Rapin gave the Catamounts the lead at 3:46 and the home team held that one-goal advantage at the first intermission despite being outshot 9-6.
UNH scored the only goal of the second period –Kristina Lavoie’s power-play tally at 14:08 – and generated an 8-3 edge in shots in the middle stanza. The score remained tied until Erin Wente scored with 2:28 remaining in the game. New Hampshire pulled goaltender Lindsey Minton in favor of an extra skater with 1:20 to play, but the UVM defense did not allow a shot and cleared the puck with 60 seconds on the clock. The Wildcats then iced the puck, forcing Minton back into net for the last 50 seconds. The Catamounts’ defensive effort kept UNH at bay the rest of the way and did not allow a shot to get through to goalie Kristen Olychuck.
UNH finished the game with a 23-16 shot advantage and was 1-for-5 on the power play (five shots) as well as 3-for-3 on the penalty kill (four shots allowed).
THE STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
New Hampshire is the only team with 10+ wins in Hockey East and has secured a berth in the Hockey East Championship tournament. The Wildcats, who play three of the last four regular-season games at home, can finish anywhere from first through sixth in the standings.
In all three games last week, the team that recorded the shot advantage lost the game. That included a 5-2 loss Feb. 6 to Boston U. at the Whittemore Center despite limiting the Terriers to nine shots (a season low by an opponent). The next day, UNH recorded a season-low 18 shots at nationally-ranked UConn but upended the Huskies, 4-1.
UNH’s overall special teams (power play + penalty kill) is the best in the nation with a 60.8% success rate.
The Wildcats’ penalty kill was a perfect 3-for-3 in each of last week’s three games (vs. Vermont, Boston U. and UConn). In the past six games, the PK is 27-for-28 (96.4%).
UNH is 14-0-3 when scoring three or more goals in a game. The Wildcats have scored multiple power-play goals 10 times are have an 8-1-1 record in those games.
The ‘Cats have surrendered the game’s first goal 15 times and are 8-6-1 in those games; in comparison, UNH is 8-0-4 when taking a 1-0 lead.
In 15 league games, UNH has outscored the opposition 21-10 in the third period. In comparison, the ‘Cats have a 13-12 scoring edge in the first period and 18-14 in the second.
UNH has five Hockey East losses this season – the Wildcats lost a total of four league games combined in the previous four seasons (2006-09). To put this in perspective, however, Boston College, Boston University, UConn, Maine, Northeastern and Vermont have lost at least four league games every year. Providence is the only exception, as the Friars had one league loss in ‘03 but have had 4+ conference losses every season thereafter.
Freshman forward Kristina Lavoie has scored a goal each of the last 11 games, which spans Dec. 9, 2009 to Feb. 7, 2010. Lavoie leads UNH rookies in goals (16) and points (25); overall, the 16 goals are a team high – as are the seven power-play goals and .200 shooting percentage – and she ranks third in points.
Micaela Long tied her career high of three assists Feb. 7 at nationally-ranked UConn.
Lindsey Minton stopped 24 of 25 shots to backbone UNH to a 4-1 road win against nationally-ranked UConn on Feb. 7. With that effort, Minton and the Wildcats also stopped UConn’s nine-game winning streak and 11-game unbeaten streak (10-0-1).
Kelly Paton became the 14th UNH Wildcat to reach the 150-point milestone Feb. 6 with an assist vs. Boston University. She enters the weekend with a point in five consecutive games after factoring in five of the team’s seven goals last week (1g, 4a).
With her next two minutes of playing time, Kayley Herman will climb into fourth place on UNH’s career leaderboard for minutes played. She currently has 4388:55 and Dina Solimini (1994-96) is at 4390:44.
UNH could have as many as seven double-digit goal scorers this season. Kristina Lavoie (16), Kelly Paton (15) and Micaela Long (10) have already reached that total, while Courtney Birchard (9), Julie Allen (8), Kelly Cahill (8) and Kristine Horn (8) are on the cusp of that threshold.
IT'S BEEN A WHILE...
Kristina Lavoie’s current 11-game goal-scoring streak is the longest by a Wildcat since Karyn Bye (‘93) recorded a 14-game streak from Nov. 20, 1990 to Feb. 1, 1991 (20 goals in 14 games).
Micaela Long’s 17-game point-scoring streak (Oct. 24–Jan. 30) was the longest in a single season by a ‘Cat since Sam Faber also had a mark of 17 games in 2006.
Long’s mark of an assist in eight consecutive games (Dec. 8–Jan. 30) was the longest single-season streak since 2007, when Sadie Wright-Ward also tallied an assist in eight straight games.
DEVELOPING THE PLAYOFF PICTURE
With two weekends remaining in the regular season, not much has been decided in the Hockey East standings. The top five teams – Providence, UConn, Northeastern, UNH and Boston U. – have secured a league tournament berth and are separated by only four points.
PC and UConn control their own destiny – either will finish atop the Hockey East standings by winning the remaining four games on the schedule. UNH, even by winning out, needs help to earn a seventh consecutive regular-season title.
