Earlier today, Coach Plumer announced UVM’s incoming women’s hockey class. The group includes one goalie, two defenders, four forwards, and one player that can play both forward and D. Let’s meet them! (Sorry on lack of info about certain players, it’s hard to really find data for girls’ hockey…)
Sierra Natzke – Goaltender – Pine, Colorado – Conifer HS/Lansing Spartans
2016/17 Statistics (w/ Lansing): 50 GP – 23-23-3 – 2.17 GAA – .901 SV% – 12 SO
The Catamounts seem to be strong in goal going forward, and the team bolstered its depth in the position with Natzke. While attending Conifer High School, she played club hockey on a coed team in her home state. She then joined Lansing Spartans, where she helped lead the team to a CanAm tournament title, defeating the Madison Capitols girls team 2-1 in triple overtime.
Previously, she played for the Boston Shamrocks in 2015/16. That club just keeps producing UVM players.
Here’s a highlight video from Lansing’s 2-1 win over Shattuck St. Mary’s on January 7. There’s a few other videos of her playing on that channel if you want to do some armchair scouting.
Greta Close – Defender – Norwich, Vermont – Kimball Union Academy (NH)
2016/17 Statistics: Unavailable (let me know if anyone can find something!)
Close brings some leadership to the table, having been a two-year captain for the Wildcats in high school and leading them to a 16-6-2 record her senior year. I can’t find any statistics or video of how she plays, but she did earn a spot on the NEPSAC Division II All-Star Team in ice hockey, and was also an All-Star in lacrosse. She did participate in USA Hockey’s Girls U18 Development Camp in 2016, playing five games but not pointing.
Taylor Flaherty – Defender – Lakeville, Minnesota – Lakeville North HS/Univ. of North Dakota
2016/17 Statistics: 15 GP – 1-1-2 – 4 PIM
Flaherty comes in as a transfer who is immediately eligible after North Dakota shut down their women’s hockey program. In her first two years in Grand Forks, she posted a goal and an assist in 39 games played. Before that, she was a five-year player at Lakeville North, serving as captain in her final year and posting at least 20 points in each of her last three years.
Here is her recruiting video from high school.
Bonus: here’s the video from when she went on Outside the Lines with Bob Ley to discuss the fight to prevent UND from dropping women’s hockey. Her bit starts around the 2:27 mark.
Anna Erickson – Forward/Defense – Stillwater, Minnesota – Minnesota Connections Academy/Madison Capitols
2016/17 Statistics (w/ Madison): 38 GP – 9-5-14 – 14 PIM
According to the UVM Athletics release, Erickson can play forward or defense, and that sort of versatility will really benefit the Catamounts going forward. I’m not sure which she played more in Madison, but based on the lower numbers, I would guess defense (and she was listed as defense on their website). Prior to her time with the Capitols, she spent 2015/16 with the Minnesota Revolution, posting 13 points in 31 games.
Vermont college connection: Her brother Jake helped Norwich win the D-III national title this season.
Valerie Caldwell – Forward – Glenview, Illinois – Loyola Academy/Chicago Mission
2016/17 Statistics (w/ Loyola): Only thing I could find is that she had 27 goals this year. Further info would be appreciated.
Caldwell was a three-time All-State player at Loyola Academy (I’m not sure if it was four as I could not find the info for the 2014 All-State game), and graduates as the program’s all-time top scorer with 112 goals over four seasons. From every article I’ve read, she’s electrifying on the ice (with the Daily North Shore’s Kevin Reiterman stating that “the girl can turn scoring into an art form”) and super enthusiastic off it, which is how she was able to juggle both her Academy duties with her Mission responsibilities. Every one of her four high school seasons saw the Ramblers make the state championship, including a victory in 2016 over Barrington. And the roll on leaders continues, as she captained the team this year.
Like Close, she participated in USA Hockey’s Girls U18 Development Camp in 2016, posting three points in four games.
Here’s an article in the Chicago Tribune about her.
Alyssa Holmes – Forward – Burlington, Ontario – Corpus Christi HS/Stoney Creek
2016/17 Statistics (w/ Stoney Creek): 35 GP – 5-9-14 – 6 PIM
The Provincial Women’s Hockey League is the strongest junior hockey league in Canada, so Holmes was playing against some strong competition on about a league-average team (the Sabres finished 8th in the 20-team league). In her first full season in the league, she finished with on the team in scoring. The year before, on the Midget AA Sabres, she led the team in scoring with 19 points in 22 games. She’s not just a good hockey player though – she was also a letterwinner in soccer, field hockey, track and field, volleyball, and badminton. Talk about a Swiss army knife.
Olivia Kilberg – Forward – Edina, Minnesota – Edina HS
2016/17 Statistics (w/ Edina): 30 GP – 14-19-33 – 6 PIM
High school hockey in Minnesota is like high school basketball in Indiana or high school football in Texas. By that, I mean it’s a pretty big deal. And Kilberg has been to the peak of girls’ high school hockey in Minnesota, winning a state championship with the Edina Hornets last season. In the championship game – a 4-0 win over Blaine – Kilberg scored a goal and added an assist. She was an honorable mention on the Lake Conference All-Conference Team, and was named to the All-Tournament team. All this from a player that, two years earlier as a sophomore, posted 5 points in 31 games. That’s a pretty nice rise, and she will hopefully continue her rise at UVM.
Like Caldwell and Close, she was also at USA Hockey’s Girls U18 Development Camp in 2016, posting an assist in 5 games; in fact, she was actually teammates with Close on Team Purple. Small world.
Kristina Shanahan – Forward – Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec – Pointe-Noire HS/Dawson College
2016/17 Statistics (w/ Dawson): 24 GP – 20-13-33 – 2 PIM
Imagine being a teenager living in suburban Montreal. You have just won a provincial high school championship, and took part in a U18 Team Canada selection camp. You have offers from some of the best academic universities in America – Princeton, Yale, Cornell. And you receive a bursary check from none other than the Montreal Canadiens, and got to accept it from Olympic hockey hero Marie-Philip Poulin. That was Kristina Shanahan’s reality in 2015, and she spent two years at Dawson College before choosing UVM. Last season, she led the Blues in scoring and ranked fifth among players at CEGEPs (pre-university colleges in Quebec; I guess the American equivalent would be junior college), and the top scorer that wasn’t from Cégep Limoilou who had the top four.
Welcome to UVM, everyone! This team is building something special, and we’re glad to have you along.