GAME NOTES: Women's Hockey Travels to Boston College for Hockey East Quarterfinal
COMPLETE GAME NOTES (PDF)
The University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team is the No. 8 seed of the Hockey East tournament and travels to play top-seeded Boston College in a Feb. 28 quarterfinal at Conte Forum. Game time is 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on the internet; visit www.unhwildcats.com for the link.
UNH has a 46-11-5 record against BC and that includes 1-2-0 this season. The Wildcats are the only team to defeat the Eagles at Conte Forum this season with a 3-1 victory Oct. 16; the 'Cats are also one of just two Hockey East teams – and five teams overall – to beat BC this season.
In the two most recent meetings, Boston College won 5-3 at home Jan. 25 and then prevailed 3-2 at UNH's Whittemore Center on Jan. 26.
Since New Hampshire defeated BC, 2-1, in the 2009 Hockey East title game, the Eagles have a 9-4-2 advantage in the series.
Friday night will be the third postseason meetings between these programs –all in Hockey East tourney action. In addition to the aforementioned '09 title game, the Wildcats were 6-0 victors in the 2006 championship tilt.
Back on Oct. 16, UNH skated to a 2-0 lead before the host Eagles scored with four seconds remaining in the opening stanza. The Wildcats netted their second power-play goal of the game at 18:23 of the second period to reestablish a two-goal lead of 3-1 and Vilma Vaattovaara stopped all 14 shots she faced in the third period to preserve the victory; Vaattovaara also made 15 saves in the first period as part of a 36-save effort. Nicole Gifford (1g, 1a) and Sara Carlson (2a) recorded multiple points for the 'Cats.
In the Jan. 25 rematch at Conte Forum, the Eagles built a 3-0 lead on first-period goals at 10:01, 15:15 and 16:48. UNH pulled within 3-1 early in the second stanza, but BC potted goals 87 seconds apart early in the final frame to extend the advantage to 5-1. Cassandra Vilgrain netted goals at 8:04 and 13:53 to trim the deficit to 5-3 but New Hampshire got not closer.
In the Jan. 26 rubber match at the Whittemore Center, UNH quickly took a 1-0 lead on Kayla Mork's goal 1:46 into the game. The Eagles knotted the score at 4:55 and a late Jess Ryan power-play goal at 19:39 put the 'Cats back in front, 2-1. BC once again leveled the score, 2-2, at 2:42 of the second period and then the visitors scored with 1:56 remaining in regulation to record the 3-2 win. UNH finished with a 33-23 edge in shots that included 11-5 in the final frame.
The State of New Hampshire
New Hampshire enters the Hockey East tournament with a 9-22-2 overall record that includes 4-12-1 on the road and 4-15-2 in Hockey East; those numbers include 1-8-1 in league road games.
In the national statistics, UNH is ranked No. 22 in offense (2.15 gpg) and No. 29 in defense (3.00 gpg). The Wildcats are 14th in power play (.158) and 15th in penalty kill (.858).
UNH has scored a power-play goal six of the last nine games and is 7-for-31 (.226) in that span. The Wildcats had not scored a power-play goal the previous nine games (0-for-33).
UNH has lost 10 consecutive games – four by one goal – and has not won two games in a weekend since sweeping the two-game series at Penn State (Oct. 26-27).
The Wildcats have lost 10 straight road games as part of a 12-game winless road stretch (0-11-1); the last road win was Oct. 27 at Penn State (3-1).
New Hampshire has allowed at least three goals each of the last 10 games. In that same span, the 'Cats have scored 3+ goals three times.
How We Got Here
UNH entered the final weekend of the regular season in seventh place but slipped to the No. 8 seed by virtue of two losses to Northeastern University coupled with the University of Maine's sweep of UConn.
The quarterfinal winners advance to the Hockey East Championship semifinals March 8 at the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Memorial Skating Rink at the Hyannis Youth and Community Center (Hyannis, Mass.). Game times are 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. The Hockey East title game is March 9 at 1:30 p.m.
