October 15, 2013

GAME NOTES: Women's Hockey Travels To Play No. 2 Boston College (Oct. 16)

GAME NOTES (PDF)

The Matchup
    The University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team travels to play second-ranked Boston College at Conte Forum on Oct. 16 (7 p.m.).
    UNH has a 45-9-5 lifetime record vs. BC but the Eagles have won two straight and 4 of 5 as part of a 7-3-2 record the past four seasons. The Wildcats have a 23-5-2 record at Conte Forum and that includes a 5-2 loss in the most recent trip (Oct. 21, 2012). The Eagles have won three consecutive home games in the series; prior to this streak, the teams skated to a scoreless tie Feb. 19, 2011. New Hampshire's most recent road win at Boston College was Feb. 21, 2010 (4-1).
    In last year's other meetings, UNH prevailed 4-3 at the Whittemore Center (Oct. 20, 2012) and BC recorded a 4-1 road win on Dec. 5, 2012.

The State of New Hampshire
    New Hampshire enters Wednesday's game at Boston College with a 2-2-1 overall record that includes 0-0-1 in Hockey East and 1-1-0 on the road.
    UNH alternated wins and losses the opening four games of the season before skating to a 2-2 tie against the University of Maine on Sunday, Oct. 13.
    The Wildcats recorded a season-high 52 shots this past Sunday against Maine.
    UNH's penalty kill was a perfect 3-for-3 vs. Maine to mark the first game this season the 'Cats didn't allow a power-play goal.
    The Wildcats have scored two goals in four of five games – the only exception was a 3-2 win vs. Syracuse University (Oct. 5) at the Whittemore Center.
    Three of UNH's games have been decided by one goal and the 'Cats are 2-1 in those results.
    UNH has had eight different goal scorers and the only Wildcats with multiple goals are Alexis Crossley, Nicole Gifford and Heather Kashman, all of whom have two.
    Eleven skaters have tallied an assist. Gifford (three), Kashman (two), Jessica Hitchcock (two) and Hannah Armstrong (two) are the four 'Cats with multiple assists.
    New Hampshire has been outscored 6-1 in the first period but has the scoring edge in both the second (6-3) and third (4-3) periods.

'Cat Nips
    Sophomore forward Heather Kashman matched her career high of two points with a goal and an assist Oct. 13 vs. Maine. Kashman, who redshirted the 2012-13 season, established her personal best of two points (1g, 1a) at Dartmouth College in November 2011. Kashman has recorded a point in three of five games.
    Freshman forward Cassandra Vilgrain scored her first career goal Oct. 13 vs. Maine when her second-period goal tied the score 1-1 en route to a 2-2 tie. Vilgrain tallied her first collegiate point with an assist at St. Lawrence (Sept. 28) in her second career game.
    Senior forward and captain Nicole Gifford tallied a career-high three assists Oct. 5 against Syracuse University at the Whittemore Center; the three points equaled her personal best. Gifford has tallied a point in three of five games.
    Sophomore defenseman and assistant captain Alexis Crossley matched her career high of two goals with a pair of power-play tallies, including the game-winner, Oct. 5 vs. Syracuse.

Milestones
    Senior forward Nicole Gifford recorded her 50th career point with the first of her career-high three assists – a helper in the second period –  Oct. 5 against Syracuse. Gifford currently has 52 points (20g, 32a) in 105 career games.
    Classmate and fellow forward Arielle O'Neill is approaching the 50-point milestone. She enters Wednesday's game with 45 points (22g, 23a) in 105 career games.

Countdown to 250
    Head coach Brian McCloskey enters the week with 248 victories. Now in his 12th season at the UNH helm, McCloskey has compiled an overall record of 248-106-39 that includes 151-52-22 in Hockey East.

Working Overtime
    Each of UNH's last five regular-season overtime games have ended in a tie – the Wildcats were defeated in OT of the 2013 Hockey East quarterfinal (5-4 at home by Providence College) after all four regular-season overtime games were ties.
    The most recent UNH win or loss in a regular-season OT game was a 4-3 loss at Maine (Feb. 18, 2012). Earlier in the season, the 'Cats prevailed 3-2 in overtime against Union College on Nov. 29, 2011.

