Returning forwards Erica Uden Johansson and Nicole Kosta will help bolster the strongest Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey team ever, head coach Rick Seeley said via conference call Tuesday morning.
Kosta, a junior forward, was injured during the 2013-14 season, opting to redshirt. Uden Johansson left the Bobcats last season to prepare for the Winter Olympics to play for her native country Sweden.
“Adding them two back to the roster is like adding two monster recruits,” Seeley said.
Uden Johansson has now competed in two Olympics, which can bring nothing but experience to the Bobcats. In her time at Quinnipiac, Uden Johansson has played in 87 career games and has 71 point under her belt. Kosta, meanwhile, has 72 career points in 68 career games.
“It’s the time for enthusiasm, and we definitely have it here,” Seeley said.
Quinnipiac finished fourth in the preseason Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference rankings compiled by the head coaches. The Bobcats finished behind Harvard, Cornell, and defending national champion Clarkson.
Seeley said the team doesn’t take preseason rankings into much consideration.
“We don’t put too much emphasis on ranking, the coaches never get it right where we end up,” Seeley said.
Going into his seventh season at Quinnipiac, Seeley led Quinnipiac to a 22-6-9 record last season. USCHO.com ranked the Bobcats as high as No. 5; a program first.
Quinnipiac will be without all-time scoring leader Kelly Babstock, who graduated last spring. In her four seasons as a Bobcat, Babstock put up 203 points, including 95 goals.
Babstock’s scoring will be missed, but Seeley thinks that some returning players can fill those shoes, including Nicole Kosta and Erica Uden Johansson.
“Kelly helped this program get recognition, but adding those two (Costa and Erica Uden Johansson) will cover the point production,” Seeley said. “We aren’t going into this season with a rest in peace sign cause Kelly left, I think we are stronger than ever.”
The Bobcats also return senior forward Shiann Darkangelo.
Darkangelo finished second on the roster in scoring, points, and assists behind Babstock. This summer, Darkangelo worked at the US Hockey Development Camp and worked on her skills.
“She was consistent for us all of last year and she looks better than ever,” Seeley said.
Quinnipiac also returns senior goaltender Chelsea Laden. Laden started 33 games in her first year as the team’s top netminder, posting a 1.48 goals-against average and saving 92.8 percent of shots in her direction. Laden posted a 19-6-9 record.
Sophomore forward Emma Woods also returns to help bolster the Bobcats scoring attack.
Woods scored 13 goals and added 12 assists on the Bobcats’ first line last year.
Morgan Fritz-Ward, Nicole Connery and Cydney Roesler are also part of Quinnipiac’s key returners.
Fritz-Ward had nine goals and six assists, Connery had six goals and 13 assists and Roesler had three scores and 14 assists in 2013-14.
The Bobcats play the Chinese National team on Saturday at the TD Bank Sports Center, with puck drop slated for 2 p.m.
Quinnipiac’s annual Blue/Gold scrimmage will take place Sept. 27 at the TD Bank Sports Center at 4 p.m., while its first game of the regular season is Oct. 3 against Connecticut at home.