UNH has a 41-25 lifetime record in postseason play dating back to a 5-3 victory against Brown University in a 1985 ECAC semifinal game at Snively Arena (UNH's home rink prior to construction of the Whittemore Center).
New Hampshire has the most Hockey East tournament titles (four) with a 10-6 overall record that includes 0-2 in the quarterfinals and 1-1 on the road (0-1 in quarterfinal road games).
Only nine of UNH's previous 66 playoff games were on the road. New Hampshire is 3-6 overall in road playoff games and have lost four straight since winning 5-0 against Northeastern University in the 2004 semifinals at Matthews Arena; UNH's other Hockey East road game was a 9-1 lost at Boston U. in the 2012 quarters.
UNH has lost each of its last five postseason games (including the NCAAs) since winning the 2009 Hockey East title. In last year's Hockey East quarterfinal at the Whittemore Center, the Wildcats skated to a 3-0 lead and held a 4-2 advantage with seven minutes remaining in the third period, but Providence rallied to tie the score and prevailed 5-4 at 5:51 of overtime.
Senior forward and captain Nicole Gifford extended her point streak to four games last weekend vs. Northeastern University with two assists at NU (Feb. 22) and an assist on Senior Day (Feb. 23).
Junior forward Jenna Lascelle scored a goal in both games last weekend against the Huskies and she tallied a point five of the last seven regular-season games. It marked the third time in her career – first time since freshman season – she potted a goal in consecutive games.
Sophomore forward Heather Kashman recorded an assist in both games against Northeastern last weekend (Feb. 22-23). She tallied a point seven of the last 11 regular-season games.
Sophomore goaltender Ashley Wilkes made a career-high 28 saves, including a single-period high of 15 in the second stanza, in just two periods of action at Northeastern on Feb. 22. She was pulled at the end of the second period with the score tied 3-3.
Senior forward Jessica Hitchcock tied her personal best of two goals Feb. 22 at NU. She followed that with an assist on Senior Day.
Senior forward Arielle O'Neill matched her career high of two assists Feb. 22 at Northeastern.
Sophomore Haley Breedlove returned to action at right wing in the Feb. 23 regular-season finale vs. Northeastern; she stepped into the vacancy created by Cassandra Vilgrain's absence (due to injury).
Since Jan. 18, when Vilma Vaattovaara was cleared to return to the lineup, Vaattovaara and Ashley Wilkes split the goaltending duties with each receiving a start each weekend. Until the Feb. 15-16 weekend vs. Vermont, that is, when Vaattovaara got the start in Saturday's game and Marie-Eve Jean was Sunday's starter against the Catamounts. The trend reverted back to form one week later with Wilkes getting the nod Saturday and Vaattovaara on Sunday.
New Hampshire registered four of its top five shot totals in a stretch of four consecutive games with 47 against Vermont (3-2 loss Feb. 15), 39 against both UVM (5-1 loss Feb. 16) and UConn (3-1 loss Feb. 9) and 38 at Boston U. (7-4 loss Feb. 8). The top mark this season of 52 was established in an Oct. 13 home game against Maine (2-2 tie).
The Wildcats have recorded at least 31 shots 10 consecutive games spanning Jan. 18 to Feb. 16 and had the shot advantage each of those 10 games; the 'Cats went 1-9-0 in that span with a 3-2 win vs. UConn on a 33-26 shot advantage (Jan. 19).
Northeastern University outshot UNH by a 44-28 margin Feb. 22 at Matthews Arena to mark the first time since Jan. 11 at Providence College that the 'Cats recorded fewer shots.
Overall, UNH had the shot advantage in 22 of 33 regular-season games with a 6-14-2 record. The 'Cats are 3-7-0 when the opposition has recorded more shots and 0-1-0 when the shots are even (21-21 in a 2-0 loss to Ohio State; Nov. 30).
