February 16, 2012

Game Notes: Women's Hockey Closes Out 2012 Regular-Season At Maine (Feb. 18-19)

COMPLETE GAME NOTES

The Matchup
    The University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team concludes the 2012 regular season this weekend with a two-game series at the University of Maine. The teams face off Feb. 18 and play the finale on Feb. 19.
    UNH has a 34-4-3 overall record, including a 3-0 home loss this season, against Maine. The Black Bears won last year's season series (2-1-0) to give them a 3-1-0 edge the last four meetings with a 12-7 scoring advantage.
    The Wildcats have never lost (15-0-2) in 17 games at Alfond Arena. Last year, the 'Cats did not travel to Alfond Arena, as Maine's only home game in the three-game series was played at the Androscoggin Colisee (Lewiston, Maine). In the most recent games in Orono, UNH prevailed 5-2 and 3-1 in January 2010.
    In the Nov. 25, 2011 game at the Whittemore Center, Maine skated to a 3-0 victory despite UNH's 32-21 shot advantage that included a 10-3 edge in the third period. The Black Bears quickly took a 1-0 lead on Brittany Dougherty's shorthanded goal at 1:28 of the first period. Myriam Croussette netted UM's second shorthanded goal of the period at 16:19 and the visitors maintained that two-goal advantage until 19:00 of the second stanza, when Tori Pasquariello scored an even-strength goal. That game marked the first career start for UNH goaltender Moe Bradley, who made eight of her 18 saves in the first period. Maine's Brittany Ott recorded double-digit saves all three periods (10-12-10) for a total of 32. New Hampshire went 0-for-6 on the power play (11 shots); Maine was 0-for-3.

The State of New Hampshire
    New Hampshire has a 10-19-3 overall record that includes 4-13-2 in Hockey East and 3-12-1 on the road (0-8-0 in Hockey East away games). UNH has lost five consecutive games, which matches its longest losing streak of the season; the Wildcats also lost five straight in November.
    Since recording a season-high 38 shots in a 4-2 win against Vermont on Jan. 28, the Wildcats have not recorded more than 23 shots in a game (five games; all losses).
    The second period has been UNH's most productive in terms of goals (30), shots (277) and shooting percentage (.108).
    The Wildcats were not whistled for a penalty Feb. 5 at UConn; the last time the 'Cats did not commit a penalty in a game was Oct. 21, 2007 vs. Boston University.
    UNH is one of three Division I teams that has not scored a shorthanded goal this season (34 teams overall).

'Cat Nips
    Kristina Lavoie has recorded 16 points in the 2012 calendar year (11 games). She has eight goals and eight assists and has tallied a point in eight of 11 games with five multiple-point efforts (including one hat trick, a pair of two-goal games and two multiple-assist games, including a three-assist effort).
    Lavoie is averaging nearly a point per game (18pts/ 19games) in Hockey East league play.
    Nicole Gifford matched her career high of two assists Feb. 12 against Providence College. It marked her fifth two-assist game of the season (and career).
    In her first appearance since a Dec. 11 relief stint, Jenn Gilligan stopped 21 of 24 shots Feb. 11 vs. Providence (3-1 loss). She held the Friars to one goal until the final 90 seconds, when they struck twice.
    In her last career game at the Whittemore Center, Lindsey Minton made 27 saves last Sunday (Feb. 12) in a 4-2 loss against PC.

Developing The Playoff Picture
    With two games left in the regular season, five teams have secured a berth in the six-team field of the Women's Hockey East Championship tournament. UNH enters the weekend sixth in the standings, one point ahead of UConn and two points in front of Vermont. The Wildcats hold the tiebreaker advantage against UConn, but not UVM.
    UNH concludes the season with two games at Maine (Saturday–Sunday) while UConn plays a home-and home vs. Boston University (Saturday-Sunday) and Vermont plays two games at BC (Friday-Saturday).

Wildcats in the Nation
    Here is how UNH stacks up against Maine in the national statistics (34 teams; through Feb. 16):
    UNH    Maine
Offense (gpg)    24 (2.16)    16 (2.87)
Defense (gpg)    30 (3.69)    17 (2.35)
PP (%)    15 (.176)    24 (.126)
PK (%)    15 (.852)    22 (.834)

What Just Happened?
    UNH was swept by Providence College in a two-game series at the Whittemore Center. PC was a 3-1 victor on Saturday, Feb. 11 and then prevailed 4-2 on UNH's Senior Day. Kristina Lavoie factored in all three of the Wildcats' goals, and that included a two-goal effort in the last home game of the season.
    In the opener, PC struck early in the first period and held that 1-0 lead until the 'Cats leveled the score on an Arielle O'Neill power-play goal at 8:16 of the third period. The game remained deadlocked until PC scored with 1:29 remaining in regulation, and then again 47 seconds later.
    Providence built a 2-0 lead the following day with goals at 13:00 of the first period and 10:03 of the second. UNH pulled even with tallies at 14:38 of the second stanza and 38 seconds into the final frame. The Friars quickly reestablished a two-goal lead with goals at 4:16 and 9:50.

