February 1, 2011

Game Notes: Women's Hockey Plays Home-And-Home Series Against #3 Boston U.

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The Matchup

    The University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team plays a home-and-home series against third-ranked Boston University this weekend. UNH travels to Walter Brown Arena in Boston on Feb. 3 (7 p.m.) and the teams face off at the Whittemore Center on Feb. 5 (2 p.m.).
    UNH has a 17-4-3 lifetime record against Boston University, but the Terriers have won three straight and have a 4-1-3 edge in the last eight meetings. The Wildcats have an 8-1-2 home record and are 7-2-1 on the road in this series.
    In this season's previous meeting (Nov. 7 at Walter Brown Arena), UNH struck first on a Sarah Cuthbert goal at 16:25 of the first period and took that 1-0 lead into intermission. BU's Jenelle Kohanchuk leveled the score in the second stanza and, through 40 minutes, both the score (1-1) and shots (12-12) were even.
    The Terriers quickly turned a tie game into a 3-1 lead with goals 13 seconds apart by Kathryn Miller (at 8:32) and Kohanchuk (8:45). Two minutes later, Jillian Kirchner extended the advantage to 4-1. UNH pulled within 4-2 on Kristine Horn's extra-attacker goal at 15:59, but the home team reestablished a three-goal cushion with 1:41 remaining.
    BU finished with a 21-20 shot advantage. The Wildcats were 0-for-4 on the power play and 4-for-5 on the penalty kill. Lindsey Minton was in net for the 'Cats while Kerrin Sperry defended the BU Terriers' cage.

The State of New Hampshire
    New Hampshire has won three of its last four games, including back-to-back road wins against nationally-ranked teams – Jan. 15 at Providence (2-1) and Jan. 22 at Northeastern (4-3 in overtime).
    Including this weekend, five of UNH's last seven regular-season games are against teams ranked in this week's national polls; the Wildcats are 2-5-0 vs. nationally-ranked teams this season. And five of the seven are on the road; the 'Cats have a 5-5-0 road record.
    The Wildcats are tied for sixth place (with Maine) in the Hockey East standings – the top six teams qualify for Hockey East postseason play – with six league games remaining. Maine, which has five league games left, wins the head-to-head tiebreaker vs. the Wildcats. UNH and Maine are two points ahead of UVM, which also has five Hockey East games to play.

'Cat Nips
    Sarah Campbell has scored a goal three of the last four games, including an unassisted tally in the most recent game (Jan. 30) against Maine. Emma Clark had recorded an assist each of Campbell's first three goals.
    Courtney Birchard carries a three-game point-scoring streak into Thursday night's road game against BU; it matches her longest streak of the season.
    Kristina Lavoie matched her career highs in both assists (two) and points (three) Jan. 30 against Maine.
    In two games since returning from injury, senior goaltender Kayley Herman is 2-0-0; she has stopped 57 of 61 shots for a .934 save percentage.
    All three senior defensemen (Courtney Birchard, Raylen Dziengelewski, Courtney Sheary) recorded a point Jan. 29 at home vs. Maine. That happened one other game this season –Oct. 23 vs. St. Lawrence.
    Campbell and Molly Morrison are the two UNH skaters who have not been whistled for a penalty this season.

200 Wins at The Whitt
    New Hampshire recorded its 200th victory at the Whittemore Center with a 4-2 victory Jan. 30 against Maine. Since the Whitt opened in the 1995-96 season, the UNH women's ice hockey team has a 200-43-24 home record, which calculates to a .794 winning percentage.

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 699-189-64 for a .768 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.

Close Calls
    New Hampshire improved to 2-1-0 in overtime games this season with a 4-3 OT win Jan. 22 at ninth-ranked Northeastern. Overall, the Wildcats are 7-4 in games decided by one goal and that includes 3-3 in Hockey East. All three games vs. UConn had a one goal margin (1-2 record).

A History of Winning
    In 33 years, UNH has never finished with a losing record. The only non-winning season was 2001, when the 'Cats finished 17-17-0. The record for fewest goals in a season (99) and lowest scoring average (2.96 gpg) was established last season; this year's squad has 47 goals in 25 games for an average of 1.88 gpg.

Wildcats in the Nation
    Here is how UNH stacks up against Boston U. in the national statistics (35 teams; through Jan. 31):
    UNH    BU
Offense (gpg)    27 (1.88)    5 (3.81)
Defense (gpg)    12 (2.20)    2 (1.62)
PP (%)    29 (.100)    5 (.221)
PK (%)    6 (.896)    2 (.939)

What Just Happened?
    UNH split a two-game home series against the University of Maine. The Black Bears took the opener, 3-2, on Saturday but the Wildcats prevailed 4-2 the following day.
    New Hampshire built a 2-0 lead on two power-play goals before Maine rallied to tie the score with second-period power-play goals 21 seconds apart, and the Black Bears went ahead with 2:36 remaining in the game.
    Maine carried momentum into the next day and took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission. The 'Cats rallied to score four consecutive goals, however, with two tallies in both the second and third periods. The visitors netted a 6-on-4 goal at 11:38 but could get no closer despite repeatedly pulling the goalie in favor of an extra skater.

What's Up Next?
    Following the home-and-home series against Boston University, the University of New Hampshire travels to Quinnipiac for a Feb. 8 game (postponed from Jan. 18). Then there is a two-game Battle of the 'Cats with the UNH Wildcats facing off against the Vermont Catamounts on Feb. 11-12.

Home / Road Splits
    UNH has a .500 record at home (7-7-0) despite being outscored 23-26 in 14 games at the Whittemore Center. After opening with five consecutive home wins, the Wildcats are 2-7-0 in the last nine games in Durham. Kristina Lavoie (5g, 5a in 14 games) and Courtney Birchard (3g, 5a in 11 games) are the top point producers at the Whittemore Center. Lindsey Minton is 6-7-0 with a 1.78 GAA, .931 save percentage and four shutouts.
    The Wildcats have a 5-5-0 road record that includes 3-3-0 in Hockey East. Arielle O'Neill (5g, 4a) and Julie Allen (3g, 3a) are the top point producers in road venues. Minton has a 2-3-0 record with a 2.00 GAA and .912 save percentage in five games while Kayley Herman is 3-2-0 with a 3.01 GAA and .898 save percentage in five games.
    UNH is averaging more shots per game on the road (26.6) than at home (23.5). The power play, due to a 3-for-9 effort vs. Maine last weekend, is slightly better at home (6-for-44) than on the road (3-for-39).

Scoring Breakdown
    New Hampshire has been outscored 23-13 in the third period (including 19-5 in 15 Hockey East league games); but in the past eight games, the Wildcats have surrendered just four third-period goals. The goal output is even in the first (16-15) and UNH has a slight edge in the second (16-15).
    UNH ended a stretch of 15 consecutive games with less than three goals with a 4-3 overtime victory Jan. 22 at ninth-ranked Northeastern. Prior to that victory, the Wildcats had not scored more than two goals in a game since defeating St. Lawrence University by a score of 5-3 on Oct. 23.
    The Wildcats have won all five games in which they have scored at least three goals, and they are 3-9-0 when surrendering three or more goals.

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