It's a Paradox
UNH has recorded a +73 shot advantage (342-269) in the first period but has been outscored 29-15. That shot total is UNH's highest single-period total but is the lowest goal total in comparison to 27 in the second and 29 in the third (on 317 shots).
In 21 Hockey East league games, Nicole Gifford (8g, 8a) leads the UNH Wildcats with 13 points and is followed by Jessica Hitchcock (6g, 9a). Cassandra Vilgrain also tallied double-digit points with 13 (8g, 5a). Vilma Vaattovaara has a 3-8-2 record, 2.89 GAA and .897 save percentage in 13 Hockey East games. Ashley Wilkes is 1-6-0 with a 3.04 GAA and .897 save percentage in eight league games.
What Just Happened
UNH ended the regular season with last weekend's home-and-home sweep at the hands of Northeastern University. The Huskies prevailed 5-4 on home ice (Feb. 22) and then recorded a 4-2 win at the Whittemore Center (Feb. 23). Brittany Esposito spearheaded NU's offense with a pair of three-point efforts, including a hat trick at the Whitt.
Feb. 22: New Hampshire took a 1-0 lead on a first-period goal by Jenna Lascelle, but Esposito tied the score 16 seconds later. Kayla Mork put the 'Cats back on top early in the second period, but the home team rallied to take a 3-2 lead with tallied at 7:22 and 12:26 of the second stanza; a power-play goal by Jessica Hitchcock leveled the score with 3:21 remaining in the middle frame. NU regained the lead at 8:36 but Hitchcock netted another power-play goal to once again tie the game, 4-4, at 15:31. The Huskies once again had a quick reply, however, as they netted the game-winning goal 30 seconds later.
Feb. 23: The teams skated to a 1-1 tie through one period of play, then the visiting Huskies potted goals 2:17 apart early in the second stanza to build a 3-1 lead. Megan Armstrong scored her first goal of the season at 5:39 of the third period to lift UNH within 3-2 but Northeastern reestablished a two-goal advantage midway through the final frame. The 'Cats finished with the 30-26 edge in shots, including 9-4 in the third period.
Friday Night Lights
New Hampshire has not played a Friday night game since Jan. 10, when the Wildcats won 4-1 at home against Providence College. UNH went 1-5-0 in Friday games this season and that included 0-3-0 on the road.
Race to Three
UNH has a 7-3-1 record when scoring three (or more) goals in a game – the losses were Jan. 25 at No. 7 Boston College, 5-3; Feb. 8 at BU, 7-4; and Feb. 22 at Northeastern, 5-4. The Wildcats are 1-19-1 when allowing three-plus goals.
On the flip side, the 'Cats are 2-19-1 when scoring less than three goals and have an 8-3-1 mark when holding the opposition to two goals or less.
Against the Best
UNH has a 1-5-0 record against nationally-ranked teams. In their first game against a nationally-ranked team this season, the Wildcats were 3-1 road victors against (then) No. 2 Boston College on Oct. 16. The 'Cats led 1-0 midway through the Nov. 16 game at No. 7 Quinnipiac, but the Bobcats netted a goal late in both the second and third periods to record a 2-1 victory.
UNH and ninth-ranked BU were deadlocked 1-1 through two periods, but the visiting Terriers struck midway through the final frame to record a 2-1 victory (Nov. 24). Harvard skated to a 5-0 victory at Bright Hockey Center on Dec. 6. Most recently, the 'Cats were swept by No. 7 BC in a Jan. 25-26 home-and-home series.
Last year, the Wildcats were 3-7-1 in 11 games against nationally-ranked opponents.
Captain of the 'Cats
Senior forward Nicole Gifford is captain of the 2013-14 Wildcats. She tallied a point in 19 of 33 regular-season games and carries a four-game point streak into postseason play with five points (2g, 3a) in that span; last weekend against Northeastern, she had two assists at Matthews Arena (Saturday, Feb. 22) and another assist on her Senior Day at the Whittemore Center (Feb. 23); one week earlier, she potted a goal in both games against Vermont.