What Just Happened
    New Hampshire recorded a 52-19 shot advantage and skated to a 2-2 tie against the University of Maine at the Whittemore Center this past Sunday (Oct. 13).
    The Black Bears led 1-0 at the end of the first period despite being outshot 17-5. In the second stanza, UNH quickly transformed a one-goal deficit into a one-goal lead when Cassandra Vilgrain (at 10:02) and Heather Kashman (12:47) scored goals 2:45 apart.
    Maine pulled goaltender Meghann Treacy in favor of an extra skater with 2:30 remaining in regulation and Jennifer More netted the game-tying goal seven seconds later.
    UNH goalie Vilma Vaattovaara finished with 17 saves, including two in the five-minute overtime session.
    The Wildcats' line of Hannah Armstrong, Nicole Gifford and Jessica Hitchcock combined for 19 shots to match the entire Black Bears' total.

What Happens Next
    UNH is idle this weekend and returns to action Oct. 26-27 for a two-game series at Penn State University. The Wildcats' next home game is Nov. 1 against Boston U.

In & Out
    Freshman defenseman Kate Haslett played in both games opening weekend at St. Lawrence (Sept. 27-28) but has not dressed the past three games.
    Sophomore forward Haley Breedlove was out the opening weekend at SLU but skated in the last three games.

First Blood
    UNH has scored the game's first goal just once in five games – that was the 2-1 win at St. Lawrence (Sept. 28). The Wildcats are 1-2-1 when falling behind 1-0.

Playing Catchup
    New Hampshire has yet to hold the lead at the first intermission and had led just once at the end of two periods (2-1 vs. Maine; ended in a 2-2 tie).
    The Wildcats have trailed at the first intermission four times (1-2-1 record) and at the second intermission twice (1-1-0).

Against the Best
    Wednesday's game will mark the first of the season for UNH against a nationally-ranked team. Last year, the Wildcats were 3-7-1 in 11 games against nationally-ranked opponents with home wins against BC (4-3) and Boston University (4-2) as well as a 3-1 road win against Northeastern University and a 2-2 tie at home vs. Harvard University.

Captain of the 'Cats
    Senior forward Nicole Gifford is captain of the 2013-14 Wildcats. Gifford ranked fifth on the team in assists (10) and also scored three goals – all on the power play – for a total of 13 points last year.
    This season, Gifford has tallied a point in three of five games as she leads the team in assists (three) and points (five), and is tied for the lead in goals (two). She also has a team-leading 23 shots.
    Junior forward Hannah Armstrong and sophomore defenseman Alexis Crossley are the assistant captains.
    Armstrong rebounded from an injury-plagued 2011-12 season to skate in all 34 games a year ago. She ranked fourth overall – and is the leader among returning forwards – with 19 points on 11 goals and eight assists; she was second in goals.
    Armstrong recorded an assist in consecutive home games against RIT (Oct. 4) and Syracuse University (Oct. 5). She is tied for second on the team in assists (tow) and is fifth in shots (14).
    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 led all 'Cats in both assists (17) and power-play goals (five), and she ranked second in points (24). In the league, she was second in defenseman scoring, third in blocked shots (64) and fifth in both freshman scoring and power-play points (13).
    Crossley recorded her first points of the 2013-14 season with a two-goal effort vs. Syracuse to tie her benchmark for goals in a game; both of those goals were scored on the power play. She is the only 'Cat  to score a power-play goal this season and ranks second on the team in both goals (two) and shots (19).

Senior Sniper
    Senior forward Jessica Hitchcock is a second-year Wildcat who was also a two-year letterwinner at Niagara University. She scored a goal in her UNH debut and ended the 2012-13 season ranked third in goals (nine) and fifth in points (18). Hitchcock also ranked third in shots.
    This season, Hitchcock has tallied a point in 3 of 4 games with a total of three points (1g, 2a) to rank second on the team in points and tied for second in assists.

