GAME NOTES: Women's Ice Hockey "Blue Out the Whitt" vs. Boston U., Travels to Northeastern


The Matchups
    The UNH women's ice hockey team resumes Hockey East league play this weekend with a Blue Out the Whitt game Nov. 1 vs. Boston U. and a road trip to Northeastern (Nov. 3).
    New Hampshire has a 20-10-3 lifetime record against Boston U. and that includes last season's 1-2-0 mark in which the Wildcats were 4-2 victors at home (Nov. 9); BU defended its home ice with 3-2 and 6-0 victories. The home team has won six of the last seven games.
    In the last five years, BU has a 10-4-3 record against the Wildcats.
    UNH is 10-3-2 at home vs. the Terriers.
    Sunday's game at Northeastern will be the 122nd meeting between the Wildcats and Huskies. UNH has a 78-34-9 record that includes 33-16-1 on the road and 1-2-0 in last year's season series – the road team won all three games in 2012-13.
    NU has a 6-2-1 edge the past three seasons. Prior to that, UNH had a 27-game unbeaten streak that included 26 consecutive wins spanning November 2002 through January 2010.

O'Neill and Vilgrain Receive Hockey East Honor
    Arielle O'Neill was named Player of the Week by Hockey East on Monday (Oct. 28). The league also announced Cassandra Vilgrain as the Rookie of the Week, which marked the second time this season she received the award.
    O'Neill, pressed into skating as a defenseman for the first time in her career, scored three goals in the weekend series at Penn State. She matched her career high of two goals – both on third period power plays – in the 8-5 win (Oct. 26); her tallies gave UNH leads of 5-4 and 7-5. One day later, O'Neill scored with 29 seconds remaining in the second period –and  just 74 seconds after a PSU goal – to put the Wildcats ahead 3-1.
    Vilgrain extended her goal-scoring streak to three games with a tally in last Saturday's victory and pushed her point streak to four with an assist last Sunday. Her third-period goal tied the score, 4-4, just 14 seconds after Penn State took the lead and ignited UNH's five-goal outburst en route to the 8-5 win. One day later, Vilgrain set up the game's first goal to spark the 'Cats to a 3-1 win.

The State of New Hampshire
    New Hampshire enters the weekend with a 5-2-1 overall record that includes 1-1-1 at home, 4-1-0 on the road and 1-0-1 in Hockey East.
    The Wildcats extended their winning streak to three games – all on the road – and unbeaten streak to five (4-0-1) with last weekend's two-game sweep at Penn State (8-5, 3-1). UNH has the nation's second-longest active unbeaten streak behind Minnesota's eight games (8-0-0).
    After dropping its home opener (3-2 to RIT on Oct. 4), UNH is unbeaten in its last two games at the Whittemore Center with a win vs. Syracuse (3-2, Oct. 5) and tie against Maine (2-2, Oct. 13).
    UNH has won four consecutive road games.
    New Hampshire ranks No. 10 in the nation in offense (3.12 gpg) and No. 15 in defense (2.38 gpg).
    The 'Cats scored a season-high eight goals last Saturday (Oct. 26) at Penn State University and it marked the team's highest total since Jan. 16, 2009 (8-3 win vs. Dartmouth College).
    Ten skaters, including eight of nine forwards, recorded at least one point and seven tallied multiple points in last Saturday's 8-5 win at Penn State.
    New Hampshire has been outscored 8-5 in the first period despite a 93-70 shot advantage and the Wildcats have outscored the opposition 9-5 in the third despite an 84-66 shot deficit.

'Cat Nips
    Freshman goaltender Ashley Wilkes made her collegiate debut with the Oct. 27 start at Penn State and recorded her first career victory, 3-1, with a 17-save effort for a .944 save percentage.
    Junior defenseman Jess Ryan scored her first career goal Oct. 27 at PSU and scored again to finish with a career-high two points; both goals were scored on the power play.
    Junior forward Jenna Lascelle matched her career highs in both goals (two) and points (three) Oct. 26 at Penn State; her second goal of the game broke a 5-5 tie and proved to be the game-winner.
    Junior forward Kayla Mork tallied a career-high three points (1g, 2a) Oct. 26 at PSU; the two assists tied a personal best.
    Junior defenseman Caroline Broderick recorded a career-high two points (1g, 1a) at Penn State on Oct. 26.
    Sophomore forward Heather Kashman equaled her career high of two points (1g, 1a) with a +3 plus/minus rating Oct. 26 at PSU.
    Senior Arielle O'Neill, in her first game as a defenseman, matched her personal best of two goals Oct. 26 at Penn State. She carries a three-game goal-scoring streak into Friday's game vs. Boston U.
    Freshman forward Cassandra Vilgrain has the team's longest point-scoring streak of four games (3g, 1a); it started Oct. 13 with a goal in three consecutive games.

    Senior forward/defenseman Arielle O'Neill is approaching the 50-point milestone. She enters the weekend with 49 points (26g, 23a) in 108 career games.
    Nicole Gifford, another senior forward, 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 55 points (22g, 33a) in 108 career games.

