WAKEFIELD, Mass. – University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey senior forward Arielle O'Neill (St Catharines, Ontario) was named co-Player of the Week and teammate Cassandra Vilgrain (Calgary, Alberta) was tabbed Rookie of the Week by Hockey East on Monday.
The duo led UNH to a two-game series sweep at Penn State University with an 8-5 victory Saturday, Oct. 26 followed by a 3-1 win the next day. Vilgrain was also named top rookie Sept. 30 and this marked the second Player of the Week bestowed a Wildcat this season – Vilma Vaattovaara (Veikkola, Finland) took that honor the same day.
O'Neill, forced to skate as a defenseman for the first time in her collegiate career due to UNH's decreased numbers on the blue line, scored three goals in the weekend series at Penn State. She matched her career high of two goals by scoring twice – both on the power play – in the third period of the 8-5 win; she gave the 'Cats a 5-4 lead at 9:01 and struck again for a 7-5 lead at 17:39.
One day later, O'Neill scored 74 seconds after a PSU goal to reestablish a two-goal lead of 3-1 with 29 seconds remaining in the second stanza. Her other weekend stats included a +1 plus/minus rating and 10 shots.
Vilgrain, a freshman forward, extended her goal-scoring streak to three games with Saturday's tally at Penn State and then pushed her point streak to four with an assist Sunday. Her goal tied the score, 4-4, just 14 seconds after PSU took the lead and sparked UNH's five-goal third period en route to the 8-5 victory. Vilgrain's assist Sunday came on the first goal of the game at 1:26 of the second period and helped the 'Cats complete the series sweep.
In eight games this season, O'Neill has tallied four points, all on goals, and is tied for the team lead in goals; she has scored a goal each of the last three games. Vilgrain has five points (three goals, two assists) in eight games; she is tied for fourth on the team in points.
New Hampshire (5-2-1 overall, 1-0-1 Hockey East) returns to action Nov. 1 at home against Boston University. Game time at the Whittemore Center for Blue Out the Whitt is 7 p.m.