Women’s Preview: UVM @ Quinnipiac (2x)

After a strong home opener, UVM women’s hockey now heads on the road for two down in Hamden against Quinnipiac. (Saturday UVM @ QU doubleheader, too, with the women’s game coming right after the men’s!)

The Bobcats are coming off their fifth consecutive 20-win season, going 21-10-6 last season before losing to Princeton in an airtight three-game series in the ECAC tournament. So far this year, they’ve made like a Croatian coastal city and split their first two series (a road series at Maine and a home and home against Providence). Their offense has struggled with just six goals in their 4 games. However, as you’ll see, defense was their MO last year.

Starting at the back, this team had to replace a fairly solid keeper in Sydney Rossman, who graduated after posting a .929 as a senior. Sophomore Abbie Ives backed her up last season with a remarkable .983 (albeit in very limited duty), and has started strong this year with a .947 in the first four games, including a 37 save shutout of a talented Providence team last time out. Her backup is freshman Alison Small, who was shaky in her first start and was subsequently pulled.

The defense sees a mix of youth and experience. Two of their top four from last year have graduated (Taryn Baumgardt and Emma Greco), but the rest return, and are aided by Finnish international Anna Kilponen, a junior who transferred to Q following the shuttering of North Dakota women’s hockey. Junior Kate McKenzie has started strong, while senior Alicia Barry comes off a 10 point junior year and sophomore Kati Tabin has started strong.

The Bobcats did lose some talent up top with the graduation of Emma Woods and Meghan Turner (45 points combined), but a pair of sophomores have come out strong following some freshman struggles. Sarah-Ève Coutu-Godbout posted only 6 points last season and is already halfway to matching that this year while Abby Cleary has already surpassed her freshman point total of 2 (they co-lead the team in scoring at present). Their top two scorers, Taylar Cianfarano and Melissa Samoskevich, both return as well, although the former missed the Providence series.

Games are 7:30 pm on Friday and Saturday. If you’re going to the men’s game Saturday, why not stick around and watch the women? Both will be streamed free on ESPN3.

Go Cats!

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