250 Career Wins
    Head coach Brian McCloskey recorded career victory No. 250 with UNH's 8-5 victory at Penn State University on Saturday, Oct. 26. Now in his 12th season at the UNH helm, McCloskey has compiled an overall record of 251-106-39 that includes 152-52-22 in Hockey East.

Seeing Double
    Nicole Gifford has 22 goals and 33 assists for 55 career points.
    Jenna Lascelle has 11 goals and 22 assists for 33 points – in 77 career games.
    Alexis Crossley's assist total (18) is double that of her goals (nine).

What Just Happened
    New Hampshire and Penn State faced off for the first time, and the Wildcats returned home from Pegula Ice Arena with 8-5 and 3-1 victories (Oct. 26 & 27). UNH went 5-for-8 on the power play in the series.
    In the series opener, the Nittany Lions scored 40 seconds into the game but UNH led 2-1 at the first intermission. PSU also scored with 40 seconds elapsed in the middle stanza and the teams were tied 3-3 at the end of two periods. The home team once again struck early in the period – just 31 seconds into the final frame – to regain a lead of 4-3. Cassandra Vilgrain leveled the score just 14 seconds later, however, and then UNH scored three goals the last four minutes of the game to break the 5-5 tie and get the W. Jenna Lascelle put the 'Cats ahead to stay, 6-5, at 16:21; Arielle O'Neill scored a power-play goal at 17:39 and Nicole Gifford capped the scoring on an empty-net goal with 27 seconds to play. Vilma Vaattovaara finished the game with 23 saves.
    Both teams scored at least one goal all three periods in that game. One day later, all four goals were scored in the second period. Jess Ryan broke the scoreless tie at 1:26 and struck again at 16:16. Penn State pulled within 2-1 at 18:17 but O'Neill responded 71 seconds later to reestablish a two-goal lead. Ashley Wilkes, in her collegiate debut, made 17 saves, including 10 in the third period.

What Happens Next
    Following this weekend's games against the teams hailing from Boston, the Wildcats play host to Providence College on Thursday, Nov. 7 (7 p.m.) and then travels to play the University of Vermont on Sunday, Nov. 10 (2 p.m.).

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 five of eight games as she leads the team in goals (four) and points (eight). She also ranks second in assists (four) and shots (30) and is tied for the lead in power-play goals (two).
    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 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 matched her personal best of two assists Oct. 26 at Penn State. She recorded an assist in consecutive home games against RIT (Oct. 4) and Syracuse University (Oct. 5). Armstrong is tied for second on the team in assists (four) and tied for fourth in points (five); she is also tied for third in shots (26).
    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 (Oct. 5) to tie her benchmark for goals in a game; both of those goals were scored on the power play. She tallied an assist in UNH's road win against BC (Oct. 16) and has a total of three points (2g, 1a) in six games.

Special Teams
    New Hampshire enters Friday night's game ranked No. 7 in the nation in power play at .297 (11-for-37). UNH went 5-for-8 last weekend at Penn State and has scored multiple power-play goals each of the last three games (2x5 at BC; 3x5 at PSU; 2x3 at PSU). The Wildcats have scored at least one power-play goal in 6 of 8 games.
    The Wildcats are also 19th in penalty kill – 32 teams are ranked – at .830 (39-for-47). UNH's combined .595 percentage ranks fifth.
    Nicole Gifford leads all 'Cats with five power-play points (2g, 3a). Sara Carlson (4a), Jess Ryan (2g, 1a) and Alexis Crossley (2g, 1a) are the next top point producers.

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 4 of 8 games with a total of five points (1g, 4a) – with those stats, she is tied for second in assists and tied for fourth in points. She is also tied for second in plus/minus at +3.

First Blood
    UNH has scored the game's first goal three times in eight games and won every time – the 2-1 win at St. Lawrence (Sept. 28), 3-1 at Boston College (Oct. 16) and 3-1 W at Penn State (Oct. 28). The Wildcats are 2-2-1 when falling behind 1-0.

Playing Catchup
    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 Wildcats have trailed at the first intermission four times (1-2-1 record) and at the second intermission twice (1-1-0).

Color Me Blue
    Senior Arielle O'Neill had never skated as a defenseman until taking the blue line Oct. 27 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.
    In eight games this season, she has netted four goals to tie for the team lead. O'Neill is also atop the leaderboard in shots with 34.
    Before making the transition to the blue line, O'Neill was the top 'Cat in the faceoff circle. She won 20 of 25 faceoffs vs. Maine and had a .684 faceoff win percentage (67 of 108) this season. Last year, O'Neill led UNH and ranked second in Hockey East with a .645 win percentage.
    O'Neill tallied her first point of the 2013-14 season when she scored a first-period goal to give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead at second-ranked Boston College (Oct. 16) and that proved to be the game-winning goal. She also made a key defensive play in the third period when a her pokecheck thwarted a 3-on-1 rush and preserved UNH's 3-1 lead.

Against the Best
    In its first – and only – game against a nationally-ranked team this season, UNH recorded a 3-1 road victory against (then) No. 2 Boston College on Oct. 16.
    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.

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, leads the 2013-14 Wildcats in assists with five. She also has one goal for a total of six points, which is tied for second on the team.
    Carlson carries a three-game point-scoring streak – with a total of four points, all on assists – into Friday's matchup vs. BU. She recorded a career-high two assists in the 3-1 win at (then) No. 2 Boston College (Oct. 16) and tallied one assist in both games last weekend at Penn State.
    In the opening weekend of the season at St. Lawrence, Carlson tallied an assist in the first game (Sept. 27) and scored the game-winning goal the next day vs. the Saints.

Kashing In
    Heather Kashman (sophomore) 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 has tallied a point in four of eight games this season and is tied for second on the team in points with six as well as tied for third in goals (three).
    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. Carlson also finished with 1g, 1a against Maine (Oct. 13).
    In the faceoff circle, Kashman has won 38 of 75 draws (.507). She has taken the third most faceoffs on the team (behind Nicole Gifford 166, and Arielle O'Neill, 98).

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 junior is the only goalie yet to see action this season.
    Vilma Vaattovaara has had a strong start to the season with a 4-0-1 record, 2.16 GAA and .928 save percentage in five games (all starts). In two Hockey East league games, she is 2-0-0 with a 1.44 GAA and .946 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 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.
    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).
    Ashley 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.

She's Positive
    Junior forward Kayla Mork leads the all Wildcats in plus/minus rating at +4. She recorded a career-high three points with one goal and two assists Oct. 26 at Penn State; the two assists matched a personal best. In eight games, Mork has a total of four points (1g, 3a); she also tallied an assist in the Sept. 27 season opener at St. Lawrence.
    Jenna Lascelle, another junior forward, checks in with an overall +2 rating, which is also her rating in Hockey East league games. Lascelle has five points (2g, 3a) through eight games. Last weekend 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. She also recorded a goal in the season opener at SLU and an assist vs. Maine (Oct. 13).

Blue Line
    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.
    Broderick has also contributed four points (2g, 2a). She recorded her first career multiple-point game with a goal and an assist Oct. 26 at Penn State. She tallied her first point of the season with a goal Sept. 28 at St. Lawrence and was credited with an assist vs. Maine (Oct. 13).
    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. In eight games, Ryan has tallied three points. She leads all defensemen and is tied for second overall in plus/minus at +3.
    Armstrong has one point with an assist in the 3-2 win vs. Syracuse (Oct. 5).

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 eight games this season.

In & Out
    Freshman defenseman Kate Haslett played in both games opening weekend at St. Lawrence (Sept. 27-28) but has not dressed the past six games. Sophomore defenseman Alexis Crossley missed both of last weekend's games at Penn State.
    Sophomore forward Haley Breedlove was out the opening weekend at SLU but skated in each of the last six games. She has not recorded a point, but is tied for second on the team with a +3 rating.

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.

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 730-232-74 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.

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 251-106-39 overall record, including a 152-52-21 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.
    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

Scouting The Terriers
     Boston University enters Friday's game with a 4-1-1 overall record that includes 1-0-0 in Hockey East and 3-1-1 on the road. The Terriers skated to a 3-2 overtime victory at Northeastern University on Tuesday (Oct. 29); BU held leads of 1-0 and 2-1 before prevailing when Louise Warren scored at 3:13 of the extra session; Kerrin Sperry finished with 33 saves.
    Warren (3g, 2a), Sarah Lefort (4g, 1a) and Samantha Sutherland (1g, 4a) are tied for the team lead with five points.
    Sperry, a senior goaltender, is 4-0-1 with a 1.74 GAA and .946 save percentage in five games (all starts). Freshman Victoria Hanson, in her only game of the season, stopped 24 shots in a 3-0 loss at Robert Morris (Oct. 19).
    In the national rankings, BU is 16th in offense (2.50 gpg), ninth in defense (2.00), 23rd in power play (.120) and sixth in penalty kill (.903).
    The Terriers have taken a 1-0 lead in five of six games (4-0-1 record). BU has won all three games that have been decided by one goal, and that includes two in overtime.

Scouting The Huskies
     Northeastern University enters the weekend with a 4-5-0 overall record that includes 1-3-0 at home and 1-2-0 in Hockey East (0-2-0 in home league games). NU is coming off a 3-2 overtime loss at home to Boston U. on Oct. 29, and the Huskies travel to play Maine on Nov. 1 before playing host to UNH. Last weekend, Northeastern split a home-and-home series against Providence.
    Paige Savage (3g, 5a), Kelly Wallace (5g, 2a), Katie MacSorley (3g, 2a) and Chelsey Goldberg (2g, 3a) lead the offense.
    Junior goaltender Chloe Desjardins has started all nine games. She is 4-5-0 with a 2.92 GAA and .904 save percentage.
    In the national stats, NU ranks No. 19 in offense (2.33 gpg), No. 21 in defense (3.00 gpg), No. 29 in power play (.050) and No. 27 in penalty kill (.804).
    Five of NU's nine games have been decided by one goal, and the Huskies are 3-2 in those games. Northeastern is 3-1 when scoring first and 1-4- when surrendering the game's first goal.

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