Step in right direction for women’s hockey

By on March 8, 2006

The Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey team had a roller coaster ride of a season in its inaugural year in the ECACHL. The overall goals of the team were not met, but the Bobcats still enjoyed their best season ever.

The team finished 10-18-6 overall and 3-13-4 in the highly-talented ECACHL. The Bobcats’ conference record was good enough for ninth-place, and only the top eight teams in the conference earn a playoff berth.

Despite this disappointment, the Bobcats were able to earn their best winning percentage ever while facing off against more difficult competition than they had in previous seasons.

“Quinnipiac was a far more competitive program this year than any previous year,” head coach Michael Barrett said.

An early-season highlight for Quinnipiac was winning the Nutmeg Classic after tying Yale and defeating UConn for the first time in the team’s History. During the course of this season, the Bobcats also secured their first-ever win over Northeastern.

Early in the season, the team was forced to compete without senior captain Kristin Alcorn, junior forward Natashia Pellatt, as well as freshmen forwards Hayley McMeekin and Elyse Cole. Despite missing these key players, the Bobcats were able to play .500 hockey during that stretch.

Alcorn, junior forward Vicky Graham and freshman forward Antoinette Maldonado were some of the team’s top contributors this year.

Graham bounced back from a disappointing sophomore year to lead the team in goals and points with 14 and 24 respectively. Maldonado led the team in assists with 11.

At the ECAC level, Graham was tied for third in power play goals, tied for 18th in total points and 11th in goals. Maldonado was 10th among ECAC freshmen in points.

The Bobcats entered this season considering splitting time in goal, but as the season progressed, the vast majority of the minutes went to freshman goaltender Connie Craig, who led the nation in minutes played.

Craig holds the school records with a .911 save percentage and 2.75 goals against average. If she continues to play at the pace she set her freshman year, she will also challenge the Quinnipiac career records in saves, shutouts and wins.

The Bobcats will lose three players to graduation – forward Kathryn Dallimore as well as defensemen Kelly Runyan and Erin Sweet.

“Dallimore, Runyan and Sweet are three players with tremendous character and work ethic,” Barrett said.

Next year’s team will include nearly 90% of this year’s scoring production in addition to five the team’s six defenders and its starting goaltender in Craig.

Alcorn will also return for her fourth year of eligibility and is excited about the prospects of next year.

“We’re disappointed that we didn’t make the playoffs, but we’re looking forward to next year,” Alcorn said.

A key for next year will be maintaining a healthy team throughout the season. The Bobcats also hope to add another solid recruiting class to complement the young base of talent that they have already put on the ice.

Next year will also be a landmark season for the program as the team will take the ice in the new athletic center on the Sherman Avenue campus.

The 2005-2006 may not have been a great campaign for the women’s hockey team in the standings. But, by proving they could play competitively in the ECAC, the Bobcats have displayed that the program is on the rise.


About Andy McDonough