Road Woes
    UNH is 3-12-1 on the road this season and has lost 10 consecutive road games dating back to a 5-4 overtime victory at Dartmouth College on Nov. 6, 2011. Six of those 10 games were to nationally-ranked teams, (BU, two vs. Minnesota, two vs. Northeastern, BC) and another was to a team currently in the top 10 (Harvard).
    Each of the last two road games (Feb. 5 at UConn; Jan. 29 at Vermont), New Hampshire has led at the end of the first period and been tied at the second intermission. At UConn, the Wildcats led 2-1 and then were tied 2-2 (in a 6-3 loss); one week earlier, UNH led 1-0 and was tied 1-1 (in a 2-1 loss).
    UNH struck first in the third period at UConn to mark the first time the 'Cats held a lead on the road in the third period since the opening weekend of the season – Oct. 1 at Niagara.

Saluting The Seniors
    The Class of 2012 has been part of one Hockey East regular-season title, one Hockey East tournament championship and two NCAA tourney appearances. Emma Clark came to UNH as a transfer in the 2009-10 season. She saved her best for last with career highs in goals (six), assists (five) and points (11) as a senior. Clark was outstanding in January, when she recorded six points in seven games and scored a game-winning goal against both UConn and Boston U. In three seasons donning the Blue & White jersey, Clark has six goals and 11 assists for 17 points in 92 games; her overall numbers are 9-11-20 in 124 games. Lindsey Minton has been a four-year starter in goal for the Wildcats. She stopped all 27 shots she faced in her first career start to earn her first win and shutout against Northeastern. Minton went on to a perfect record of 10-0-0 with an impressive 1.72 GAA as a freshman, and she was named the UNH Rookie of the Year. She went on to record 11 victories as a sophomore and finished with a .926 save percentage as a junior. In the first four games of January 2012, she recorded a 1.75 GAA and .938 save percentage with a career-high 39-save effort at Boston College. Minton's career stats include 34 wins and eight shutouts.

Right at Home
    New Hampshire went 7-7-2 at the Whittemore Center this season. Lindsey Minton was unbeaten in her first six home games of the season (4-0-1) before a 5-1 loss to Boston University on Feb. 4. In eight home games, Minton went 4-2-1 with a 2.70 GAA, .896 save percentage and one shutout. Jenn Gilligan was 3-4-1 with a 2.24 GAA, .893 save percentage and one shutout in nine home games.
    Kristina Lavoie (9g, 7a), Jenna Lascelle (6g, 8a), Nicole Gifford (4g, 10a) and Kristine Horn (5g, 8a) were the top point producers at the Whittemore Center (14 games).

One For You, One For Me
    Nicole Gifford has been equal playmaker and finisher in her career with 18 assists and 16 goals. Kristina Lavoie has 15 goals and 14 assists this season.

Wins & Losses
    Here is a statistical comparison of UNH's wins (10) and losses (19):
                             Win       Loss
Offense (gpg)          3.7        1.4
Defense (gpg)          1.8        4.9
Shots (per game)    28.6      22.2
Opp. shots/game    21.8      31.7
Power play            .257      .145
Penalty kill            .918      .802

Captaining the 'Cats
    Junior defenseman Kailey Chappell is captain of the 2011-12 UNH Wildcats, while junior defenseman Katie Brock and sophomore forward Nicole Gifford serve as alternate captains. All three were named to the 2011 Hockey East All-Academic Team.
    Chappell logs innumerable minutes as the backbone of the Wildcats' defensive unit and penalty kill, and she has contributed five points –all on assists. Most recently, she tallied an assist in the 4-2 win against UVM (on Jan. 28). Chappell opened the 2012 calendar year by recording her first career multiple-point game with two assists at fourth-ranked Boston College on Jan. 10. She tallied her first point of the season with an assist in UNH's 3-2 overtime victory against Union College (Nov. 29 at the Whittemore Center) and recorded her second point of the season with another assist Dec. 11 vs. Dartmouth.
    Brock is also an integral part of the defense and penalty kill. Her first point came on an assist in the team's 5-4 overtime victory at Dartmouth on Nov. 6. She scored her first collegiate goal with a third-period tally Jan. 14 at the Whittemore Center against UConn and tallied her third point of the season with an assist Jan. 28 vs. UVM (a 4-2 victory).
    Gifford, with 16 points (7g, 9a) the past 16 games, has climbed to the top of the team leaderboard in assists (16 overall); she is also second in both goals (10) and points (26), is second in shots (93) and is tied for the second in power-play goals (four).
    Gifford recorded her fifth two-assist game of the season Feb. 12 against Providence College. She had two multiple-assist games in January (Jan. 14 vs. UConn; Jan. 29 vs. Vermont).
    In the Jan. 28-29 series against Vermont, she factored in three of the team's five goals with two assists (Jan. 28) and a goal (Jan. 29).
    Gifford, who recorded an assist each of the first four games, has tallied a point in 18 of 32 games with seven multiple-point efforts (including five two-assist performances). She scored three goals Nov. 26 vs. Princeton University for her first career multiple-goal game, and the three points also marked a personal best. Gifford then matched her personal best of two assists Nov. 29 against Union College. She had previously tallied a career-high two assists at fifth-ranked Boston University (Nov. 12).

