Women’s hockey sets season goals high

by Ellie Gonzalez | 10/28/14 3:17pm

10.29.14.sports.hockey2_Eliza-McDonough
The women’s hockey team hopes a 6-2 win over UNH will jump-start its season.
by Eliza McDonough / Eliza McDonough

A 6-2 win against the University of New Hampshire on Sunday meant that the women’s hockey team scored a combined 10 goals in two consecutive games — an accomplishment it did not achieve all of last season.

The impressive offensive numbers show promise for the team, which struggled all last season to put the puck in the net, scoring four goals or more only three times.

“I think it was a huge win for us to set off the season on a really strong note,” forward Laura Stacey ’16 said. “We are definitely looking forward to playing more games and some really tough teams to show the country, and most importantly ourselves, what we can really do.”

The Big Green returns the vast majority of last year’s team, graduating only Lindsay Holdcroft ’14, Ali Winkel ’14 and Lauren Kelly ’14. Holdcroft will be missed between the pipes, as the senior stopped 645 shots last year and posted a 2.67 goals-against average. Robyn Chemago ’17, who has appeared in six games in her college career, will fill the net this season. In four games last season, Chemago posted a .905 save percentage. In two games this season, she has stopped 35 of 39 shots.

On offense, the team returns last year’s top-five point scorers, including All-Ivy first teamer Lindsey Allen ’16, who led the team with 14 goals and 23 points last season. Allen is part of the Big Green’s lethal top line that also includes Stacey and Kennedy Ottenbreit ’17, both of whom were in the top four in points last season. The trio scored five of the team’s six goals against UNH en route to nine points on the afternoon.

The team’s second line brings experience, with Ailish Forfar ’16 flanked by captain Karlee Odland ’15 and Sam Zeiss ’15. The three produced the Big Green’s second of four power-play goals on the afternoon against the Wildcats. Three freshmen — Brooke Ahbe ’18, Elena Horton ’18 and Morgan Turner ’18 help to fill out a deep four lines.

“We have a team that is committed and focused and willing to put in the work to be a championship team,” Odland said.

Alternate captain Morgan Illikainen ’15 and Olivia Whitford ’16 anchor an experienced defensive lineup for the Big Green that features just one freshman — Hailey Noronha ’18.

Last season, the team started off with four straight losses en route to a 3-12 mark through 15 games. Though the Big Green finished with a 9-20-1 record, players snuck into the playoffs as the No. 8 seed thanks to a four-point final weekend. The Big Green fell in two games to No. 1 seed Clarkson University.

This season, the team has set some lofty goals, which the UNH victory has supported.

“I think we felt really good about the game,” head coach Mark Hudak said. “I think the effort that we put in is really pretty consistent, and consistent for 60 minutes, which is really what we’re looking for. But we also found out there’s a lot of little areas we need to work on.”

The team is hoping to make the NCAA Tournament this winter, which it has not done since the 2010-11 season. To accomplish this goal, the team has set its eyes on the unofficial Ivy League title and an ECAC Championship, Hudak said.

Stacey said she shares this optimism, pointing out that the team has continued to grow.

“I think we have a really good team culture this year,” she said. “I do think it can be a championship year. It’s still really early but anything is possible at this point and I’m really excited for it. I think we just need to keep working and growing, and anything is possible.”

The team returns to the ice Friday at Thompson Arena for a game against Union College and Saturday against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.