THIS DATE IN HISTORY -- VALENTINE'S DAY EDITION
This will mark the second consecutive year –and also only the second time in UNH’s 33-year history – that New Hampshire plays on both Feb. 13th and 14th. The Wildcats have a 7-1-0 record, including last year’s 3-2 road win against Providence, on Feb. 13 and a 4-0-1 mark on Valentine’s Day (4-1 victory last year vs. PC).
"OPERATION HAT TRICK" CONTINUES
Last season, the University of New Hampshire athletic department announced the creation of a special project called “Operation Hat Trick,” an initiative that will give baseball hats to injured military personnel. This year’s Operation Hat Trick festivities will be held at the Feb. 13 game vs. Vermont.
For every two hats sold (suggested retail price of $19.95 each), a third will be donated to the VA Hospital’s Recreation Therapy program. Six local retailers, including an online provider, have committed to the project by selling the hats through their outlets. The retailers are: UNH Bookstore, Hayden Sports, Town & Campus, Sportdesigns.com, Friends of Men’s Hockey, Friends of Women’s Hockey and UNH Athletics.
Operation Hat Trick was launched at the UNH men’s hockey game vs. Providence on Nov. 22, 2008, and women’s hockey had its special presentation Friday, Dec. 5, 2008 vs. Harvard.
Members of the hockey teams wore Operation Hat Trick hats during introductions and then tossed each personally autographed hat into the crowd. Three team-signed hats were raffled off with proceeds going to the VA Hospital Recreation Therapy program. In mid-December, members of each hockey team traveled to the VA Hospital to meet and greet patients and to deliver the first group of hats.
Click here for more information about Operation Hat Trick or to view the product.
Senior forward Kelly Paton is captain of the 2010 UNH Wildcats. She has received five league accolades this season with three Pure Hockey Player of the Week awards (Nov. 2; Nov. 23: Nov. 30) and two Player of the Month honors (October; November).
Paton reached double digits in both goals (10) and assists (16) in just the 14th game of the season. She currently has 15 goals and 27 assists to lead the team in points; she also has a team-best plus/minus rating of +16. Paton ranks second in goals, game-winning goals (three), assists, shots (102) and plus/minus (+15); furthermore, she is fourth in power-play goals (four) and fifth in shooting percentage (.147).
In 17 Hockey East league games, she has tallied 23 points on eight goals and 15 assists.
Paton opened the 2010 season with a 12-game point-scoring streak in which she tallied seven goals and 15 assists for 22 points. That streak also included a stretch of seven consecutive games with an assist at the start of the season.
Paton, who carries a five-game point-scoring streak into the weekend, has a point in 23 of 27 games with 10 multiple-point efforts. She matched her career highs of three assists and four points Dec. 12 at Dartmouth to factor in all of the team’s goals in the 4-1 victory; that included a span of 5:37 in which she tallied three points.
WILDCATS IN THE NATION
Junior defenseman Courtney Birchard is ranked among the top 10 in three statistics – defensemen scoring (6th, 0.81 points per game), game-winning goals (4th, four) and power-play goals (8th, six).
Senior forwards Kelly Paton and Micaela Long are ranked in the top 10 in a pair of statistics. Paton is fourth in assists (1.00 per game) and fifth in points (1.56 per game) while Long is second in assists (1.15 apg) and sixth in points (1.52 ppg).
Freshman forward Kristina Lavoie has ascended to #15 in the nation in goals (0.59 gpg). She is also fourth in power-play goals (seven) and fifth in rookie scoring (0.93 ppg).
Kristine Horn, another freshman forward, is currently 15th in rookie scoring at 0.70 points per game.
Junior goaltender Kayley Herman checks in at 12th in GAA (1.87) and sophomore goalie Lindsey Minton is 18th (2.02).
A LONG TIME COMING
Senior forward Micaela Long has been a consistent point producer in her four years as a Wildcat – she has recorded double digits in both goals and assists every season. This year, Long has taken that consistency to a new level – she has recorded a point in 24 of 27 games (with point-scoring streaks of six and a team-best 17 games) to factor in 41 of the team’s 85 goals.
Long tallied a goal and an assist Jan. 29 at Maine and then recorded an assist in the Jan. 30 game vs. the Black Bears to extend her point-scoring streak to 17 games; she tallied six goals and 21 assists in that span (1.59 ppg). She had an assist each of the last eight games of that streak.
Long had seven multiple-point efforts during the 17-game point-scoring streak as part of 10 multiple-point games (seven multiple-assist efforts) overall this season.
Most recently, she matched her career high of three assists to lead UNH to a 4-1 road victory against nationally-ranked UConn; Long tallied an assist on each of the team’s last three assists.
Long leads the team in assists (31) and is second in both points (41) and plus/minus (+15). In other statistics, she is third in both goals (10) and shots (94) as well as tied for fourth in power-play goals (4).
In 17 Hockey East league games, Long has tallied 25 points on five goals and 20 assists.