Providing "O" From The D
    Kristine Horn opened the season as a forward but has skated as a defenseman each of the last 18 games played (began Nov. 19 at second-ranked Minnesota); she missed the Jan. 10 game at Boston College.
    Overall, the junior is second in assists (15) and ranks third in both goals (eight) and points (23); she is also third in shots (90) and tied for fourth in power-play goals (three).
    Horn has recorded a point eight of the last 12 games and in 10 of 16 with two goals and 11 assists in those 16 games. She matched her personal best of two assists vs. UVM on Jan. 28 at the Whittemore Center. She scored the game-winning goal Jan. 14 vs. UConn when her first-period goal broke a 1-1 tie en route to a 5-1 victory.
    She ended 2011 with a goal vs. Dartmouth (Dec. 11); Horn had tallied an assist each of the previous two games at Harvard (Dec. 9) and at Northeastern (Dec. 4). Horn recorded consecutive two-assist performances against Princeton (Nov. 26) and Union (Nov. 29); the two assists match her personal best.
    Horn recorded her 50th career point (19g, 31a) with the second of her two points Nov. 29 against Union College at the Whittemore Center.
    She opened the 2011-12 season with a five-game goal-scoring streak and has recorded a point in 18 of 31 games with five multiple-point efforts, including 1g, 1a against both Niagara (Oct. 1) and fifth-ranked Boston U. (Nov. 12).

Forward Thinking
    Kristina Lavoie, last year's team leader in both assists and points, is once again one of the team's top point producers. Lavoie is atop the leaderboard in goals (15) and points (29), as well as shots (103) and power-play goals (five); she ranks second in game-winning goals (two) as well as third in assists (14 – two behind the leader).
    The 29 points ties her single-season high established as a freshman in the 2010 season. The 14 assists are a personal best, while the 15 goals rank second to the 2010 season (18).
    Lavoie was red-hot in January with 11 points (4g, 7a) in seven games, and she was twice named the Athletic Republic Player of the Week in January by Hockey East. She recorded her first career hat trick and matched her personal best of three points in a 4-2 win against Vermont (Jan. 28), then tallied an assist on the team's lone goal at UVM.
    Lavoie has continued her scoring touch in February with five points in four games, and that includes two-goal efforts against both UConn (Feb. 5) and Providence (Feb. 12).
    She has recorded a point 12 of the last 16 games (dating back to Nov. 29) with seven multiple-point efforts and a total of 21 points (11g, 10a) in that span. She tallied five assists spanning two games with a career-high three vs. UConn (Jan. 14) and two against Boston University (Jan. 19); the three points vs. UConn matched her personal best.
    Overall, Lavoie has a point in 19 of 32 games with eight multiple-point efforts.
    Lavoie recorded her 50th career point with the first of her two points, a second-period assist, Sept. 30 at Niagara. She tallied her 75th career point with the second of her two goals Feb. 5 at UConn.
    She enters the weekend with 42 goals and 36 assists for 78 points to lead all active players in both goals and points (and rank second in assists – two less than Kristine Horn's 38).
    Entering the weekend, Arielle O'Neill has 10 points on two goals and eight assists, which ranks fifth on the team. Both of her goals were scored against Providence College – Nov. 13 and Feb. 11. She tallied two helpers in the Sept. 30 season opener at Niagara and matched that personal best of two assists Dec. 11 vs. Dartmouth. O'Neill also tallied an assist in the 5-4 overtime win at Dartmouth College on Nov. 6.

