Women's ice hockey confident about season
It's pretty easy for a hockey team to slip and slide a bit at the start of the season. After all, they're playing on some very slick stuff out there, right?
With pads on shoulders, helmets on heads, and sticks in hand, the women's hockey team opened its season this past weekend with a pair of hefty road losses to Brown and Providence. On Friday, the Bears pummeled the Big Green 12-2, while the Friars saved their 3-2 win for Saturday.
But with these early defeats aside, the players are looking forward to some solid hockey matches in the weeks ahead.
"Obviously the shelling by Brown was something we did not expect, but in many ways it may have been a good thing," Malaika Little '97 said. "I was incredibly impressed by everyone's ability to stay positive and to really focus on playing a great game on Sunday."
Michelyne Pinard '98 said, "The way we bounced back from Saturday's loss to Brown is indicative of the character we have on this squad. Even though we lost on Sunday we played very well. From the drop of the puck we went out hard."
Hitting the ice and playing hard is all part of the Big Green's style. Last season, the women's squad posted a stellar 20-9-3, a record good enough for a second place finish in the conference. On top of that, their 20 wins on the season were the most ever in the school's history.
Alas, this year's team is left with some pretty big shoes, or skates, to fill.
In the back, Dartmouth will have to make up for the loss of last year's star goalie Sarah Tueting '98, who is currently on leave to train with the U.S. National Team. Senior Melissa Siegfried, who had a .954 save percentage last season, is expected to stop the pucks this winter.
"Overall we will miss Sarah Tueting," Pinard said, "but we have a strong nucleus of juniors that should be able to step up to fill the roles left to them by the 96's."
On defense, the Big Green will rely on veterans Amy Coelho '97, Jen Lane '98 and Wendy Soutsos '99 to push the puck up the ice. Freshman Jaime Arndt will also contribute to the Big Green's back line.
Coelho, a selection for the National camp this summer, is expected to be one of the best defensemen in the league.
"Amy has the potential to have an incredible impact this year for us not only defensively, but also by stepping up and playing on offensive," Little said.
Up front, Dartmouth will look to the powerful shot of Sarah Hood '98 to sink the goals. Pinard and Little are also expected to punch the puck.
The forward line of Jess Clark '98, Sarah Halsell '99 and Kathleen O'Keefe '99 will also be a big threat. According to Little, this trio complement each other very well.
"Kathleen played especially well this past weekend," she said. "Halsell has speed on the wing that can match anyone in the league and this line in general is really looking to be effective."
On the whole, the team is confident about its upcoming season.
"We have the potential to beat any team in the nation if we want to," Little said. "The league is simply so even and so competitive anyone can upset anyone on any given day."
The team faces off against Harvard at Thompson Arena on Saturday and then battles Northeastern on Sunday. The puck drops at 3:00 p.m. for both games.