Panthers expecting to build on last season's success
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Plymouth State University women's ice hockey team was picked to finish third in the New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) by the league's coaches as the conference released the results of its annual Preseason Coaches' Poll Wednesday afternoon.
Norwich University, the defending NEHC and NCAA Champions, were the unanimous favorites to repeat as the Cadets collected all nine first place votes to finish with 81 points. The University of Massachusetts Boston came in second with 69 points, while the Panthers, who earned the first home playoff game and first postseason win in program history a year ago, rounded out the top three with 57 points.
Castleton University (54 points) claimed the fourth spot, followed by newcomers Suffolk University (45 points) and Johnson & Wales University (33 points). The University of Southern Maine (28 points) finished seventh in the poll, and Salem State University (26 points) and New England College (12 points) held the final two spots.
Plymouth State will rely on senior goaltender Emelie Lindqvist (Gullerasen, Sweden), who is back between the pipes for the Panthers looking to build on her breakout junior season. An All-NEHC Second Team selection a year ago, Lindqvist was not only one of the best goalies in the conference, but in the nation as well. Her .941 save percentage was tied for 13th in the country, while her 2.07 goals against average was tied for 34th best in all of Division III.
Senior Mackenzie Kennedy (Brea, Calif.) and juniors Sydney Linnick (Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Amanda McPherson (Livonia, Mich.) and Alie Louie (Mount Laurel, N.J.) will anchor the Panthers' defensive unit, expected to be a strength again this season. A year ago Plymouth State sported the second best scoring defense among NEHC competition, allowing just 1.57 goals per game in league contests while posting the second best penalty kill rate (88.7%).
On the offensive side, the Panthers welcome back eight of nine players who finished with more than five points last winter. Leading the way is junior Kailey Jacobs (Westwood, Mass.) who led the team with 16 points (4 goals, 12 assists) a year ago, along with the team's top goal scorers, senior Brooke Maggy (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Linnick, who led the team with six goals apiece.
Plymouth State will also look for goal-scoring ability from another quartet of upperclassmen; senior Kelsey Roy (Livermore, Colo.) and juniors Alexis Fagan (Burrillville, R.I.), Eleanor Hudson (Baltimore, Md.) and Julie Nagel (Canton, Mass.). Each of the four scored at least three goals last season.
The Panthers open up the 2018-19 season with games against a pair of NCAA Division I programs at Hanaway Rink this weekend. PSU hosts Franklin Pierce University on Friday (Oct. 26) at 6:00 p.m., ahead of a contest with Saint Anselm College on Saturday (Oct. 27) at 3:00 p.m.
– 30 –