The Puck Stops Here
    UNH has three goaltenders on its 2011-12 roster, but only senior Lindsey Minton entered the season with collegiate experience. Freshman Jenn Gilligan immediately challenged Minton for playing time and fellow newcomer Moe Bradley completes the depth chart.
    Minton, who played in just three of the first 17 games of the season, has played 14 of the last 15 games and that included 10 consecutive starts spanning Dec. 11 to Feb. 5. In her last career game at the Whittemore Center on Feb. 12, she made 27 saves in a 4-2 loss to Providence College.
    She had a particularly strong start to the 2012 calendar year with a 3-1-0 record, 1.75 GAA, .938 save percentage and one shutout spanning Jan. 10-19. Minton made double-digit saves all three periods (15-11-13) Jan. 10 at fourth-ranked Boston College for a career high total of 39 to surpass her previous season high of 30 (Oct. 15 at BC) and previous benchmark of 37 (Nov. 28, 2010 vs. BC).
    Minton followed that by stopping 39 of 40 shots in a two-game weekend sweep of UConn in which she recorded her first shutout of the season with a 15-save effort at the Whittemore Center on Jan. 13. She then made 24 saves in a 5-1 victory Jan. 14.
    In the home-and-home series against Vermont (Jan. 28-29), Minton stopped 49 of 53 shots for a .925 save percentage and 2.00 GAA; she recorded 30 saves, including 14 in the second period, in the 2-1 road loss.
    Overall in 17 games (15 starts), Minton is 5-9-1 with a 3.59 GAA and .879 save percentage. In 14 Hockey East league games, she is 4-9-1 with a 3.56 GAA and. .882 save percentage.
    Minton received the starting nod Oct. 1 at Niagara and stopped 22 of 24 shots to backbone the Wildcats to a 3-2 victory. It marked her 50th career game (48th start). In her second start, Minton made a 30 saves, including 16 in the third period, in a 5-0 loss at fifth-ranked BC. It marked the fifth time in her career that Minton finished with 30+ saves.
    Minton played five of six periods (plus the overtime session) in a home-and-home series against 10th-ranked Northeastern University. She helped backbone UNH to a 3-3 tie at home against NU on Dec. 3; she played the second, third and overtime periods and stopped 26 of 27 shots. Minton played all three periods of the 5-1 road loss on Dec. 4 in which she made 22 saves and allowed four goals.
    Gilligan has received the starting nod in 15 of 32 games. She returned to action Feb. 11 against Providence College and made 21 saves in a 3-1 loss at the Whittemore Center; she held the Friars to one goal until they struck twice in the final 90 seconds of the game. Gilligan had not seen game action since Dec. 11 and her first start since Dec. 3.
    Gilligan made 21 saves in her Sept. 30 collegiate debut, a 6-4 victory at Niagara. In her next start, Gilligan stopped 19 shots to record her first career shutout in a 3-0 win against Colgate on Oct. 7. She made 24 saves to backbone UNH to a 1-1 tie against fifth-ranked Boston College at the Whittemore Center (Oct. 14) and then stopped a season-high 28 shots in the 2-2 tie at St. Lawrence (Oct. 21). Gilligan matched that personal best of 28 saves in a 5-2 loss at fifth-ranked Boston University (Nov. 12).
    In the two-game series at second-ranked Minnesota (Nov. 18-19), she started both games and played a total of three periods. In the opener, Gilligan made 27 saves and surrendered eight goals in 40 minutes. One day later, she made 17 first-period saves and exited the game with UNH trailing 3-0 at the first intermission.
    Gilligan's season numbers include a 5-8-2 record, 3.19 GAA, .873 save percentage and one shutout.
    Bradley made a relief appearance three consecutive games spanning Nov. 13-19 prior to making her first career start Nov. 25 against Maine. She made her collegiate debut Nov. 13 at Providence with a relief stint of 28 minutes, 1 second and finished with 18 saves, including 14 in the third period, and allowed two goals.
    In the two-game series at second-ranked Minnesota, Bradley stopped 11 of 14 third-period shots on Nov. 18, then made a career-high 29 saves with 11 stops in the second period and 18 in the third; she allowed three goals in that game.
    Bradley made 18 saves in her first start against Maine (3-0 loss). Her overall numbers include 0-2-0, 5.10 GAA and .861 save percentage in five games (two starts).

The Emma-nator
    Senior forward Emma Clark was a consistent producer for the 'Cats in December in January. She tallied a point in five of 11 games with a total of six points (2g, 4a). She recorded a three-game point-scoring streak from Jan. 13-19 with two goals (both game-winners) and an assist. Clark opened the month of December with a career-high two assists – the two points matched a personal best – against Northeastern.
    In 32 games, Clark has tallied 11 points on six goals and five assists – her previous three-year totals were three goals and six assists for nine points (92 games). She leads all Wildcats in game-winning goals (three) and is second in shooting percentage (.162); she also ranks fifth in points.

Facing Off
    In the faceoff circle, Nicole Gifford leads the team in both wins (356) and total faceoffs (659); in the opening weekend of February, she won 29 of 44 draws (65.9%). Arielle O'Neill ranks second in both of those stats with 307 faceoff wins in 499 draws; of the three primary centers, O'Neill has the top winning percentage (61.5%); she had a particularly impressive game in the faceoff circle against Maine on Nov. 25, when she won 19 of 23 draws; O'Neill also controlled 9 of 11 faceoffs Nov. 29 against Union. In four games spanning Jan. 10-19, O'Neill won 49 of 73 faceoffs (67.1%).

