The Quinnipiac University women’s ice hockey team is starting their second year of varsity play with a new coach and an optimistic outlook.
Incoming head coach Michael Barrett was a standout player for the Quinnipiac men’s hockey team during his four years of collegiate play from 1981-1985. Barrett is a member of the QU Athletic Hall of Fame and was inducted in 1990.
The Bobcats will not be a member of any conference this season. Instead, they will join North Dakota as an independent team in Division I. Last season the team was a member of the ECAC. However, in the off-season, Maine, Connecticut, Boston College, Northeastern, New Hampshire and Providence broke off and formed the Women’s Hockey East. Although not a member of the conference, Quinnipiac is playing a tough schedule that includes the powerhouses that make up the Hockey East.
Also on the schedule are trips to Minnesota and North Dakota to play MSU-Mankato, University of North Dakota, and St. Cloud State. The Bobcats will also take on local rivals Yale and Sacred Heart.
The Bobcats will host Sacred Heart for the first time and will play Yale in a two game series, one on home ice at the Northford Ice Pavilion and one in New Haven.
Captains Liz Jankowski, Caitlin Peters, and Serena Hillman are set to lead the front line on the ice. Jankowski was the team’s top scorer last season with ten goals and 16 points. Peters led the team with 11 assists.
In addition to the three captains are returning forwards Gillian Gallagher, Laura Magenheimer and Debbie Beaudoin. Gallagher scored six goals last season while Beaudoin added five points on two goals and three assists. Magenheimer scored the game-winning overtime goal in the 3-2 decision over MSU-Mankato last season.
Four freshmen joined the mix as well. Kristi Alcorn, Kathryn Dallimore, Katie O’Hara and Kelly Runyan were all influential members of their last teams and add great depth to the Quinnipiac front line.
The Bobcats are looking forward to a strong defense to help them improve on last seasons 3-27-2 record. Sophomores Jayne Riley and Meg Young count on plenty of playing time along with the five new freshman recruits.
Candace Boyles, Sarah Campbell, Jane Claflin, Jessica Schilling and Erin Sweet add plenty of depth and skill to the Bobcats defensive line.
The strong defense will be helpful, but senior goaltender Mel Courtemanche should have no problems stopping anything that slips past her team members. Courtemanche was just 14 saves short of 1,000 last season, had a .892 save percentage and led all Division I goaltenders with 986 total saves.
Helping Courtemanche between the pipes is returning sophomore Catherine Lapare. Lapare played in eight games last season, but has the skill to figure into more contests this season.
Barrett, a 1985 graduate of Quinnipiac, comes to the Bobcats after a two-year tenure as the head coach of the Sacred Heart women’s ice hockey team. Prior to that position, he was an assistant coach for the Quinnipiac men’s hockey team from 1985-1991.
The Bobcats opened their season against University of New Hampshire, nationally ranked Number 9, last weekend. The first contest was an impressive start for Quinnipiac, who opened the scoring with a tally from Gallagher in the first period. Young added one in the first, while Gallagher put another one in the net in the third period. Quinnipiac eventually fell to the Wildcats 5-3.
The second game of the weekend was not as successful for the Bobcats. UNH scored three goals in the first 5:17 of the game and added two more to make it 5-0 at the end of the first period.
Courtemanche made 41 saves in the contest, which ended with a score of 10-0.
The Bobcats return to action this weekend against the University of Connecticut, first at the Northford Ice Pavilion and then visiting the Huskies in Storrs.