Gifford had a five-game point streak spanning Dec. 8 to Jan. 19 with six points (2g, 4a). She scored a goal both games last weekend (Feb. 15-16) against Vermont and has a goal three of the last four games.
Gifford leads the 'Cats in goals (11), power-play goals (four) and points (24). She also ranks second assists (13) and third in shots (114).
In the faceoff circle, Gifford has taken 752 draws (she has won 402 of them; 53.5%) – the next highest overall total is 365 by Heather Kashman. Last weekend, she won 17 of 27 faceoffs at NU (Feb. 22) and 12 of 22 home vs. the Huskies.
Gifford tallied a career-high three assists Oct. 5 vs. Syracuse, and the three points equaled a personal best. She scored the game-winning goal and recorded an assist to lead UNH to a 3-1 win at (then) second-ranked Boston College.
Junior forward Hannah Armstrong and sophomore defenseman Alexis Crossley are the assistant captains.
Armstrong ranks fourth in points (14), fourth in goals (six) and fifth in assists (eight); she has the team's only shorthanded goal of the season and is fourth in shots (99).
She scored five goals in a nine-game span (Nov. 7 to Dec. 8) with goals in consecutive games against Providence and UVM as well as Boston U. and Ohio State. Armstrong matched her personal best of two assists Oct. 26 at Penn State.
Crossley was a highly decorated freshman in 2012-13 with Hockey East Second Team All-Star, All-Rookie Team, Rookie of the Month and All-Academic Team included among her accolades.
Crossley has a total of seven points (4g, 3a) in 24 games. She missed nine consecutive games (Oct. 26 to Nov. 24) due to injury before returning to the lineup Nov. 30 against Ohio State; she has recorded four points (Feb. 22 assist at NU; Feb. 16 assist vs. UVM; Feb. 1 goal at Maine; Jan. 18 goal at UConn) in 18 games since returning to the lineup.
Crossley recorded her first points of the 2013-14 season with a two-goal effort vs. Syracuse (Oct. 5) to tie her benchmark for goals in a game; both of those goals were scored on the power play.
Inside the Streak
During UNH's 10-game losing streak, the Wildcats have outshot the opponent nine times with an overall edge of 350-275. The 'Cats have been outscored 41-22, however, with a .063 shooting percentage in comparison to the opposition's .149. Another way of looking at the numbers is that New Hampshire has a 4.08 GAA and .851 save percentage in comparison to 2.19 and .937 for the opponents.
Senior forward Jessica Hitchcock is a second-year Wildcat who was also a two-year letterwinner at Niagara University. She tallied a point in 18 of 33 games with a total of 23 points (9g, 14a) – with those stats, she leads the team in assists and is second in both goals and points. Hitchcock leads the Wildcats in both plus/minus rating (+4) and shots (131), and has tallied at least one point each of the last nine weekends the 'Cats have played (11 of 15 games).
In the final weekend of the regular season against Northeastern, she matched her career high of two goals at Matthews Arena (Feb. 22) and then tallied an assist on UNH's Senior Day at the Whittemore Center (Feb. 23).
Hitchcock matched her career high of two assists Feb. 8 at Boston U. She recorded a six-game point streak spanning Dec. 8 (vs. Dartmouth) to Jan. 25 (at Boston College) in which she tallied eight points (5g, 3a).
She matched her career highs in both goals (two) and points (three) Jan. 10 in the 4-1 win vs. Providence at the Whittemore Center. Hitchcock finished that two-game series vs. PC with four points (3g, 1a) to garner the Warrior Player of the Week award from Hockey East.
Hitchcock recorded one other multiple-point game this season with two assists Oct. 26 at Penn State.
UNH scored the game's first goal 13 times in 33 regular-season games and is 5-7-1 when taking a 1-0 lead; one the road, the Wildcats are 3-2-1 when scoring first. The Wildcats are 4-15-1 when falling behind 1-0.
