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The University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team christens the 2011 calendar year Sunday, Jan. 9 at home against Northeastern University. Game time at the Whittemore Center is 2 p.m.
The game will be broadcast live on the Wildcat Sports Radio Network; videostreaming and stats will be available online.
One of the longest rivalries in women's college hockey – dating back to 1979 – continues Sunday when the Wildcats face off against the Huskies for the 114th meeting between these programs. UNH holds a 76-29-8 advantage that includes 34-10-5 at home. Earlier this season (Dec. 1, 2010), Northeastern won 4-0 at the Whittemore Center to end the Wildcats' 27-game unbeaten streak in the series (26-0-1) that dated back to NU's 2-0 win in the 2002 ECAC Eastern League semifinals; in fact, UNH had won 26 consecutive games until the teams skated to a 2-2 tie last January.
NU has not won consecutive games in this series since the 2001-02 seasons, when the Huskies won four straight vs. the 'Cats.
This storied rivalry includes a special part of women's hockey history – the first NCAA outdoor women's ice hockey game Jan. 8, 2010 at Fenway Park. The Wildcats scored four times in the third period to overcome a two-goal deficit and prevail 5-3 at the home of the Boston Red Sox.
In this season's previous game (Dec. 1 in Durham), the teams skated to a scoreless tie through two periods of play with UNH holding an 18-15 shot advantage. Northeastern quickly built a 3-0 lead in the final frame, however, on goals by Rachel Llanes (at 3:18), Julia Marty (5:36) and Katie MacSorley (5:47). Llanes struck again at 11:47 to close the scoring in NU's 4-0 victory. Florence Schelling made 22 saves while UNH's Lindsey Minton stopped 25 shots. Both teams went 0-for-2 on the power play.
The State of New Hampshire
New Hampshire has not played a game since defeating intrastate rival Dartmouth College, 1-0, at home on Dec. 11, 2010. That victory ended the team's eight-game losing streak (longest in program history).
Sunday's game vs. Northeastern is the third of a four-game homestand that concludes Jan. 14 against Providence College.
Including this weekend, 12 of UNH's remaining 13 regular-season games are against Hockey East foes; the only non-league game is Jan. 18 at Quinnipiac University.
UNH has lost seven consecutive Hockey East games; spanning the 2003-09 seasons, the Wildcats lost a total of 10 league games.
In nine league games this season, UNH is 1-for-29 (.034) on the power play.
Happy New Year
UNH has a 28-3-2 record in first games of a new year, and that includes a 10-0-1 mark at home. In the first game of the 2010 calendar year, the Wildcats defeated Northeastern, 5-3, in the Sun Life Frozen Fenway game (Jan. 8, 2010).
Skating Strides Against Breast Cancer
In February 2007, Hockey East debuted its inaugural "Skating Strides Against Breast Cancer". The one-day event was hosted by Hockey East schools as a way to establish a greater fan base, to raise needed funds, and to work with the specific charities to raise awareness for both the league and the specific cause.
In the initial year, close to $20,000 was donated back to local breast cancer charities (Friends of Mel's Foundation and the American Cancer Society), vastly exceeding expectations. Last year, over $23,000 was raised to bring the four-year total to over $114,000. "Skating Strides" has won two national awards at NACMA in the "Single Day Attendance Promotion" category in 2007 and 2009.
The fifth annual "Skating Strides Against Breast Cancer" will have an event on every WHEA campus this season, as well as participation by all of the Hockey East men's teams.
At UNH's Whittemore Center, the dates are Jan. 29 for the men (vs. Providence) and Jan. 30 for the women (vs. Maine). You can support the fight against breast cancer by purchasing a raffle ticket for a team-signed jersey.
New Hampshire has outscored the opposition 12-10 in the first period and 11-10 in the second stanza, but the Wildcats have been outscored 19-9 in the third period (including 15-1 in nine Hockey East league games).
UNH has not scored more than two goals in a game since defeating St. Lawrence University by a score of 5-3 on Oct. 23 – a stretch of 12 consecutive games with less than three goals.
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 199-40-24 home record, which calculates to an .802 winning percentage. (includes this season)
The Wildcats won each of its initial five home games of the 2010-11 season before losing 1-0 to UConn on Nov. 13; UNH had scored a goal in 109 consecutive home games dating back to Nov. 2004.
New Hampshire's 3-1 home loss to Harvard on Dec. 9 ended the Wildcats' 20-game home non-conference regular-season unbeaten streak (18-0-2) that dated back to November 2007.
Junior goaltender Lindsey Minton has a 1.40 GAA, .946 save percentage and four shutouts in 10 home games this season.
A freshman –Arielle O'Neill – leads the team in goals (seven), points (11), and plus/minus (+7) and sophomore Kristine Horn is atop the assist leaderboard with seven.
Nicole Gifford has scored three goals this season, and every time it has been the team's first goal of the game. In fact, two of her goals have given UNH a 1-0 lead; the other tied the game, 1-1.
Julie Allen, Kristina Lavoie and Arielle O'Neill are tied for the team lead in Hockey East league scoring with four points apiece. All three 'Cats have two goals and two assists to account for the point total.
Wildcats in the Nation
Here is how UNH stacks up against Northeastern in the national statistics (35 teams; through Jan. 3):
Offense (gpg) 27 (1.74) 17 (2.60)
Defense (gpg) 10 (2.11) 11 (2.15)
PP (%) 34 (.074) 14 (.164)
PK (%) 3 (.918) 19 (.845)
What Just Happened?
Well, it didn't just happen, but in its most recent action, UNH ended its eight-game losing streak with a 1-0 victory against intrastate rival Dartmouth College on Dec. 11 at the Whittemore Center.
Junior goaltender Lindsey Minton recorded her fourth shutout of the season – all at home – with 28 saves. She held the Big Green scoreless on six power-play opportunities (seven shots faced) and totalled double-digit saves in both the second (13) and third (10) periods.
Nicole Gifford broke a scoreless tie at 13:48 of the third period when she scored off a rebound at the right doorstep. Kailey Chappell, with the initial shot from the high slot, and Courtney Sheary set up the tally.
The Big Green pulled goalie Whitney Woodcox with 63 seconds remaining but recorded just one shot on Minton the rest of the way.
It marked the first shutout of Dartmouth this season; DC entered the game ranked #10 nationally in both offense and power play (0-for-6 vs. the Wildcats).
What's Up Next?
New Hampshire plays a home-and-home series against ninth-ranked Providence College (14-6-1 overall, 5-3-1 Hockey East). UNH's four-game homestand continues Jan. 14 (7 p.m.) and the teams face off at PC's Schneider Arena on Jan. 15 (7 p.m.).
Women's Hockey Resumes 2010-11 Season Sunday at Home Against Northeastern
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