Consider the puck dropped on the 2018/19 UVM hockey season!
And a pretty fun way to start too. McGill is always a pretty tough opponent for a preseason game (and started their USports season with four wins on the bounce including three shutouts), and this year was no exception.
The Martlets opened the scoring about six minutes into this one, and it came via the power play. Kate Devries placed that shot perfectly, ripping a one-timer top-shelf over the glove of Melissa Black to give McGill the lead.
But UVM were able to respond before the period was out. Saana Valkama took a shot from the high slot that hit something before beating Tricia Deguire. It looks like that “something” was a McGill defender, but give Kristina Shanahan credit too on providing good net-front traffic.
Second period means a goalie change, and freshman Blanka Škodová took to the pipes for her college debut and pitched the lone shutout period on the afternoon. The Catamounts went ahead early in the period, as freshman Theresa Schafzahl made her first contribution, setting up a bomb of a shot from Shanahan from the slot.
The third period means another goalie change, as Sierra Natzke got to close this one. Early in the third, McGill got the game tied up again. Jade Downie-Landry with a sweet move to beat Anna Erickson, setting up a two-on-one with Lea Dumais, who tapped home a great feed from Downie-Landry to tie it up.
Midway through the period, UVM would take the lead for good, and it was a case where a bounce went the right way. Abby Cleary tried to send one cross-ice, but it deflected off a McGill defender…right to Sammy Kolowrat, who blasted one past Deguire with Shanahan again being a nuisance in front of the net.
So that’s the scoring summary. Some other thoughts:
- The preseason exhibition isn’t about winning or losing, but chemistry, cohesion, adapting to play style, and getting up to game speed. So the win, while nice, isn’t really a priority.
- That said, I really liked that Cleary-Shanahan-Valkama line. Adding an impact freshman like Schafzahl to the top line will help spread the scoring around, I think.
- The goaltending battle will be interesting. I think Natzke earned some starts with her third period play.
- Sammy Kolowrat looked amazing. She looked faster than ever, and I think her veteran presence will help Maude Poulin-Labelle on that top pairing.
- Speaking of the blueline, for how young it was, it looked pretty dang solid. I think Anna Erickson will fit better there than she did at forward.
- Again, this is just preseason, so try not to overreact even if I may be doing so. The real stuff starts next weekend against a UConn team that’s already played two games.
- Given how many times UVM was outshot last year, though, it’s nice to have outshot someone right out of the gate, especially a pretty good team like McGill.
The Vermont Hockey Blog Three Stars of the Game
- Sammy Kolowrat (UVM) – She’s going to be massively important this year, and she started on the right foot, with a solid all-around game and a game-winning goal.
- Kristina Shanahan (UVM) – A goal, an assist, and a role in the one goal she didn’t point on. I think she’s primed for a jump this year.
- Saana Valkama (UVM) – Also had a goal, and was active all night. That line could be something with a little more end product.