New Hampshire struck first four consecutive games before NU took a 1-0 lead in the Feb. 23 regular-season finale; the 'Cats lost all four of those games – Feb. 9 vs. UConn (3-1), Feb. 15 (3-2) & Feb. 16 (5-1) to UVM and Feb. 22 at Northeastern (5-4).
UNH took a lead into the first intermission for the first time this season – the sixth game of 2013-14 – when the Wildcats held a 2-1 advantage at Boston College (Oct. 16). The 'Cats have led at the first intermission just eight times in 33 games with a 3-4-1 record; the most recent time New Hampshire led at the end of the first period was Feb. 9 vs. UConn (that 1-0 lead resulted in a 3-1 loss). UNH has trailed at the first intermission 15 times (3-11-1 record).
At the second intermission, New Hampshire has led five times (3-0-2 record) and trailed 15 times (1-14-0); the game has been tied through 40 minutes 13 times (5-8-0 record). The last time UNH led at the second intermission was Jan. 19 vs. UConn (10 games played since then), and that 2-0 lead resulted in a 3-2 win at the Whittemore Center.
Color Me Blue
Senior Arielle O'Neill has proven invaluable this season by playing both center and defenseman. She had never skated as a defenseman until taking the blue line Oct. 26 at Penn State. In her debut at the position, O'Neill still contributed offensively with a pair of power-play goals in the third period to propel UNH to an 8-5 victory; the two goals matched her career high. O'Neill also scored the next day in the Wildcats' 3-1 win at PSU. She was honored as Hockey East co-Player of the Week on Oct. 28 for her efforts vs. the Nittany Lions.
And just as injury force the coaching staff to transition O'Neill from forward to defense in October, another UNH injury during the Jan. 26 game vs. Boston College prompted O'Neill's return to forward – she skated as a center the remainder of that game and all eight February games.
In 33 regular-season games this season (F-14, D-19), she netted six goals to rank fourth on the team – she scored four of those goals as a defenseman – and has five assists for a total of 11 points. O'Neill matched her career high of two assists Feb. 22 at Northeastern University. One game earlier, she tallied an assist against UVM (Feb. 16) and potted a goal Feb. 8 at Boston University.
O'Neill was atop the leaderboard in shots a majority of the season, but slipped to second following the Jan. 26 game vs. BC; she has 123 shots overall, which still ranks second.
O'Neill has been the top 'Cat in the faceoff circle. She has a .659 faceoff win percentage (145 of 220) this season to lead the team and Hockey East; Feb. 9 vs. UConn, O'Neill won 13 of 17 faceoffs. Last year, O'Neill led UNH and ranked second in Hockey East with a .645 win percentage.
Junior forward Kayla Mork is fourth on the team in assists (nine) and tied for fifth in points (13) – both those numbers are personal single-season highs; in the final weekend of the regular season, she scored a goal Feb. 22 at Northeastern.
Mork tallied a point in three consecutive games with an assist Jan. 25 at Boston College, a goal Jan. 26 at the Whittemore Center vs. BC and an assist Feb. 1 at Maine. She has skated in 32 of 33 games; she was not in the lineup Jan. 11 game at Providence.
Mork recorded a career-high three points with one goal and two assists Oct. 26 at Penn State; the two assists matched a personal best. Mork also finished with multiple points (1g, 1a) in the Nov. 7 win against Providence.
The Puck Stops Here
The Wildcats have three goaltenders on the 2013-14 roster with two returning netminders (both sophomores) and one freshman.
Vilma Vaattovaara had a strong start to her sophomore season with a 4-0-1 record, 2.16 GAA and .928 save percentage through October. In two Hockey East league games, she went 2-0-0 with a 1.44 GAA and .946 save percentage.
Vaattovaara returned to action Jan. 19 vs. UConn with a 24-save effort that backboned the Wildcats to a 3-2 victory; she was sidelined nine games by injury and had not seen game action since Nov. 15 at Princeton.
Jan. 26 versus seventh-ranked Boston College, Vaattovaara made 20 saves in a 3-2 loss at the Whittemore Center.
