The Connecticut College women´s hockey team will host three games in Dayton Arena this week.
The Camels will clash with the Crusaders of Holy Cross Tuesday night before hosting Bowdoin Friday and the Colby College Mules in their final home game of the first semester Saturday. The games against Holy Cross and Bowdoin will be played at 7:00 p.m. with the face-off against the Mules scheduled for 3:00 p.m. Saturday.
Under the direction of head coach Kristin Steele, the 2008-2009 Camels enjoyed their best season ever. Connecticut College advanced to the Semifinal Round of the NESCAC Championship for the first time.
"We are excited to build on our success in league last year," Steele said. "We´ve added some scoring finishers up front and considerable size on the blue line without losing our speed."
The Camels will welcome back eight of their top 10 scorers from a year ago and 15 players on the 23 woman roster will return to the team.
"We have the pieces," Steele said. "It will be a matter of how quickly the group comes together."
Steele will turn to captain Brigid O´Gorman and assistant captains Erin Davey, Rachel Lindmark, and Cookie Smith to lead the team over the course of the long 24 game regular season schedule.
As a junior, O´Gorman will hold the title of captain. O´Gorman is a complete two-way player who will be asked to step up her offensive game from the blue line. Her on ice vision coupled with her determined and calm defensive abilities will solidify the blue line.
Davey had a breakout season on the forward line last year, finishing fifth in the NESCAC with a team-high 14 goals for the Camels. Lindmark is another skilled offensive player, who has accounted for 14 goals, 18 assists and 32 points as a Camel. Smith (2-7-9) will enter her second year as a defensive captain and is a calming influence on the team and someone that younger players turn to for guidance as they try to make their adjustments to the college game.
Having players that can play multiple positions is critical during the course of a long season. The Camels have nine players who can defend and that should prove to be beneficial during the team´s stretch drive run in January and February.
Senior Sara Christopher is an experience goalie with the ability to make the challenging save when the game is on the line. In 36 games between the pipes, Christopher has made 1,047 saves for the Camels, averaging 29 stops per outing. Christopher has registered a 2.70 goals against average while posting an impressive .919 save percentage.
The Camels have the talent but they know that it´s their toughness and gritty style of play that will wear NESCAC opponents down during the course of a game. Sophomores Ashleigh Kowtoniuk (5-9-14) and Kate Driscoll (2-7-9) are hard-nosed players that will look to build on their successful rookie seasons.
Juniors Kourtney Brim (1-5-6), Abby Hine (4-3-7), Kelsey Kirker (2-5-7), Rachel Nelson (3-2-5), and Celia Medeiros (5-6-11) should continue to make an impact as they join the upper class ranks.
Senior Sarah Napoli (2-9-11) will join Smith in the defensive corps as an experienced returnee.
First year forwards Ariel DiPasquale (Whitestone, N.Y.) and Samantha Schuffenecker (Oswego, N.Y.) are ready to add some offensive punch to the front line.
Sam Schoeneberger (Vernon, Conn.) has been impressive in the pre-season and should make an immediate impact at both ends of the ice.
November 30, 2009