Crossley hurt as Wildcats get ready to take on Penn State
Published: Friday, October 25, 2013
Updated: Friday, October 25, 2013 02:10
UNH women’s hockey defenseman Alexis Crossley will be missing four to six weeks due to upcoming shoulder surgery.
The surgery on her shoulder is expected to relieve “inflammation and pain,” according to UNH coach Brian McCloskey.
“If all goes as planned, she’ll be back for the second half [of the season],” McCloskey said. “And you know we’ll obviously miss her in the interim.”
Crossley has been a part of what’s made the Wildcats successful thus far this season. Despite having a +/- rating of -2, she leads the UNH defensemen in points with three, two goals and an assist.
“She’s a great player, certainly one of our core players,” McCloskey said. “What we’ve got to do is … cover and fill her shoes and continue to get better and win some key games. The focus right now is to try to bridge this gap, and that’s really all you can do. You can’t control the other factors.”
As Crossley is going down for the rest of the semester, second-year freshman forward Jonna Curtis will likely be back in practice next week for the Wildcats. Curtis played five games last season and scored six points before breaking her collar bone and being red shirted for the rest of the year. Prior to joining the Wildcats, she broke Elk River High School’s (Minn.) record for most career points with 280. McCloskey expects this to help UNH stay strong until Crossley comes back around Christmas time.
“As difficult as losing Crossley is, getting Jonna [Curtis] back would be a huge boost because she’s a very skilled player that we’ve missed,” McCloskey said.
UNH’s last game was a 3-1 win over Boston College Wednesday, Oct. 16. BC, nationally recognized as a powerhouse, couldn’t get past the undermanned Wildcats, who went into the game with five defensemen and eight forwards.
Knowing that the Eagles have what McCloskey called “probably the fastest team in the league,” the Wildcats anticipated the need to adjust to their fast paced style. McCloskey said it’s probable that the Eagles didn’t expect the Wildcats to keep up like they did that night.
“Of course, they probably thought they didn’t have to make a lot [of adjustments], speaking about the players,” McCloskey said, “Our kids were defending very well, and I think that frustrated BC.”
UNH scored two power play goals against the Eagles that night. This season the team has scored six times on 29 power plays, giving UNH the best power play in Hockey East right now.
McCloskey sees potential more than accomplishment at this early point in the season.
“I think it’s gotten better, I wouldn’t say it’s really clicking,” McCloskey said. “I think the players are starting to get a real good sense of how they can be effective.”
McCloskey is happy to see that his team has found success on the penalty kill as well. Right now, it ranks fourth in the conference with 31 killed penalties on 36 attempts. Despite this, though, McCloskey is confident that they’ve noticeably improved in the past few weeks. A week ago against BC, they were six for six.
“The penalty kill, which was perfect that night [against BC] has gotten so much better,” McCloskey said. “Our PK percentage isn’t great yet, because we gave up some power play goals that we probably wouldn’t be giving up now or the other.
“You know that’s critical for us, you’re not going to lose a lot of games when you win the special teams battle. You shut the other team down and you go 1 or 2 for five or whatever, you’re going to win on most nights.”
The Wildcats play two non-conference games this weekend on the road at Penn State University (2-3-1 overall). The first game on Saturday gets underway at 7 p.m.