In 17 games overall (all starts), Vaattovaara is 6-9-2 with a 2.86 GAA and .899 save percentage. In 13 Hockey East games, she is 3-8-2 with a 2.89 GAA and .897 save percentage.
Vaattovaara was honored as Hockey East co-Player of the Week following her career-high 41-save effort in a 2-1 win at St. Lawrence (Sept. 28). She made 36 saves to lead UNH to a 3-1 victory at second-ranked BC (Oct. 16) and was honored as Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week.
Ashley Wilkes enters the Hockey East tournament with a 3-10-0 record that includes a 2.74 GAA and .899 save percentage. Last Saturday (Feb. 22) at Northeastern, she recorded a career-high 28 saves – including a single-period high of 15 in the second stanza – in just two periods; she exited the game at the start of the third period with the score tied 3-3 (5-4 loss).
Wilkes started nine consecutive games spanning Nov. 16 (at Quinnipiac) through Jan. 18 (at UConn). She recorded 27 saves in back-to-back games vs. BU (Nov. 24) and Quinnipiac (Nov. 16) – both were 2-1 losses for the 'Cats.
The freshman netminder also finished with 27 saves, including 13 in the third period, Jan. 18 at UConn (3-2 loss). Also of note, she recorded 26 saves Jan. 25 at Boston College (5-3 loss) and she stopped 22 of 23 shots in UNH's 4-1 win against Providence College on Jan. 10.
Wilkes made her collegiate debut with the Oct. 28 start at Penn State University and earned her first career win, 3-1, with a 17-save effort. She blanked the Nittany Lions in both the first and third periods with five and 10 saves, respectively. The only goal allowed was on a PSU two-skater advantage.
Wilkes was honored as Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week on Nov. 18 following a 27-save effort against seventh-ranked Quinnipiac University. She held the Bobcats scoreless in the first period (six saves) and followed that with 10 saves in the second and 11 in the third.
Marie-Eve Jean is 0-3-0 with a 3.88 GAA and .835 save percentage in five games (three starts) this season. Jean was the starter Feb. 16 against Vermont and stopped 18 shots in a 5-1 loss; it marked her first start since the third game of the season, a 3-2 home loss to RIT on Oct. 4.
Jean made a season-high 27 saves in the Sept. 27 season opener at SLU (4-2 loss).
In her two relief appearances, Jean entered the Feb. 8 game at Boston U. at the start of the third period (UNH trailing 5-2) and stopped 7 of 8 shots (7-4 loss). She entered the Jan. 11 game at Providence at the start of the third period and stopped three of the four shots she faced; that appearance ended a stretch of 17 consecutive games in which she did not play (dating back to Oct. 4 vs. RIT).
A pair of special teams streaks ended in the Jan. 25-26 series against seventh-ranked Boston College. UNH ended a stretch of nine consecutive games with nary a power-play goal when the 'Cats scored an extra skater goal in the first period of the Jan. 26 game; that Jess Ryan power-play goal ended an 0-for-36 stretch that dated back to the third period of the Nov. 24 game vs. Boston U.
New Hampshire's streak of successful penalty kills also came to an end when BC netted a power-play goal in the third period of the Jan. 25 game at Conte Forum. The Wildcats' PK had been perfect the previous four games and a total of 16 consecutive shorthanded situations.
Earlier this month, the Wildcats climbed into the top 10 in penalty kill but they are currently No. 15 with a success rate of .858 (115-for-134). UNH's PK did not yield a goal in 16 of 33 games and allowed multiple power-play goals twice – two by St. Lawrence in the Sept. 27 season opener and two by Penn State on Oct. 26. The opposition has netted a power-play goal each of the last three games and in 4 of 5.
New Hampshire entered Thanksgiving weekend ranked No. 6 in the nation on the power play (20.3%). UNH is currently 21-for-133 (15.8%) to rank 14th.
The Wildcats scored at least one power-play goal in 14 of 33 regular-season games and that includes 2-for-6 the final weekend vs. Northeastern.
UNH scored on 5 of 8 power plays in the Oct. 26-27 weekend series at Penn State as part of three consecutive games with multiple power-play tallies (2x5 at BC; 3x5 at PSU; 2x3 at PSU).
Nicole Gifford leads all 'Cats with 10 power-play points (4g, 6a). Sara Carlson (6a), Jess Ryan (3g, 3a) and Cassandra Vilgrain (3g, 3a) are the next top point producers.
Juniors Caroline Broderick and Jess Ryan as well as sophomore Megan Armstrong are logging a lot of minutes for UNH's defense, which has been hit by injury to Alexis Crossley and Kate Haslett. Crossley missed nine consecutive games before returning to the ice Nov. 30, while Haslett has been sidelined since the third game of the season.
Ryan, who didn't record a point as a freshman and tallied three points last year, recorded 12 points (4g, 8a) in 33 regular-season games this season to lead UNH defensemen in points. She tallied a point three consecutive games spanning Jan. 19-26 with three points (1g, 2a). Ryan also recorded an assist three consecutive games vs. Quinnipiac (Nov. 16), BU (Nov. 24) and Ohio State (Nov. 30).
Ryan scored her first career goal and finished the game with two goals – both on the power play – to lift UNH to 3-1 win at Penn State (Oct. 27). She opened the game scoring and then struck again to give the 'Cats a 2-0 lead. Ryan also netted the game-winning goal against Providence (Nov. 7) when she gave the 'Cats a 3-2 lead in the 4-2 victory.
Broderick has contributed 10 points (2g, 8a) and leads the team in blocked shots with 59. She recorded her first career multiple-point game with a goal and an assist Oct. 26 at Penn State.
Armstrong recorded six points (1g, 5a) in 33 regular-season games; she scored her only goal of the season in the Feb. 23 regular-season finale against Northeastern. Armstrong recorded three of her points the Nov. 7-10 weekend against Providence (1a) and Vermont (2a). The two assists against the Catamounts matched her personal best.
One For Me, One For You
A handful of Wildcats have almost even career totals in goals and assists. In 132 career games, Jessica Hitchcock has tallied 36 goals and 40 assists. The career breakdown for Hannah Armstrong is almost even at 21 goals and 23 assists. Arielle O'Neill (28g, 28a) has an even split. Freshman Cassandra Vilgrain has been almost equal finisher and distributor with nine goals and eight assists, and Heather Kashman is also one off from an even split at 12 goals and 11 assists.
Setting The Table
Sara Carlson, who was equal finisher, equal playmaker last year as a freshman with seven goals and seven assists for 14 points, is one of three Wildcats on this year's squad to reach double digits in assists and is third overall with 12. Carlson has also scored one goal for a total of 13 points.
Carlson recorded one assist each of the three weekends in January, including a tally on the game-winning goal vs. UConn on Jan. 19.
The sophomore forward tallied a career-high two assists in the 3-1 win at (then) No. 2 Boston College (Oct. 16) and matched that effort Feb. 8 at Boston University.
Heather Kashman returns from a redshirt season in 2012-13. Injury sidelined Kashman last year after recording 10 points (7g, 3a) as a freshman in 2011-12.
Kashman tallied 13 points (5g, 8a) in 33 regular-season games. She recorded an assist both games last weekend against Northeastern University and registered at least one point all four weekends of February with a total of five points (2g, 3a) in eight games.
Kashman's point-producing consistency extends back to January, as she recorded a point seven of the last 11 regular-season games with seven points (2g, 5a) in that span.
The forward has matched her career high of two points twice this season, most recently with a goal and an assist at Penn State on Oct. 26. Kashman also finished with 1g, 1a against Maine (Oct. 13).
In the faceoff circle, Kashman has won 194 of 400 draws (.485). She has taken the second most faceoffs on the team (behind Nicole Gifford's 752) and No. 3 is Sara Carlson (237).