Facing Off
    Senior forward Arielle O'Neill, a three-time Hockey East All-Academic Team honoree, is the top 'Cat in the faceoff circle. She won 20 of 25 faceoffs vs. Maine and has a .690 faceoff win percentage (60 of 87) this season. Last year, O'Neill led UNH and ranked second in Hockey East with a .645 win percentage.
    O'Neill skated in 102 of 103 games the past three seasons. She netted eight goals last year as a junior to rank fourth on the team, and she also tallied seven assists for a total of 15 points. O'Neill has not recorded a point in five games this season.

Equal Opportunity Wildcat
    Sara Carlson was one of three freshman – the only forward – to skate in all 34 games last year; she was equal finisher, equal playmaker with seven goals and seven assists for 14 points.
    Carlson tallied an assist in the season opener at St. Lawrence (Sept. 27) and scored a goal the next day vs. the Saints to account for her two points in five games this season.

Mine, Mine, Mine, Mine, Mine, Mine
    Sophomore forward Brittney Redlick scored six goals to account for all six of her points in 26 games played last season. She has not recorded a point in five games this season.

Healthy Returns
    Heather Kashman (sophomore) and Jonna Curtis (freshman) return from redshirt seasons in 2012-13. Injury sidelined Kashman last year after recording 10 points (7g, 3a) as a freshman. Curtis had a strong start to her UNH career with three multiple-point efforts in the first five games, but then she was sidelined by injury the rest of the season and was awarded a redshirt season; Curtis tallied six points (2g, 4a) in five games.
    Kashman has tallied a point in three of five games this season to rank second on the team in goals (two), assists (two) and points (four). With two goals on three shots, she has a .667 shooting percentage. Kashman recorded two points (1g, 1a) Oct. 13 vs. Maine to match her career high.
    Curtis has yet to return to the lineup in 2013-14.

The Puck Stops Here
    The Wildcats once again have four goaltenders on the 2013-14 roster with three returning netminders (one junior, two sophomores) and one incoming freshman. The sophomores are the only goalies to see action this season.
    Vilma Vaattovaara has had a strong start to the season with a 2-0-1 record, 1.62 GAA and .943 save percentage in three games (all starts); with those numbers, she ranks No. 8 in the nation in GAA and No. 9 in 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). Most recently, she stopped 17 shots in the 2-2 tie vs. Maine (Oct. 13) at the Whittemore Center.
    Marie-Eve Jean is 0-2-0 with a 3.55 GAA and .860 save percentage in two games (both starts) this season. She made a season-high 27 saves in the Sept. 27 season opener at SLU (4-2 loss).
    Freshman Ashley Wilkes has served as the third-string goalie while junior Jenn Gilligan has not dressed.

Incoming 'Cats
    UNH has three incoming student-athletes – all freshmen – with one new forward, defenseman and goaltender.
    The lone newcomer to the forward corps is 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.

Current 'Cats With Hat Tricks
    Three current UNH skaters have scored three goals in a game.
  Hannah Armstrong - Feb. 11, 2013 vs. Connecticut
  Nicole Gifford - Nov. 26, 2011 vs. Princeton
  Jenna Lascelle - Dec. 12, 2011 vs. Dartmouth

Spanning the Globe
    The Wildcats are a team made up of student-athletes from around the world. In the geographic breakdown, 12 'Cats hail from Canada while eight are from the United States and one calls Finland home.

UNH records 700th win
    UNH, now in its 37th year at the varsity level, is the winningest women's college hockey program in the United States with an overall record of 727-232-74 for a .740 winning percentage. The Wildcats attained the most recent century milestone Feb. 3, 2011 with a 4-2 road victory against third-ranked Boston University.
    In 36 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 made five consecutive NCAA tourney appearances (2006-10) with two trips to the Frozen Four in that span.

200 Wins at The Whitt
    New Hampshire recorded its 200th victory at the Whittemore Center with a 4-2 victory Jan. 30, 2011 against Maine. UNH has an overall record of 206-56-28 (.759 win percentage) at The Whitt since the venue opened in Fall 1995.

Hockey East Preseason Poll
    New Hampshire, which finished fourth in last year's Hockey East standings, was picked fifth in the 2013-14 Women's Hockey East Preseason Coaches' Poll that was released mid-September. Here is a complete look at the complete poll:
Preseason Poll (1st-place votes)
1.    Boston College (7)    56
2.    Boston U. (1)    48
3.     Northeastern    41
4.    Providence    38
5.     New Hampshire    34
6.    Vermont    29
7.    Maine    19
8.    Connecticut    15

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 12th 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 248-106-39 overall record, including a 151-52-21 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.

