March 19, 2010

PATON AND BIRCHARD OF WOMEN'S HOCKEY TEAM HONORED AS 2009-10 ALL-AMERICANS

KELLY PATON
COURTNEY BIRCHARD

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Kelly Paton (Woodstock, Ontario) and Courtney Birchard (Mississauga, Ontario) of the seventh-ranked University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team were announced as 2009-10 RBK/AHCA Women's Hockey Division I All-Americans by the American Hockey Coaches Association on Thursday night. Paton was honored as a First Team selection and Birchard was named to the Second Team.

Paton, a senior forward and captain of the Wildcats, is ranked sixth in the nation in points per game (1.55) as well as fourth in assists per game (0.97) and 20th in goals per game (0.58); in other statistics, she is 16th in game-winning goals (four) and 17th in power-play goals (six). In 11 games vs. nationally-ranked teams, Paton tallied 14 points (6g, 8a).

Paton completed Hockey East league play ranked second in points (32), assists (20) and power-play points (13) as well as third in goals (12).

Paton led the team in points (51), goals (19) and plus/minus (+16) and is tied for the lead in game-winning goals with four. She was also second in assists (32) and tied for second in power-play goals (6). Furthermore, she ranked second in shots (128) and fourth in shooting percentage (.148).
Paton's other 2010 accolades included Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award Top 3 Finalist as well as Hockey East co-Player of the Year, First Team All-Star (unanimous selection), Three Stars Award, three-time Player of the Month and three-time Player of the Week.

Birchard, a junior who converted from forward to defense in the middle of the '09 season, is currently ranked fifth in the nation in defensemen scoring at 0.81 points per game; she is also tied with Paton in both game-winning goals (16th; four) and power-play goals (19th; six).

Birchard led Hockey East in power-play goals (four) and ranked second in defensemen scoring (13 points), third in game-winning goals (three) and fourth in power-play points (seven).

Despite missing the last six games of the season due to injury, Birchard recorded a team-high 136 shots, tied for the team lead in game-winning goals and tied for second in power-play goals; she also tied for third in assists (13) and ranked fourth in points (22), fifth in goals (nine).

Birchard's other 2010 accolades included Hockey East First Team All-Star and one league Player of the Week award.

Paton and Birchard helped UNH rank first in special teams (60.3%) -- first in power-play (27.5%) and fifth in penalty kill (90.1%) -- as well as eighth in offense (3.00 goals per game) and 10th in defense (2.00 goals per game).

UNH has had 12 All-America selections since the 1998 inaugural team. The previous Wildcats to receive this honor were Brandy Fisher ('98), Nicki Luongo ('98 and '99), Carisa Zaban ('00), Jen Huggon ('03), Martine Garland ('06 1st Team and '08 2nd Team), Sadie Wright-Ward ('06 1st Team), Jennifer Hitchcock ('06 2nd Team) and Kacey Bellamy ('09 1st Team).

New Hampshire, which made its fifth consecutive NCAA Women's Ice Hockey Championship tournament appearance this year, finished the 2010 season with a 19-9-5 overall record.

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