Archive for category: Features

Sydney Rossman watches the puck in her zone vs Dartmouth 12/4/15

Sydney Rossman watches the puck in her zone vs Dartmouth 12/4/15

By Jordan Novack, Associate Sports Editor         Link to Original

Few positions are more important to a hockey team than the goaltender. The goalie is captain of the defense and the player that has the most direct outcome on the final score. Having a good goalie is essential for any team that wishes to be successful. And in order to be a good goalie, you need to possess a high I.Q.

For Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey goalie Sydney Rossman, her intelligence has helped her find success both between the posts and in the classroom.

Rossman, a junior marketing major from Minnesota, graduated high school as part of the national honor society and has been named to the All-ECAC Academic Team in both her freshman and sophomore seasons at the collegiate level.

Rossman says while hockey is her passion, it is her academics that drive her, and that a desire for a good education is what would eventually bring her to Quinnipiac.

“Academics is huge. We are all students before we are athletes,” Rossman said. “I originally heard about Quinnipiac because of hockey, but it was the academic reputation that won me over.

Despite the chances of playing professionally now being an option following the inaugural season of the National Women’s Hockey League, Rossman wants to pursue a job based on her degree following graduation.

“After college, there is the opportunity to play in the [National Women’s Hockey League] now for women and the chance to go overseas, but ultimately my goal is to graduate with a good degree and have a good job.”

Quinnipiac head coach Cassandra Turner feels that Rossman’s intelligence has been a key for the goaltender’s transition to the college game.

“She, in the classroom, has high personal expectations for herself, and I strongly believe when you carry those high expectations in the classroom, they will carry over onto the ice,” Turner said. “I think her ability to think and learn in the classroom is a consistent skill she has on the ice as well. She knows how to help herself get better, which is tremendous.”

While Rossman has always been an impressive student, her impressive goaltending skills are what drew the attention of the Bobcats’ recruiting staff. Over her four seasons playing for Minnetonka High School, Rossman allowed an average of 1.13 goals per game, and went 55-10-2 on the way to winning three AA state championships for the Skippers. Additionally, Rossman was named the top goalie in the state of Minnesota during her senior year.

Despite not starting immediately, Rossman was able to demonstrate her on-ice IQ and her desire to improve during her first two seasons on campus as she sat behind former goaltender Chelsea Laden, who has graduated and now plays for the Connecticut Whale of the NWHL.

Due to Laden’s presence, Rossman was limited to 12 appearances in two seasons, with only six of those coming as starts. In those games, Rossman was still impressive, as she went 4-0-1 with a 93.3 percent save percentage and allowed an average of 1.21 goals per game.

While the number of appearances was a small sample size, they were all games of large importance. Rossman shut out then No. 8 ranked Clarkson on Valentine’s Day, and started the program’s first national tournament game against Harvard on March 14th. While the team would go on to lose to Harvard, Rossman describes the game as a chance to grow as a team.

“I wish we got the result that we wanted to, but it was a learning experience,” Rossman said. “It helped me and my teammates learn what it takes to not only compete, but win at that level, so hopefully we will get there again this year and know what we will need to do.”

Rossman credits her time playing behind Laden during her first two seasons as preparing her for taking over as the Bobcats’ starter.

“Playing behind Chelsea I really learned a lot because we really pushed each other, so even though I wasn’t starting in games, I was getting that much better every day in practice,” Rossman said. “We both knew that whoever was playing, the main thing we wanted was for our team to be successful, so I would always cheer her on during her starts, and she would do the same during mine.”

Despite playing well in her limited game time the last two seasons, many wondered how Rossman would handle the transition to top choice goalie. Thus far, as the season has progressed Rossman has begun to make a name for herself around the country.

In her 17 starts this season, Rossman has gone 13-1-3, allowing 1.10 goals per game, the third fewest in the nation, as well as stopping .939 percent of shots she faces. Additionally, Rossman has five shutouts this season, including a program-record streak of 296:42 minutes without allowing a goal.

Sydney Rossman prepares for a face off vs Dartmouth 12/4/15

Rossman’s stellar play has earned her national praise. She was named the ECAC goalie of the month as well as the Quinnipiac woman’s athlete of the month for the month of November. Rossman has also been named the ECAC goalie of the week three times this season. This smooth transition of Rossman’s has been a major key to the Bobcats being ranked 4th nationally.

For Laden, there never a doubt that Rossman would be a successful starter for the Bobcats.

“[Rossman] was ready to play hockey from early in her hockey career, and she is still one of the best goaltenders I have ever seen or played with,” Laden said. “One of the most important traits she has is her work ethic. She works her butt off every day at the rink, and it pushed me to become a better goalie.”

Similar to Laden, Turner knew that with Rossman’s attitude and work ethic it was a matter of time until Rossman was one of the top starters in the ECAC. For this season, Turner and Rossman have worked on molding the junior into what the team defines as a “championship goaltender.”

“We talk about making key saves, like right after we score, or right after we get scored on. On the penalty kill, they are your best penalty killer,” Turner said. “A championship goalie is someone who can change the momentum, or save the team when they are needed and she has done that this year. I think about many big games and moments this year, and she has been there for us.”

One area in which Rossman has consistently showed up for the Bobcats this season is in overtime. In their 17 games, the Bobcats have had five games reach overtime. After tying in their first four overtime games, Rossman stopped 21 of 22 total shots and help the Bobcats win their first OT game 2-1 over rival Harvard on Dec. 5th. Rossman described what she does to prepare herself when she knows overtime is looming.

“Overtime is interesting because anything can happen in those five minutes, so I go into overtime like we have nothing to lose,” Rossman explained. “By doing that, it helps me stay focused on making every key save, and on at least helping my team get a tie. If they can score that is great, but as long as I don’t let one in I can help my team leave with one point in the standings.”

While Rossman is taking strides in the right direction, both she and Turner feel the junior has room to improve before reaching championship goaltender status.

“We need her save percentage to continue to improve, and our team defense to improve, but she is hungry to accomplish it,” Turner said. “Her hunger and desire to get better is contagious, and can prove to be something that pushes our entire team to get better.”

Another area of difficulty for Rossman is maintaining full concentration during a game, despite not always facing many shots. With the Bobcats currently allowing 18.5 shots per game, Rossman will sometimes go long stretches of the game without being called into action.

To help become accustomed to this, Rossman reached out to men’s ice hockey goalie Michael Garteig for advice.

“I talked to [Garteig] about how to stay focused in games when there aren’t as many shots, because he knows how hard it can be,” Rossman said. “I got a system of breaking the game down into five minute increments from him, as well as counting every shot that goes in on me, including the ones during practice.”

Should Rossman hope to make that last step to the championship goaltender status, she would be wise to heed the advice Garteig, Laden, and Turner have passed down to her.

Yet, with the desire to improve and win that Rossman has showed in the past, as well as the flashes of greatness she has displayed this season, Quinnipiac is optimistic that its junior goaltender can help the program achieve its ultimate goal of winning a National Championship.

By Jordan Novack, Associate Sports Editor                Link to Original

Last season, Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey had its most successful season in program history. After going 26-9-3, and winning the ECAC Hockey regular season title, the Bobcats would go on to lose to Harvard in the national tournament. Despite the success, Quinnipiac would undergo a coaching change on Apr. 9, as officials from the school approached former coach Rick Seeley with several allegations, including that he had yelled at a student on the hockey team and grabbed her by her helmet chin strap.

Following the dismissal of Seeley, Cassandra Turner would be named the interim head coach, and has since been named full-time head coach.

Instead of having the change in leadership be a transitional period for the team, the Turner era has gotten off to a smooth start as the Bobcats are currently 4-0-1 on the season. For Turner, success is like second nature, as she has achieved it since her playing career at Brown.

During her four-year stint with the Bears, Turner won two Ivy League and two ECAC championships, as well as appearing in two NCAA Tournament National Championship games. Turner credits her time playing at Brown under head coach Margaret Murphy as what laid the foundation for her coaching style.

“[Murphy] really taught me how to get the most out of myself and find ways to reach further, and really challenge myself to not only be the best player I can, but to be the best person I can be,” Turner said. “It is that fundamental identity that she instilled into that program that there is always more, that has most helped shape who I am as a coach.”

Turner also credits Murphy for guiding her and fellow teammate, and current Princeton assistant, Cara Morey toward becoming coaches.

“[Murphy] used to make jokes during my time there all the time calling [Morey] and I coaches in training, and would include us in on conversations that you would usually not include your players in, like ‘How would you defend this faceoff?’ or ‘What would you do in this situation?’” Turner explained. “I really enjoyed thinking about the game that way, so my coaches–even when I was a player–were asking me to take on added responsibilities.”

Turner said the extra responsibilities would finally help her realize she wanted to be a coach. The main experience Turner credits is when the Brown coaching staff entrusted her to teach a teammate, who had played for the US National team as a forward, how to become a defender.

Photo Courtesy of Quinnipiac Athletics

Photo Courtesy of Quinnipiac Athletics

While the emergence of Turner may have surprised a few people, Quinnipiac Director of women’s ice hockey operations Paul Nemetz-Carlson has been one of Turner’s biggest advocates. A member of the Quinnipiac coaching staff for 13 years over two tenures, Nemetz-Carlson would give Turner her first coaching job, as a graduate assistant, at Division III Elmira College while Nemetz-Carlson was the head coach.

While at Elmira, Turner would again be a part of success, as the Soaring Eagles would reach a national semi-final, as well as win a Division III national championship. Nemetz-Carlson feels that Turner’s coaching instincts have been present since this inaugural coaching job,

“Her personality, her ability to connect to people, be it motivate or push them, or even her pedigree as a player, both during her career for Brown and with the Canada international team, all spoke in great volume about her,” Nemetz-Carlson said. “Not all great players become great coaches though, but everyone who spoke to Cass could tell you how different she was, and how differently she looked at the game than most people.”

Turner’s skill as a coach, especially on the defensive end, has been apparent throughout her tenure with Quinnipiac. This was especially prevalent last season, as a Turner-led defense would allow a mere 45 total goals throughout the season, the fewest in all of Division I hockey.

“Not only did we have the fewest goals in the nation, we allowed 100 fewer shots than any other team in the country,” Turner said. “We really stress holding onto possession, how we attack, and working on getting the puck back quickly.”

Turner attributes the team’s stringent defense to the attention to detail her players possess, as well as the culture of the locker room.

“It isn’t just me either, we will be between periods and I will hear girls on our team saying ‘come on everyone, zero shots allowed for the period,’ and whenever you have players that will take that on to themselves, you know you are in a good place with a winning culture.”

One way in which Turner instills this attention to detail in her players is by preaching the importance of hustle stats. Turner discussed the importance the team places on winning each period as its own game, measuring shots allowed vs shots taken, and keeping the team’s penalty minutes for the game under six total minutes.

“It was really cool to average six minutes or fewer of penalties per game a couple of seasons ago. It was an NCAA record previously, then we squashed it, when we averaged 4.3 penalty minutes per game over all of last season,” Turner said. “That number seems unattainable now, but if we keep our penalty minutes under six, and maintain our penalty kill, which is over 90 percent, we should find similar defensive success this season.”

A key area in which Turner has been able to aid the team in reaching these unheralded levels of success, is in her skills as a recruiter. Since taking over as the program’s recruiting director, Turner has been directly involved with the recruitment of 13 players who have gone on to win All-ECAC honors, such as captain Cydney Roesler.

While playing under Turner for Hockey Canada, Roesler was given a two week crash course in Turner as both a person and a coach over the two week tournament. Roesler said Turner’s enthusiasm to not only win, but to make everyone around her better was the major driving force that led Roesler to Hamden.

While working against Turner at Yale and then with Turner at QU, Nemetz-Carlson has seen Turner both as an ally and as an enemy when it comes to recruiting. Carlson described how Turner has a way of showing recruits how much she cares about them.

“She has a tremendous emotional intelligence that really helps her connect with people, and understand their needs,” Nemetz-Carlson said. “Her ability to articulate a vision for what we are trying to do has been really successful. With that competitive nature, it has helped us attract top tier players who are a good fit for the program both on and off the ice.”

Nemetz-Carlson went on to explain that the main quality that everyone in the program shares, is a dedicated vision of working hard, and winning the national championship that has thus far alluded them.

Roesler also described the perception her and her teammates have of Turner, both as a coach and as a mentor.

“Everyone knows that Cass understands so much about hockey, that we appreciate every piece of advice she gives us. It helps because every day we know as players we are going to get better under her,” Roesler said. “Off the ice, she is someone we can open up to and get along with. She is very big on having a very good relationship both on and off the ice, and I think that is really going to help us with chemistry both on and off the ice.”

So far through the team’s first five games, you could hardly tell there was a coaching change this offseason. Turner talked about what has made her transition so seamless and “fun,” but also pointed out where she wants improve.

“I am truly honored to have this position, and humbled to be a part of a program like this,” Turner said. “The support we have in terms of not only financial backing but in people makes the transition so easy and fun, and has put me in a place to be successful immediately.”

As for the rest of the season, Turner’s goal for the team is for them to figure out how to play their best hockey each day. Along the way to achieving this goal, