By MARK GARBINO
While We Were Gone
The Wildcats have seen their most successful stretch of the season over their last ten games, dating back to December 4. They earned a record of 6-4-0 during that span, which included an impressive streak when they claimed victories in four out of five games.
During this run, UNH defeated both Merrimack College and the University of Maine, twice, while also picking up victories over Dartmouth College and Yale University.
The two wins over Maine on January 23 and 24 were two of the most dominant wins of the season for the Wildcats. They marched into Orono and waltzed away with four points in the conference standings, winning 5-1 and 3-0 over their rivals.
After an 0-7-0 start to begin the season, the ‘Cats have worked their way up the standings, currently sitting just three points behind the University of Connecticut for fourth in Hockey East with a conference record of 7-11-0. Their overall record is 10-17-1 this season.
Save by Smith
Freshman goaltender Kyra Smith was named the Pro Ambitions Rookie of the Month in December. She posted a 4-1-0 record with a .905 save percentage during the month.
Smith was also awarded another accolade on January 25, when she was named the Pro Ambitions Rookie of the Week, for her stellar performances against Maine. She stopped 52 of 53 shots (.981 save percentage) between the two matchups, which included her first career shutout on January 24.
The Littleton, Colorado native has been an undoubted success story in net for UNH this season. Since taking over as the team’s starter, Smith has provided stable play in the crease, and has earned praise from head coach Hilary Witt.
“Kyra has really played well, and we expect her to continue to,” said Witt. “She has confidence and has given us a chance to win every game she has played.”
Sophomore center Amy Boucher and junior left wing Jonna Curtis have been producing offense at a very high rate recently.
Boucher is currently riding a six-game point streak, during which she has accumulated three goals and eight assists. She has points in 10 of her last 12 games, consisting of five goals and ten assists. The Edmonton, Alberta native has 11 goals and 11 assists for 22 points this season, ranking second on the team in all three categories.
Witt commended Boucher’s abilities after she extended her point streak Friday night at Northeastern University.
“Amy Boucher has a knack for the net,” said Witt. “Her skating and toughness play a huge role in her success. She will only keep getting better.”
Curtis has been the Wildcats’ most consistent forward this season. She has seven goals and five assists over her last ten games, with points in eight of the ten. The skilled winger leads the team with 14 goals, 15 assists, and 29 points through 28 games. Her 14 goals tie her with Connecticut’s Theresa Knutson for seventh place in Hockey East.
Making the Sacrifice
Senior defenseman and team captain Sara Carlson and freshman defenseman Marie-Jo Pelletier have been consistently putting themselves in the line of fire in the defensive zone, blocking shots by any means necessary.
Carlson and Pelletier have blocked enough shots to rank them second and third in Hockey East, respectively. Carlson is one behind the conference lead with 60, while Pelletier is seven back, with 54.
The ‘Cats are coming off a 5-2 loss to fourth-ranked Northeastern, and will host the University of Vermont for a pair of games on Friday and Saturday. These games will have a significant impact on the Hockey East standings, as the Catamounts are just four points behind UNH. Coach Witt expects a strong performance out of her team.
“I like our work ethic and the way we have been playing,” she said. “I expect us to bring our best next weekend.”
Despite loss, UNH heating up
By MARK GARBINO