Jenna Lascelle recorded 12 points (5g, 7a) in 33 regular-season games. She closed the regular season with a goal in both of last weekend's games against Northeastern; it marked the third time in her career – first time in one weekend – Lascelle scored a goal in consecutive games; she previously tallied a goal in back-to-back games twice as a freshman.
Lascelle recorded at least one point all four weekends in February with a total of five points (3g, 2a) and a .250 shooting percentage (3g/12shots) in eight games.
In the series at Penn State, Lascelle matched her career highs in both goals (two) and points (three) in the 8-5 win on Oct. 26; her second goal of the game broke a 5-5 tie with 3:39 remaining in regulation.
UNH welcomed three incoming student-athletes – all freshmen – with one new forward, defenseman and goaltender – at the start of the season and junior Brenna Boulanger joined the team as a walk-on in mid-December.
Cassandra Vilgrain. She led the Edge School for Athletes to a gold medal at the World Sport School Challenge, where she was named the tournament's top forward, and to the JWHL championship game.
Kate Haslett comes to UNH from Brooks School, where she captained the team as a senior defenseman and was named ISL All-League and All-New England Second Team.
Ashley Wilkes played between the pipes at North American Hockey Academy in 2012-13, when she had a 19-0-1 record with a 1.09 GAA and .942 save percentage to garner JWHL First Team All-Star recognition and backbone NAHA to the league title.
As a senior at St. Thomas Aquinas (Dover, N.H.), Boulanger captained the girls ice hockey team and was a 2011 New Hampshire Scholar Athlete. Boulanger was in the lineup the last 13 games of the regular season.
Looking Back At The Crystal Ball
Here is a side-by-side comparison of the Hockey East final standings and preseason coaches' poll that was released mid-September. The top three held true; Vermont, Maine and UConn exceeded expectations.
Final Standings (pts) Preseason Poll (1st-place votes)
1. Boston College 37 1. Boston College (7) 56
2. Boston U. 28 2. Boston U. (1) 48
Northeastern 28 3. Northeastern 41
4. Vermont 27 4. Providence 38
5. Maine 13 5. New Hampshire 34
UConn 13 6. Vermont 29
7. Providence 12 7. Maine 19
8. UNH 10 8. Connecticut 15
Scouting the Eagles
Boston College enters the postseason ranked No. 4 in the nation and as the top seed of the Hockey East tournament with a 25-5-3 overall record that includes 18-2-1 in Hockey East and 15-1-1 at Conte Forum. The Eagles ended the regular season on a five-game win streak following last weekend's home-and-home sweep of cross-town rival Boston University (3-2 at home; 5-1 on the road).
The only team to win at Conte Forum this season was the UNH Wildcats, who were 3-1 victors Oct. 16.
Since the start of December, BC has a 13-1-2 record and that included a 10-game unbeaten streak (8-0-2) and a pair of wins against UNH. The last team to beat the Eagles was UConn on Feb. 8; Boston College recorded 45 shots in that game.
In the national stats, BC is No. 5 in offense (3.48 gpg) and No. 7 in defense (1.70 gpg) as well as 10th in power play (18.1%) and 11th in penalty kill (86.4%).
Haley Skarupa (23-13-36), Andie Anastos (14-21-35) and Emily Field (14-16-30) lead the offense, which boasts eight skaters with more than 20 points. Taylor Wasylk is the other Eagles player with double-digit goals (11).
Corinne Boyles has played 29 games (all starts) and has a 21-5-2 record with a 1.62 GAA, .943 save percentage and three shutouts. In 19 Hockey East league games, Boyles went 15-2-1 with a 1.52 GAA, .945 save percentage and two shutouts.
BC has been a strong frontrunner with a 16-1-1 record when taking a 1-0 lead, 14-1-0 mark when leading after one period and 17-0-1 when holding the lead through 40 minutes. The Eagles have closed strong in the third period with a significant advantage in both goals (44-19) and shots (409-286).