November 4, 2010

GAME NOTES: WOMEN'S HOCKEY RETURNS TO HOCKEY EAST ACTION THIS WEEKEND VS. UVM & BU

The Matchups
    The University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team has won six consecutive games to improve to 7-2-0 overall. The Wildcats return to Hockey East league action Nov. 6 (5 p.m.) when they play host to the University of Vermont. UNH then faces off against fifth-ranked Boston U. at Walter Brown Arena (Nov. 7; 4 p.m.)
    Visit www.unhwildcats.com for links to live video and stats for both games.
    UNH has a 23-1-0 lifetime record, including 2-1-0 last season, against UVM. The Wildcats are perfect in 14 home games and that includes 4-2 and 4-0 victories last February. UNH has outscored Vermont 149-15 in 24 games with 15 wins by shutout.
    The Catamounts' lone win in this battle of the 'Cats occurred Feb. 3, 2010 at Gutterson Fieldhouse. UVM was a 2-1 victor – despite being outshot 23-16 – when Erin Wente broke a 1-1 tie with 2:38 remaining in regulation.
    New Hampshire has a 17-3-3 lifetime record, including 1-2-1 last year, against Boston U. The Wildcats have a 7-1-1 road record vs. the Terriers; in last year's only meeting at Walter Brown Arena, UNH returned home with a 4-3 victory. One day later, the 'Cats skated to a 3-0 lead, BU rallied to take a 4-3 lead and then Courtney Birchard netted an extra-attacker goal with 54 seconds remaining to force overtime.
     In a Feb. 6 matchup at the Whittemore Center, BU recorded just nine shots (UNH tallied 35) but skated to a 5-2 victory. In the Hockey East semifinal at Providence's Schneider Arena, the Terriers took a 1-0 lead with a shorthanded goal in the second stanza, then struck at 13:44, 16:11 and 19:28 of the final frame for a 4-0 victory.
    In the past two seasons, BU holds a 3-1-3 edge in this series.

The state of New Hampshire
    New Hampshire has won six consecutive games to improve to 7-2-0 overall. Last year, the team's longest winning streak was four games.
    Five of UNH's nine games have been decided by one goal, and the Wildcats won four of those five; last season, the 'Cats went 4-5 in one-goal games.
    The Wildcats have won all four games at the Whittemore Center. They have allowed just four goals in four games (1.00 gpg) in comparison to 10 goals in five road games (2.00 gpg).
    UNH's 7-2-0 record through nine games is comparable to those in recent years. The Wildcats were 6-1-2 last season and 5-1-3 in October 2008.

UNH Food Drive
     UNH Athletics has partnered with the New Hampshire Food Bank and WOKQ 97.5 FM for the 3rd Annual Wildcat Food Drive. All proceeds and contributions will support the NH Food Bank and Granite State communities. Fans who make a donation of canned goods will receive ticket discounts and be entered to win a Bose iPod docking station.
     Women's hockey fans can support the Wildcat Food Drive by bringing a canned good item to the Nov. 6 game vs. Vermont and the Nov. 13 game vs. UConn.

There's no place like home
    Since the Whittemore Center opened in the 1995-96 season, the UNH women's ice hockey team has a 197-37-24 home record, which calculates to an .809 winning percentage. (includes this season)
    Last year, the Wildcats had a 10-4-3 record at home that included 5-0-1 vs. non-conference opponents. New Hampshire has not lost at home to a non-conference team in regular-season play since November 2007 (18-0-2 since then).

Countdown to the 700 club
    UNH, now in its 34th year at the varsity level, is the winningest women's college hockey program in the United States with an overall record of 694-178-64 for a .776 winning percentage. In 33 years, the Wildcats have won one national championship (1998; AWCHA), four Hockey East tournament championships, six Hockey East regular-season titles, five ECAC tournament championships and four EAIAW championships. UNH has made five consecutive NCAA tourney appearances (2006-10) with two trips to the Frozen Four in that span.
    The Wildcats became the first to reach the milestone of 600 victories in January 2007. Here is a time line for each century mark:
Mark    Date    Opponent    Result    Game #    Record
1st win    12/03/77    Colby    8-4    1    1-0-0
100    02/02/83    at Dartmouth    7-1    103    100-1-2
200    01/15/89    St. Lawrence    5-2    227    200-20-7
300    11/27/94    vs. Providence    5-2    371    300-55-16
400    11/21/98    at Yale    9-2    506    400-80-26
500    02/02/03    Providence    4-1    668    500-131-37
600    01/13/07    Maine    3-1    806    600-155-51

'Cat nips
    Lindsey Minton blanked Niagara twice last weekend to record consecutive shutouts for the first time in her career. The last Wildcat to register back-to-back shutouts was Kayley Herman in the 2008 Hockey East tournament.
    Courtney Birchard factored in both game-winning goals in the two-game series vs. Niagara. She scored the game-winner in overtime to break a scoreleess tie on Oct. 29, then set up the game-winning tally in a 2-0 victory against the Purple Eagles on Oct. 30.
    Birchard and Kristina Lavoie share the longest active point-scoring streak of three games.
    Kailey Chappell recorded her first point of the season when she scored the game-winning goal Oct. 30 vs. Niagara. That tally gave UNH a 1-0 lead en route to a 2-0 victory.