Immediate Impact
    Three members of the freshman class have skated in all 32 games, while others have skated in 31, 30 and 29 games. Freshman goaltender Jenn Gilligan has seen action in 16 games (15 starts) and Moe Bradley has played in five games (two starts).
    Jenna Lascelle is the rookie leader in goals (eight), assists (13) and points (20). With those numbers, she is tied for third overall in goals and is fourth in both points and assists. Lascelle ranks third in shooting percentage (.154). She has tallied 15 points (6g, 9a) the past 12 games and that includes her first career multiple-goal game, a hat trick vs. Dartmouth on Dec. 11, and a three-point effort (1g, career-high two assists) against Boston University on Jan. 19; she also had a two-assist game in consecutive weekends (Feb. 5 at UConn; Jan. 28 vs. Vermont).
    Heather Kashman (7g, 3a) and Kayla Mork (2g, 5a) are the other top rookie point producers. Kashman opened her career with a point in three consecutive games (2g, 1a) and has one multiple-point game (1g, 1a at Dartmouth on Nov. 6), whereas Mork tallied four of her points in two games against Dartmouth College (1g, 3a); she also has a two-point game (1g, 1a) against UConn (Jan. 14).
    Caroline Broderick displayed her versatility the opening week of January, when she skated as a defenseman Jan. 10 at fourth-ranked Boston College and as the third-line center for the two-game series vs. UConn (Jan. 13-14). She had three blocked shots at BC and then tallied an assist on the only goal of the Jan. 13 win and a goal in the Jan. 14 victory (5-1 score). She extended her point-scoring streak to three games with an assist vs. Boston University (Jan. 19). Broderick opened the season on the blue line and was transitioned to forward Nov. 19 at Minnesota and remained there until Jan. 10 (a span of seven games). Her season split is 17 games at forward (1g, 3a) and 14 games as a D (1g).
    Brynja Bogan (1g, 1a) has logged innumerable minutes on the blue line as a defenseman. Jess Ryan has patrolled the blue line and skated as a forward. Ryan was a winger the last six games of the 2011 calendar year before returning to D in the first game of 2012 (Jan. 10 at BC) and has remained there.

A Matter Of Class
    Here is a glance at the class breakdown (excluding goalies) with number of players per class indicated in parenthesis:
                         G (%)          A (%)         P (%)
Senior (1)           6   (8%)      5   (5%)    11   (6%)
Junior (6)          26 (38%)    44 (42%)    70 (40%)
Sophomore (5)   17 (25%)    32 (30%)    49 (28%)
Freshman (7)     20 (29%)    25 (24%)    45 (26%)

O, Canada
    Ten of 22 student-athletes on the 2011 UNH women's ice hockey roster hail from Canada. Hannah Armstrong, Kailey Chappell, Bryanna Farris, Nicole Gifford, Paige Goloubef, Jenna Lascelle, Kristina Lavoie and Arielle O'Neill are from Ontario, Jenn Gilligan hails from British Columbia and Heather Kashman is matriculating from Alberta.
    These players account for 46 of the team's 69 goals (66.7%), 68 of 106 assists (64.1%) and 114 of 175 points (65.1%), as well as 43.7% of the minutes in goal.

On The Airwaves
    A total of eight UNH women's ice hockey regular-season games were broadcast live on The Wildcat Sports Radio Network, which consists of WGIR-AM 610 (Manchester), WQSO-FM 96.7 (Portsmouth), WGIN-AM 930 (Rochester), WNTK-FM 99.7 (New London) and WASR-AM 1420 (Wolfeboro), WSMN-AM 1590 (Nashua).
    It begins with the home opener Oct. 7 vs. Colgate and concludes with the final regular-season home game Feb. 12 against Providence.
    Here is the schedule of games (listed time is start of broadcast):
  Oct. 7 vs. Colgate (3-0 win)
  Nov. 3 vs. Vermont (4-1 loss)
  Nov. 26 vs. Princeton (3-1 win)
  Nov. 29 vs. Union (3-2 win, OT)
  Dec. 11 vs. Dartmouth (8-5 loss)
  Jan. 13 vs. UConn (1-0 win)
  Feb. 4 vs. Boston U. (5-1 loss)
  Feb. 12 vs. Providence (4-2 loss)

'Cats on TV
    New Hampshire had two of its home games broadcast live on WBIN-TV. The 'Cats defeated Princeton, 3-1, on Nov. 26 behind a hat trick from Nicole Gifford. Another hat trick, this time from Kristina Lavoie, propelled UNH to a 4-2 victory against Vermont (Jan. 28).

OT Is OK
    New Hampshire remained unbeaten in overtime this season with its 3-3 tie against 10th-ranked Northeastern University at the Whittemore Center on Dec. 3. The Wildcats are 2-0-3 in OT this season. Dating back to last year, the 'Cats are unbeaten in their last nine overtime games (4-0-5). UNH's last overtime loss was Oct. 9, 2010 (1-0 at Colgate).

Triple Double
    New Hampshire recorded double-digit shots all three periods against UConn on Jan. 14. The Wildcats tallied 10 shots in the first period, followed by 13 in the second and 12 in the third for a total of 35.
    That marked just the second time this season UNH accomplished that feat. It previously happened Nov. 25 vs. Maine with 10-12-10–32. The Wildcats lost that game 3-0 despite a 32-21 shot advantage.
    Both games were at the Whittemore Center.

3 For 6
    Three players combined to record all six points in UNH's 4-2 loss at fourth-ranked Boston College on Jan. 10. Kristina Lavoie and Jenna Lascelle both tallied a goal and an assist while Kailey Chappell finished with two assists.

