Sound the horn

Women’s ice hockey prepares to defend its ECAC title in the 2016-2017 season with a 6-1 win over Guelph in exhibition play

By on September 29, 2016

Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey opened up its season with a 6-1 victory on Sunday against the Guelph Gryphons in an exhibition game at High Point Solutions Arena.

“It felt good to get back out on the ice,” head coach Cassandra Turner said. “Our team worked hard in practice and it showed.”

img_1379Erin Kane | The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Bobcats, No. 1 in the ECAC hockey preseason poll, dominated possession and outshot their Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) opponents 32-7.

Turner took the decisive victory over the outmatched Gryphons with a grain of salt.

“There’s a lot of good things that happened today, but a lot of things we want to clean up like you’d expect at the beginning of the season,” Turner said. “But I’m happy with how people worked to step up and take on bigger roles and just figure out what they can do for the team, so that was a positive thing today.”

Another positive for the Bobcats was the play of sophomore winger Melissa Samoskevich, who tallied two goals and an assist on the afternoon. She lined up on the left wing at center ice to start alongside center T.T. Cianfarano and right wing Meghan Turner.

That first line combined for four of the Bobcats’ six goals and controlled the pace of play for a majority of the time they were on the ice. Cianfarano and Turner registered a goal and an assist each.

“They’re both older players, so they’re both experienced and it’s really fun to play with them,” Samoskevich said of her linemates. “We’re all at the same place because we all play with the same systems, but there’s definitely improvement to do, but overall, proud of us.”

The systems Samoskevich referred to brought success to the Bobcats last year, resulting in an ECAC Hockey Championship, but like any new team, implementing and perfecting the system might take some time.

This is especially the case when six veterans, most notably 100-point scorers Nicole Kosta and Nicole Connery, have moved on and five freshmen are coming in.

The women’s ice hockey Class of 2020 includes forwards Abby Cleary and Kenzie Prater, defensemen Kati Tabin and Allison Roethke and goaltender Abbie Ives.

The freshmen were responsible for three points on the afternoon as Cleary notched a goal with 1:23 remaining in the first. Prater and Tabin each picked up an assist in the game.

While not all of these players may make an immediate impact, Turner does have expectations for them down the road.

“All three of them are good puck movers and are going to bring something in the long run that’s a little bit different and I think for now our goal is to get them playing to our expectations defensively and limiting second shots,” she said.

Turner was also impressed with the play and work ethic of sophomore Kenzie Lancaster. Lancaster suited up for 32 games last year, registering one assist and 11 shots. However, this year could prove to be a breakout season for her.

“What [Lancaster] put into her training the entire season last year and then through the summer is beyond any other athlete I’ve seen,” Turner said. “She has this drive and growth mindset to get better and it really showed… We expect her to do big things for our team this year.”

Lancaster was paired with Prater and captain Emma Woods on the second line and picked up an assist on the season, exhibiting smooth puck control and an ability to set up the cycle for the Bobcats.

Turner is still working out her defensive pairings, but the Bobcats listed two senior-freshman combinations on Sunday’s depth chart. Senior Taryn Baumgardt started with freshman Kati Tabin, and senior Emma Greco shared the blue line with freshman Allison Roethke. Sophomore Kate Mackenzie, along with juniors Alicia Barry and Shannon Cherpak, rounded out the rest of the Bobcats’ defense.

“We’re really feeling out how it’s going to work,” Turner said. “We played seven D today and they played evenly so we’ll watch the video, assess and figure out what is the absolute best for this team.”

The exhibition game served as a chance for Turner to evaluate her team in a game situation and put some of her younger players to the test.

For the players, it offered a chance to get some experience before the regular season and Samoskevich liked what she saw.

“With the new freshmen, we all have the same systems,” Samoskevich said. “So it’s cool to see us all gel together when we play.”

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About Sam DaCosta

Staff Writer
Journalism Major
Twitter: @Sam_DaCosta_9
Class of 2019