Lights. Camera. Action!
    The UNH women's ice hockey team will have four home games broadcast on television – two on the Live Well Network (sister station of WBIN-TV) and two on Fox College Sports. Here is the schedule:
  Sat. Oct. 5    Syracuse    Live Well Network    3-2 win
  Sun. Dec. 1    Ohio State    Live Well Network    1 pm
  Sun. Feb. 9    UConn    Fox College Sports    2 pm
  Sat. Feb. 15    Vermont    Fox College Sports    2 pm

On The Air
      A total of nine games will be broadcast on the Wildcats Sports Radio Network – Fox Sports WPKX-AM 930 (Dover-Portsmouth-Rochester) and WGIR-AM 610 (Manchester). Here is that schedule:
  Sun. Oct. 13    Maine    2-2 tie
  Thur. Nov. 7    Providence    6:45 pm
  Sun. Dec. 1    Ohio State    12:45 pm
  Sun. Dec. 8    Dartmouth    1:45 pm
  Fri. Jan. 10    Providence    6:45 pm
  Sun. Jan. 19    UConn    1:45 pm
  Sun. Feb. 9    UConn    1:45 pm
  Sat. Feb. 15    Vermont    1:45 pm
  Sun. Feb. 23    Northeastern    1:45 pm

We're Back
    UNH returns 18 letterwinners from last year's team that went 14-16-4 overall and finished fourth in the Hockey East standings with a 10-8-3 league record. UNH also has three newcomers (all freshmen) for a 21-player roster consisting of 12 forwards, five defensemen and four goaltenders.
    The top two point-producing forwards were lost to graduation, but five double-digit performers are back in 2013-14. They are junior assistant captain Hannah Armstrong (11-8-19), senior Jessica Hitchcock (9-9-18), senior Arielle O'Neill (8-7-15), sophomore Sara Carlson (7-7-14) and senior captain Nicole Gifford (3-10-13).
    Two juniors – Caroline Broderick, Jess Ryan – and two sophomores – Megan Armstrong, assistant captain Alexis Crossley – return to patrol the blue line. Crossley led all 'Cats in assists (17) and ranked second overall in points (24) en route to being named a Hockey East Second Team All-Star and All-Rookie Team honoree. Armstrong was second among UNH defensemen in goals (four) and points (13).
    In goal, junior Jenn Gilligan started 20 of the last 24 games of the 2012-13 season and was a Hockey East Honorable Mention selection. Sophomores Vilma Vaattovaara (12 gp) and Marie-Eve Jean (4 gp) also return between the pipes.

Scouting The Eagles
    Boston College (Chestnut Hill, Mass.), ranked No. 2 in the nation, has a 3-0-0 overall record that includes 1-0-0 in Hockey East; the Eagles have played all three games on home ice and are unbeaten in 15 consecutive home games (14-0-1).
    Last weekend, BC swept a two-game series against St. Lawrence University with victories of 5-2 (Oct. 11) and 2-1 (Oct. 12). BC tallied a 27-28 shot advantage in the opener but SLU had the 33-32 edge the next game. Boston College went a combined 0-for-6 on the power play  as well as 11 of 12 on the penalty kill in the two-game series.
    The Eagles opened the season with a 5-1 win vs. Maine (Oct. 6) in which they carried a 3-0 lead into the third period and recorded a 44-19 shot advantage.
    Sophomore forward Haley Skarupa already has seven points (5g, 2a) this season and 60 career points (29g, 31a) in 36 games. Freshman forward Andie Anastos, the reigning Hockey East Pro Ambitions Rookie of the Week, is the second-leading goal scorer (three) and point producer (four).
    Senior goaltender Corinne Boyles has played all 180:00 in goal this season and is 3-0-0 with a 1.33 GAA and .950 save percentage.
    BC's period-by-period breakdown is even in shots (4-4-4–12) and nearly as consistent in shots (33-39-41–113).

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