Five A's For The D
    The defensive corps combined to record all five of the team's assists in the 3-1 victory against Princeton (Nov. 26). Kristine Horn and Maggie Hunt tallied two assists apiece and Brynja Bogan had one helper.
    The Wildcats' D tallied four of the team's nine points against Union (Nov. 29) with a goal and three assists. Horn once again recorded two goals while Hunt scored the game-winning goal in overtime and Kailey Chappell had an assist.
    At least one blueliner factored in nine consecutive goals spanning Nov. 13 –Dec. 3.

Three for Three
    New Hampshire limited the opponent to three third-period shots twice in a three-game span – Nov. 29 vs. Union and Nov. 25 vs. Maine.

Hockey East Preseason Poll
    New Hampshire, which finished first or second in the Hockey East regular-season standings each of the initial eight years of the league's existence before finishing tied for sixth in 2010-11, was picked seventh in the 2011-12 WHEA Preseason Coaches Poll that was released Sept. 20.
    Here is a complete look at the poll:
Preseason Poll (1st-place votes)
1.  Boston University (6)    55
2.  Boston College (2)        51
3.  Northeastern                42
4.  Providence                   39
5.  Connecticut                  30
6.  Vermont                       24
7.  UNH                            21
8.  Maine                          18

The McCloskey File
    Brian McCloskey (Dartmouth '77), who recorded his 200th career victory Dec. 8, 2009 at Boston College (4-0 win), is in his ninth year at the helm of the Wildcats. He is a four-time Hockey East Coach of the Year recipient (2003, 2005, 2006, 2009) and was runner-up in both the 2003 and 2006 national Coach of the Year balloting. He has directed UNH to the NCAA Women's Ice Hockey Championship five consecutive years (2006-10) with four consecutive Hockey East tournament titles (2006-09) and six straight league regular-season crowns (2004-09). The 'Cats advanced to the Frozen Four in '06 and '08.
    A Wildcat was honored as Player of the Year each of the first four years of Hockey East's existence. In addition, the ITECH Goaltending Champion award was presented to a UNH goalie each of the first six years and the Scoring Champion has five times been a Wildcat.
    McCloskey has compiled a 232-85-34 overall record, including a 141-42-17 mark in Hockey East, with 20+ wins each of the initial seven seasons.
    In his first year (2003) as head coach of the program, he led the 'Cats to a 27-7-2 record, which is now the fifth-best single-season win mark behind those established in 2006 & 2008 (33), 1998 (31) and 2007 (28).
    Under his tutelage, five players have received a total of six All-America honors and five have been honored as a Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award Top 10 Finalist.
    Here's a look at some notable wins:
   1st win– Oct. 11, 2002 (4-0 vs. Vermont)
   1st Hockey East win– Nov. 2, 2002 (5-1 vs. Maine)
   50th win– March 20, 2004 (5-0 vs. Northeastern)
   100th win– Feb. 25, 2006 (5-0 vs. Vermont)
   150th win– Jan. 5, 2008 (3-1 at Brown)
   200th win– Dec. 8, 2009 (4-0 at Boston College)
    Coach McCloskey's predecessors at UNH also exceeded 200 victories. Russ McCurdy compiled a 264-36-10 record from 1978-92 and Karen Kay went 215-90-25 from 1993-2002.

This is Hockey East
    The Women's Hockey East Association will celebrate its 10th anniversary season of play after officially commencing league action in the fall of 2002. In nine years, the conference has emerged as one of the top women's ice hockey conferences in the nation, having sent five teams to the Frozen Four and 11 teams to the NCAA Tournament, which includes the most successful season in 2010-2011, sending Boston University and Boston College to the Frozen Four with the Terriers making the league's first appearance in the NCAA national championship game.
    In September of 2001, the Hockey East athletic directors voted to found the new women's league under the existing Hockey East banner. The five schools with varsity programs entered as charter members with the stipulation that any other Hockey East school that added a varsity women's program in the future would be freely admitted to the league.
     The league launched in the 2002-03 season, two years ahead of schedule. An important part of that process was the acceptance of an invitation extended to the University of Connecticut to join the newly formed league as its sixth active member.
    In 2005, the Women's Hockey East Association welcomed the addition of two more teams to its growing family, Boston University and the University of Vermont.

Hockey East 10th-Year Celebration
    The Women's Hockey East Association, whose inaugural season was  2002-03, is celebrating 10 years of hockey during the 2011-12 season. In correlation with this benchmark, there was a special Hockey East insert five consecutive home games  – spanning Jan. 13 through Feb. 4 – to recall UNH's top 10 Hockey East moments. If you missed it, the 10 highlighted moments (in chronological order) were:
   •   March 14, 2003 – In the inaugural season of Hockey East, UNH sweeps "The Big Three" league awards as senior goaltender Jen Huggon is Player of the Year, Lindsay Hansen is Rookie of the Year and first-year head coach Brian McCloskey is Coach of the Year. Huggon, also presented the Goaltending Champion and Three Stars awards, is joined on the All-Star First Team by Kristen Thomas (junior defenseman) and Stephanie Jones (sophomore forward) while Allison Edgar (junior defenseman) is named to the Second Team, and Hansen is joined on the All-Rookie Team by fellow forward Vicki Davis.