Blue Line backbone
    One of the Wildcats' strengths in the 2011 season will be the defensive unit, which is led by senior captains Courtney Birchard and Raylen Dziengelewski, assistant captain (and senior) Courtney Sheary and sophomores Katie Brock and Kailey Chappell. Bryanna Farris, another second-year player, saw ice time as both a defenseman and forward last season.
    Birchard, a converted forward who missed the last six games of the 2010 season due to injury, brings an offensive dynamic to the unit. She garnered All-America Second Team and Hockey East First Team All-Star status last year as a junior.
    She has tallied eight points (4g, 4a) in the last six games and overall she is tied for first in points and second in assists. Birchard has a team-high 34 shots and she is tied for the lead in plus/minus (+7). Birchard has tallied a point each of the last three games with 2-3-5 in that span.
    Sheary and Dziengelewski are defensive-minded blue liners,  although Dziengelewski did finish tied for third on last year's team in assists with 13. Sheary tallied an assist three times in a four-game span (from Oct. 15-23), whereas Dziengelewski had two assists in a three-game span (Oct. 16-23).
    Brock and Chappell logged lots of ice time last season in various situations (even strength, power play and penalty kill) to return with a wealth of experience after just one season donning the Blue and White. Brock tallied an assist in three consecutive games (vs. Clarkson, St. Lawrence and Niagara). She, as well as Sheary, are tied for third in plus/minus (+5).

The puck stops here
    New Hampshire has two proven players between the pipes and can rely on both any given day.
    Senior goalie Kayley Herman went 8-4-3 in 16 games (14 starts) last season. She also had a 1.88 GAA and .913 save percentage with three shutouts. In 78 career games, Herman is 53-14-9 (.757 win percentage) with a 1.69 GAA, .917 save percentage and 14 shutouts.
    As a freshman in 2008, Herman broke the school single-season records for wins (29) and GAA (1.07); her .938 save percentage ranks third.
    On UNH's career leaderboard, Herman ranks third in GAA and fifth in both save percentage and shutouts. She is also fourth in both minutes (4627:11) and wins.
    Junior netminder Lindsey Minton had an 11-5-2 record in 19 games (all starts) a year ago. Her other statistics included a 1.91 GAA, .908 save percentage and two shutouts.
    Minton currently has a 26-6-2 lifetime record (.794 winning percentage) with a 1.69 GAA, .919 save percentage and five shutouts in 37 total games (35 starts).
    In six games this season (all starts), Minton is 5-1-0 with a 0.98 GAA and .955 save percentage to rank third in the nation in GAA and fourth in save percentage. Minton has allowed zero or one goal in five of six games, including last weekend's back-to-back shutouts of Niagara University; she carries a shutout streak of 133:28.
    Minton made a season-high 25 saves in a 1-0 overtime victory vs. Niagara on Oct. 29 and then stopped 24 shots then next day in a 2-0 victory to record back-to-back shutouts for the first time in her career..
    Her loss was a 1-0 overtime decision at Colgate in which she made 22 saves. She also surrendered just one goal in her next two games vs. Union and Clarkson.
    Herman has three starts this year. She is 2-1-0 with a 2.67 GAA and .890 save percentage.
    Freshman walk-on Leslie Ann McGowan joined the team in mid-October.

HOCKEY EAST HISTORY
    In the eight-year history of Hockey East, UNH has lost a total of 21 games to league opponents –16 in the regular season and five in postseason play. Of those 21 losses, 11 have been to Providence (nine in the regular season; two in postseason).
    New Hampshire's eight-year league record is 129-16-16 (.850 winning percentage). Additionally, the 'Cats are 10-4 in the Hockey East tournament with four titles.

Overtime Streaks End and Continue
    New Hampshire saw its overtime unbeaten streak end at 22 games (5-0-17) with a 1-0 loss at Colgate on Oct. 9 when the Raiders scored at 1:35 of overtime. Entering this season, UNH was last defeated in OT Nov. 5, 2005 at Boston College (3-2).
    The 'Cats extended their unbeaten streak in home overtime games to 21 games with a 1-0 victory against Niagara on Oct. 30. UNH has not lost an OT game at the Whittemore Center since Nov. 7, 2003 (2-1 to St. Lawrence); since then, they are 5-0-16 in 21 home games that have extended beyond 60 minutes of regulation.

On the Airwaves
    A total of nine UNH women's ice hockey games will be broadcast live on The Wildcat Sports Radio Network, which consists of WGIR-AM 610 (Manchester), WQSO-FM 96.7 (Portsmouth), WGIN-AM 930 (Rochester), WCNL-AM 1010 (Newport), WUVR-AM 1490 (Lebanon), WNTK-FM 99.7 (New London) and WASR-AM 1420 (Wolfeboro).
    Here is the schedule of games (listed broadcast time begins 30 minutes prior to the start of the game):
  Oct. 30 vs. Niagara, 2-0 win
  Nov. 28 vs. Boston College, 1:30 pm
  Dec. 1 vs. Northeastern, 6:30 pm
  Dec. 11 vs. Dartmouth, 1:30 pm
  Jan. 9 vs. Northeastern, 1:30 pm
  Jan. 14 vs. Providence, 6:30 pm
  Jan. 30 vs. Maine, 1:30 pm
  Feb. 5 vs. Boston University, 1:30 pm
  Feb. 20 vs. Boston College, 1:30 pm

On the Road
    UNH opened the 2011 season with five consecutive road games and went 3-2-0 during that stretch. It was the longest stretch of consecutive road games at the outset of a season in the 34-year history of UNH women's ice hockey. The previous mark was three games (2000-01 season). In the 1997-98 season, however, the 'Cats opened with a pair of neutral-site games followed by three road games for a total of five consecutive games before playing on home ice.
    Overall, this was the Wildcats' longest stretch of consecutive road games since the team played six straight on the road in February 2001.

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