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Freshman Taylar Cianfarano has tallied a team-high six points in her first five games as a Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey forward
After getting off the ice from her figure skating practice, Taylar Cianfarano would go to the bleachers and watch her brother, Dominic, practice hockey.
“My brother would go out on the ice with his team and I couldn’t take my eyes off it, I didn’t want to leave the rink,” Cianfarano said.
That’s when she knew she wanted to play.
Being trained by her mother, Maureen, who was a figure skating coach, Cianfarano was not enjoying the sport she competed in.
“I just had no interest, I was always pouting on the bench,” Cianfarano said.
Cianfarano got the permission from her family to begin playing ice hockey at seven years old. Since then, she’s developed a strong love for the sport.
“I never put the stick down, I just wanted it,” Cianfarano said.
Cianfarano has her brother and father, Jake, to thank for teaching her how to be competitive and go for her dreams.
And before Quinnipiac, the native of Oswego, N.Y. developed quite the resume.
The forward has played two stints for the U-18 U.S. National Team. In 2013, Cianfarano was named assistant captain of the squad for the Summer Series, including the IIHF World Championships, where she recorded six points.
Cianfarano also starred in the 2014 World Championships. She led the entire tournament with six goals and was awarded Most Outstanding Forward of the tournament in the United States’ silver medal performance.
From that tournament, she learned the ability to work hard, and how such a quality makes a difference on the ice.
“I think that I bring that [hard work] to the team, pursuing my goals and hoping to win a national title,” Cianfarano said. “I’ve been looking up to all of the older girls, and asking all the questions I can ask.”
For high school, Cianfarano attended the National Sports Academy in Lake Placid. In the last three seasons at NSA, she recorded consecutive seasons of more than 100 points, including her junior season where she was named to First Team in the USA Today.
In her high school and prep level, Cianfarano learned how to lead by example.
“I was a leader on all of those teams through the work I put in, and now it’s my turn to follow the leaders here,” Cianfarano said.
Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey head coach Rick Seeley speaks highly of both Cianfarano’s talent on the ice and the person she is off it.
“She’s one of those kids that you’re just thankful to have in the program,” Seeley said. “The fact that she is a great person and works hard in the classroom is a bonus.”
Seeley said he knew he had an exceptional talent coming to his team, but that Cianfarano’s eagerness to learn was the best part of the whole situation.
“She wants to be the best player that she can be,” Seeley said. “She is very receptive to the coaches and understands what we are teaching.”
So far, Cianfarano’s eagerness has paid off. Just five games into her collegiate career, Cianfarano has shown the potential of being a real scoring threat for the Bobcats.
The freshman tallied six points for the Bobcats in her first five career games. She has five goals, which leads all of ECAC Hockey.
Kelly Babstock and Erica Uden Johansson are the only other players in program history to score five goals in their first five career games.
In that span, Cianfarano also has three game-winning goals, which leads all of Division I hockey.
“I wouldn’t have the individual success if it wasn’t for them, though” Cianfarano added.
Cianfarano was also named ECAC women’s hockey Rookie of the Week on Tuesday morning.
Seeley added that Cianfarano’s growth since the summer has been immense, which he thinks is a large reason for her abrupt impact.
“We have a great group of girls, and she had a very easy transition into the program,” Seeley said.
And ultimately, Seeley believes Cianfarano can be a scoring threat among the all-time great Bobcats.
“We know that she will be a scoring force for us the next four years, and the fact that she has started this early makes it better for us,” Seeley said.