   •   Feb. 29, 2004 – UNH wins the first of six consecutive Hockey East regular-season titles by defeating arch rival Providence College, 5-4 in overtime, at the Whittemore Center. Senior forward Carolyn Gordon scored at 2:10 of overtime to end the game. Sophomore forward Rebecca Paul recorded her first career hat trick that day and helped the Wildcats overcome a 3-1 third-period deficit. UNH freshman goaltender Melissa Bourdon finished with 17 saves. The 'Cats improved to 19-8-4 overall and 14-1-2 in Hockey East with the victory, which extended its unbeaten streak to seven games (6-0-1). UNH went on to win its last three league games to top the standings at 17-1-2.

   •   March 3, 2006 – Repeating an awards hat trick from Hockey East's inaugural season, UNH swept the three major individual awards at the league's annual banquet as sophomore forward Sadie Wright-Ward was named Player of the Year, Sam Faber was tabbed Rookie of the Year and Brian McCloskey earned Coach of the Year for the third time in four years. Wright-Ward, also the Hockey East Scoring Champion, was joined on the All-Star First Team by fellow sophomore forward Jen Hitchcock (Three Stars Award) and sophomore defenseman Martine Garland; junior goaltender Melissa Bourdon is named Goaltending Champion the third consecutive year and is a Second Team selection.

   •   March 5, 2006 – Led by two goals and an assist from Most Valuable Player and league Rookie of the Year Sam Faber, the No. 1-ranked and top-seeded Wildcats won their first Hockey East tournament title with a 6-0 victory against No. 9 Boston College at Northeastern University's Matthews Arena. UNH won its 16th consecutive game and extended its unbeaten streak to 28 games (27-0-1) to improve to 32-2-1 – a school single-season win record – by recording a program-record sixth consecutive shutout. New Hampshire garnered all six spots on the All-Tournament Team – a feat unprecedented at the time and never duplicated. Faber was joined on the squad by junior goalie Melissa Bourdon, sophomore forwards Jen Hitchcock and Sadie Wright-Ward, sophomore defenseman Martine Garland and freshman defenseman Kacey Bellamy.

   •   March 4, 2007 – UNH, host of the Hockey East Championship for the first time since the league's inception in 2003, won its second consecutive title as sophomore forward Sam Faber recorded a goal and an assist to propel fourth-ranked and top-seeded UNH to a 3-1 victory against Providence College in the 2007 Hockey East Championship title game at the Whittemore Center before a crowd of 1,301. Sophomore defenseman Bellamy, sophomore forward Sam Faber and freshman forward Kelly Paton were named to the All-Tournament Team. UNH improved to 28-3-5 with its fifth consecutive win and extended its unbeaten streak to 13 games (11-0-2). The NCAA selection show took place later that day, and it was announced that UNH would play host to St. Lawrence in a regional game.

   •   March 2, 2008 – Second-ranked UNH skated to a 6-1 victory against eighth-ranked UConn in Sunday's regular-season finale at Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum to become the first team to complete the Hockey East season unbeaten (20-0-1) and improve to 30-3-1 overall by extending its winning streak to 10 games and unbeaten streak to 16 games (15-0-1). UNH had already won its fifth consecutive league regular-season title earlier in the season. In 21 Hockey East league games, UNH dominated the opposition in outscoring them 99-15 with an 832-293 shot advantage. The Wildcats scored on 28 of 86 power plays (32.6%) and was 89 of 91 on the penalty kill (97.8%). New Hampshire broke six team Hockey East records (league regular-season games only) and tied two others in the 2008 season. The Wildcats broke their own marks for best winning percentage (.976), most wins (20), fewest losses (zero), lowest GAA (0.71) and best penalty kill (.978). They tied the previous year's UNH benchmark for road wins with 10 and also tied the mark for fewest goals allowed (15). The only result standing between the 'Cats and a perfect league mark was a 1-1 tie against Providence College on Jan. 19 at the Whittemore Center.

   •   March 9, 2008 – Junior forward Sam Faber scored the game's only goal and freshman goaltender Kayley Herman stopped all 17 shots she faced for her ninth shutout of the season to propel second-ranked and top-seeded UNH to its third consecutive Women's Hockey East Championship title with a 1-0 victory against Providence College at UConn's Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum. UNH won its 12th consecutive game to extend its unbeaten streak to 18 games (17-0-1) and improve to 32-3-1 overall. Faber earned the Tournament MVP award for her three-goal weekend. She and Herman were joined on the All-Tournament Team by junior defenseman Maggie Joyce and freshman forward Jenn Wakefield. Herman did not allow a goal in the tourney as she blanked Boston University with a 14-save effort in Saturday's semifinal. With its third consecutive tourney title, the Wildcats earned the league's automatic berth to the NCAA Women's Ice Hockey Championship and it was announced that Sunday evening that the 'Cats were the No. 3 seed and would play host to St. Lawrence University in a quarterfinal game.

