By Jordan Novack Associate Sports Editor Link to Original
Nothing is more captivating to the Quinnipiac student body than the men’s ice hockey team.
Undefeated in its last 20 outings this season, the women’s team has yet to win fewer than 20 games in a season this decade. With its amazing performance this season (21-1-4), as well as in seasons’ past, the women’s ice hockey team is Quinnipiac’s best sports team, and deserving of far more fan support and general attention than it currently receives.
In 2015-16, the women’s ice hockey team finds itself with a top-five ranking for the second-straight year. The Bobcats are playing as well, if not better, than their male counterparts.
Led by Hobey Baker hopeful Michael Garteig, the male Bobcats are allowing a mere 1.6 goals-per-game this season, the fewest in the nation. Meanwhile the women, led by junior goaltender Sydney Rossman, are allowing an even more paltry 0.87 goals-per-game.
While Garteig has a storied career for the Bobcats and is deserving of all the praise he has earned throughout this season, Rossman has outplayed him. Rossman is 21-1-4 this season, with 11 shutouts and is stopping 95 percent of the shots she faces. Garteig on the other hand is 20-1-5 this year, with six shutouts and is stopping 93.8 percent of shots he faces.
Yet, despite the women’s emphasis on defense, they have proven to be just as lethal offensively as the men’s team. Through their first 27 games, the women are averaging 3.2 goals-per-game on 10 percent shooting. The men’s ice hockey team registered slightly more goals, 3.8 per-game on average, on just three more shots per game.
While the women have played on the same level as the men as a unit, they have individuals playing as well as any player in the country, regardless of gender.
In her first 25 games of the season, sophomore T.T. Cianfarano is leading the way for the Bobcats with 39 points (22 goals, 17 assists), while converting a ridiculous 20.4 percent of her shots.
For comparison, Sam Anas, the leading scorer for the men’s ice hockey team, has 32 points (17 goals, 15 assists) and is converting 16.8 percent of his chances. While Tim Clifton may possess the highest shooting percentage in Quinnipiac hockey this season (23.6 percent), he is doing so with half as many shots and 12 fewer points than Cianfarano.
Helping Cianfarano carry the load offensively for the Bobcats is the most complete athlete in the entire freshman class, regardless of sport. A product of the same high school that brought us Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews, Melissa Samoskevich is playing like a veteran despite only having 27 collegiate games under her belt. In those games, she has seven game-winning goals, including both game-winners over rival Harvard.
While her 27 points (13 goals, 14 assists) are impressive, they don’t tell the full story of her impact. Quinnipiac women’s ice head coach Cassandra Turner has gone to Samoskevich as a defender on several occasions this season as well, and has utilized her on three different forward lines.
The team is flanked by several more talented players. Junior Emma Woods leads both teams with 19 assists. Senior captain Cydney Roesler has been a lock-down defender. Nicole Connery, Nicole Kosta, and Meghan Turner have also been consistent contributors on boths ends of the ice. The women are a deep, threatening team on all four forward lines, as well as all of their defensive lines.
With only six games, four of which are at home, remaining in the regular season, now is the time to jump on the bandwagon. This year’s women’s ice hockey team is something special and everyone should start to take notice of them before it is too late.