Behind the mask
Gilligan has been solid between the pipes for the Wildcats
Published: Friday, February 1, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 16:02
UNH head coach Brian McCloskey had some praise for UNH starting goaltender Jenn Gilligan on her success, which includes recently being selected as January’s Hockey East Goaltender of the Month.
“She has had some really strong performances lately,” McCloskey said. “Certainly as she turned to the club in November, has distinguished as a starter.”
It has not been surprising to the head coach or the staff as to what they were getting from Gilligan when they first recruited her to the club two summers ago.
Despite having a rough freshmen year in net, Gilligan was still able to put up some solid numbers. Gilligan posted a 5-11 record her freshmen year, which included a goal against average of 3.33, one shutout and a saving percentage of .876.
Like anything in life, one must face their obstacles in order to be successful and this proved to be true for Gilligan as she was able to rebound with a strong sophomore season so far.
When asked on why she chose to come to New Hampshire to play women’s ice hockey there was one thing in mind: being able to play for a successful team.
“Well, I came into the familiarity with the long history of success built within this program,” Gilligan said. “So, that was a pretty big factor and this place just felt like home to me.”
Gilligan summarized her journey so far playing in net for the Wildcats as “interesting with some ups and downs”.
The British Columbia native has been seeing a lot more ups this year with her improvement in goal after her experience gained from the 2011-12 season.
This season, Gilligan has been putting up stellar numbers consistently.
Through 12 games, she has posted an overall record of 7-3-1. With not only an impressive record in net, she has also posted strong numbers, such as a save percentage of .918 and a goal against average of 2.07.
In Hockey East play, Gilligan has posted an even more impressive bundle of stats.
She has a record of 5-3 in Hockey East action with a goal against average of 1.88 and a save percentage of .923.
These stats aren’t ignored by the coaching, as McCloskey highlights them as one of the factors to the team’s recent success.
“The league games are huge, and her play in net during them is critical to success,” McCloskey said. “The way she has been performing, she has to be one of the top goalies in the league. When we recruited her, we had hope she would be at this level and she has not disappointed. She went through challenges and fought through those.”
The humble Gilligan doesn’t forget about the great teammates around her despite being brought under the spotlight.
“This year has been a team effort and we have been working hard,” Gilligan said. “I had some maturing to do and this year I just have a ton of confidence in net.”
With only a few games left in the season, Gilligan looks to continue her success as her confidence between the pipes is limitless