   •   October 15, 2008 – Sophomore forward Jenn Wakefield and senior forward Sam Faber scored  third-period goals 21 seconds apart to erase a two-goal deficit and lift the fourth-ranked University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team to a 3-3 tie at 10th-ranked UConn at Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum. The Wildcats moved to 2-0-2 overall and 0-0-2 in Hockey East with the tie, which extended their Hockey East regular-season unbeaten streak to 40 games (35-0-5). Including postseason play, UNH is unbeaten in 46 consecutive games (41-0-5) against Hockey East teams. The last league team to defeat New Hampshire was Boston College, 7-2 at Conte Forum on Nov. 2, 2006.
    Here is a breakdown of UNH's 40-game unbeaten streak:
              BC        BU     UConn    Maine
Home    2-0-1    2-0-0    2-0-1    3-0-0
Away    2-0-0    3-0-0    3-0-1    2-0-0
Total     4-0-1    5-0-0    5-0-2    5-0-0

             NU         PC      UVM       Total
Home    3-0-0    1-0-2    3-0-0    16-0-4
Away    3-0-0    3-0-0    3-0-0    19-0-1
Total     6-0-0    4-0-2    6-0-0    35-0-5

   •   March 8, 2009 – Led by Tournament MVP Kacey Bellamy and All-Tournament Team selections Courtney Birchard (sophomore defenseman), Micaela Long (junior forward) and Kelly Paton (junior forward), the fifth-ranked UNH women's ice hockey team captured the 2009 Women's Hockey East Championship Tournament title Sunday afternoon with a 2-1 victory against sixth-ranked Boston College at the Whittemore Center. UNH, the tourney's top seed, extended its winning streak to 15 games and its home unbeaten streak to 30 games (26-0-4) to win its fourth consecutive league tournament title and improve to 24-5-5 overall this season. UNH is 64-0-9 vs. Hockey East teams at the Whittemore Center since the inception of the league in the 2003 season. Later that day, it was announced that UNH would play host to fourth-ranked University of Minnesota-Duluth in an NCAA quarterfinal game at the Whittemore Center. It was the Wildcats fourth consecutive NCAA appearance, and they were regional hosts all four years.

   •   January 8, 2010 – Freshman forward Kristina Lavoie broke a 3-3 tie with 5:30 remaining and netted an empty-net goal in the final minute of the game to lift No. 4 UNH to Friday's 5-3 victory against No. 9 Northeastern in the opening game of the Sun Life Frozen Fenway doubleheader at Fenway Park. It marked the first outdoor game in women's college hockey. UNH, which had been idle since its 4-1 win Dec. 12 at Dartmouth College, won its third consecutive game – and 26th straight in the series vs. the Huskies – to improve to 13-2-4 overall and 7-1-1-0 in Hockey East. Lavoie was one of three Wildcats with multiple points against the top-ranked defensive team in the nation. Junior defenseman Courtney Birchard set up the last three goals of the game to finish with a career-high three assists and senior forward Micaela Long tallied a goal and an assist. UNH junior goaltender Kayley Herman entered the game at the start of the second period and earned the victory –the 50th of her career – by stopping 12 of 13 shots in the last 40 minutes. UNH pulled within 2-1 in the first period when sophomore forward Sarah Cuthbert kicked the puck out of the right corner to the circle, where senior forward Shannon Sisk one-timed a shot inside the right post to complete a play that was featured on ESPN SportsCenter's Top 10 Plays.

Scouting the Black Bears
    The University of Maine enters the final weekend of the regular season with a 15-10-6 overall record that includes 9-8-2 in Hockey East and 6-6-4 at home (3-4-1 in Hockey East home games). Last weekend, Maine's six-game unbeaten streak (5-0-1) came to an end with a pair of losses (4-0; 3-1) at Northeastern University. The six-game unbeaten streak included two wins against Boston University and another against Providence College.
    Brittany Dougherty leads the team in goals (16), assists (15) and points (31). Danielle Ward ranks second in all three statistics with 13 goals and 14 assists for 27 points; she has 120 career points (50g, 70a). Myriam Croussette has also recorded double digits in both goals (11) and assists (13). Tori Pasquariello is tied for third in goals with 11.
    Brittany Ott is the team's top goaltender. In 27 games (24 starts), she has an 11-9-3 record with a 2.22 GAA, .925 save percentage and three shutouts. She has started all 19 of the team's Hockey East league games and is 9-8-2 with a 2.21 GAA, .927 save percentage and two shutouts.
    Maine has a 3-2-6 overtime record this season and that includes 1-1-2 in Hockey East. Including those five overtime games that produced a victor, the Black Bears are 6-5 in games decided by one goal.

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