In exhibition match, Wildcats display skills
Published: Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 15:02
The UNH women’s hockey team had a tune up game Saturday, Sept. 29, beating Dalhousie University 5-1 in their sole scrimmage game of the year, outshooting the Tigers 47 to 10. After the rout, captain Kailey Chappell said the team is ready for the real deal Friday, Oct. 5, against Syracuse.
“I do [think we are ready],” Chappell said, “Team chemistry on and off the ice is what helps the team, and we seem to have that going for us so far, so it’s really exciting.”
The game was all Wildcats from the drop of the puck.
Jenna Lascelle scored the first goal of the night, getting a break away pass from Chappell at the red line before deking out a lone defender and scoring over the left shoulder of Tiger goalie Zoe Zivolak.
UNH outshot DU 18 to three in the first period, and the momentum never turned back.
DU looked like it might have made a game out of the afternoon when Sarah Robichaud scored a shorthanded goal to make it three to one in the second period. Little over a minute later, however, Jessica Hitchcock scored a powerplay goal for UNH, helping the Wildcats cement the win.
Kristina Lavoie and Megan Armstrong also scored in Saturday’s game.
On the ice were eleven brand new faces to the team. Head coach Brian McCloskey thinks that the team showed signs of having good depth this season, should the chips fall as expected.
“The strength we will have if things fall into place for us is we should be a balanced club,” McCloskey said. “We should get scoring from different people, and we should be really balanced across the board without a big fall off.”
McCloskey liked what he saw from the new players, particularly forwards Jonna Curtis and Sarah Carlson and blueliners Armstrong and Alexis Crossley.
They had strong games Saturday, Curtis with three points, and he expects them and the rest of the new players to have plenty of healthy competition for playing time this season.
“Overall, I thought almost all the freshmen we got in the line or got into the game contributed in one way or another and accounted well for themselves,” McCloskey said. “I think it’s going to be a battle for playing time this year. Lots of competition amongst the players.”
“When it comes down to it, any girl can do any situation at any time,” Hitchcock said of the new depth. “We’re pretty excited about that, because you don’t have to look to the one person. You can look to all 29 of us to get it done.”
Of the new faces, Hitchcock, a junior transfer from Niagra University, shined particularly brightly, scoring two of the five New Hampshire goals and notching an assist. Hitchcock wears a familiar name on her back, her sister Jennifer having been an All American and first team Hockey East all star during her career at UNH.
“I thought she was one of our best players all game, which I’m not surprised,” McCloskey said. “They’re not exactly identical in terms of strengths they have as players, her and her sister, but one common thread is that they’re both very intelligent. I mean, Jen is very smart and Jess is the same, and you can see that. The second goal she scored where she got in behind their D, that was just an intelligent play on her part, so I’m not surprised though. It runs in the family.”
Hitchcock said scoring two goals helped her to break the ice with her new team.
“Yeah, for sure, it’s a nice way to settle in and get used to the team,” Hitchcock said. “It helped a lot to get two goals right off the bat and know that, not that I fit it in, but that it’s going to be an easy transition, all the girls are really welcoming.”
While the Wildcats peppered DU’s goalies with almost fifty shots on net, there were plenty of missed opportunities.
The Wildcats skated circles around the DU players, playing keepaway in their zone for minutes at a time. Many shots were taken from no more than five or seven feet from the goal. Despite this, 42 of the shots on goal were successfully covered up or deflected away by Zivolak and Brittany McMacken. Other shots missed the net completely.
McCloskey credited the DU goaltenders for their performances, despite the loss. Of the missed opportunities, he said he wasn’t frustrated, but he knows that it means there is still plenty to work on right now.