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Greater Expectations
Men's and women's hockey teams are gathering momentum
By Rachel M. Collins '81

Dick Umile '72 knew he was going on the ice this year with a relatively young team. After all, there were only five seniors on the roster. But he wasn't concerned. In his 17th season as head coach of the men's hockey team, he could see that the team had good balance. "We have great leadership and great chemistry," he says.

It turns out he was right.

In late January, the team had lost just two Hockey East games and had the best road record of all college hockey teams. In its conference and in Division I nationally, UNH ranked first.

That's even after the loss of Daniel Winnik, who signed with San Antonio last March just before his senior year, and junior Mike Radja, who suffered a knee injury in December.

Umile says one key was the strong goaltending of junior Kevin Regan, as well as the aggressive play of senior forwards Josh Ciocco, Jacob Micflikier and Brett Hemingway.

"The surprise is what last year's freshmen are going to do for the team--they are playing better than I thought they would," Umile says. "And last year's sophomores are playing well. They're stepping up."

Expectations are high for the women's ice hockey team following last year's record-setting string of games without a loss and a No. 1 ranking for most of the season. The team started this season anxious to return to the Frozen Four after losing to Minnesota 5-4 last March.

"Being number one last year was good, but there's not as much to strive for," says associate head coach Erin Hamlen '93. "We're hungrier this year."

Midway through this season the program marked its 600th win in its 30-year varsity history--making it the winningest team in U.S. women's college hockey with an overall record of 600-155-51.

Other records were being set as well: Captain Jennifer Hitchcock became the 35th Wildcat to score 100 career points, and goaltender Melissa Bourdon '07 set an NCAA record for career shutouts.

"We know that last year we could have won the whole thing," Hamlen says. "So we have a lot of unfinished business on the table."

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