Panthers excited to kick off 2017-18 campaign
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Plymouth State University women's ice hockey team was picked to finish sixth in the New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) in 2017-18, as voted on by the league's eight head coaches.
Norwich University, the reigning NEHC Champions, were a unanimous selection to repeat as the Cadets earned all eight first place votes. The University of Massachusetts Boston was picked second, while Castleton University was third.
The University of New England ranked fourth, with the University of Southern Maine picked just ahead of Plymouth State. Salve Regina University and New England College held the bottom two spots in the poll.
The Panthers finished last season with an 8-16-2 overall record (4-12-1 NEHC) in head coach Mykul Haun's first year at the helm.
PSU will kick off the 2017-18 slate at home on Saturday, Oct. 28 (6:00 p.m.) when SUNY Canton makes the trip to Hanaway Rink. Following that the Panthers head straight into NEHC play with a stretch of six-straight league games starting with a home series against Southern Maine (Nov. 3, 6:00 p.m.) and UNE (Nov. 4, 2:00 p.m.).
Haun welcomes back six of the top seven scorers from last winter. Senior Shannon Hickey (Arlington, Mass.) finished with 15 points (seven goals, eight assists), while sophomore Alexis Fagan (Wakefield, R.I.), last year's top goal scorer, finished with nine goals and five assists. PSU will also look to the vision of sophomore Caitlin Connor (Bow, N.H.) who led all Panther skaters with 10 assists.
Haun also expects big things from his four captains, senior Courtney Evans (Fairbanks, Alaska), junior Kelsey Roy (Ft. Collins, Colo.) and junior alternates Taylor Jackson (St. Albans, Vt.) and Brooke Maggy (Alhambra, Calif.).
"I feel like this is one of the strongest leadership groups we've had here in a long time," said Haun. "We have a good balance of leadership qualities – some quiet, some vocal – they set the tone. The vibe around the arena, the excitement for the first week, is really stronger than it has been in the past."
Haun will have options when it comes to goaltending. Junior Emelie Lindqvist (Gulleråsen, Sweden) and senior Mariah Trupp (Topeka, Kansas) split time in goal last year, and freshman Alex Rajsigl (Tecumseh, Ontario) will compete for ice time as well.
"A starter hasn't been determined at this point," said Haun, "because all three have been competing well. All of them will get opportunities until one separates herself from the group."
Incoming freshmen Amber Thomas (Cornwall, Ontario), Sid Thompson (Glastonbury, Conn.), Lauren Van-Martin (Abbotsford, B.C.) and Kaitlyn Shrode (Craig, Colo.), along with junior transfer Hannah Elmer (Chicopee, Mass.), are expected to bring depth to the group.
Haun also has two new additions to the coaching staff; Assistant Coach and Goalie Coach Briar Bache and Assistant Coach Sam Lee. "I'm thrilled about the additions we've made to our staff," said Haun. "They both bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the program."
"The team and the coaches are all really excited about where we are as a team," added Haun.
2017-18 NEHC Preseason Coaches' Poll
(First Place Votes in Parentheses)
|4||Univ. of New England||40|
|8||New England Coll.||10|
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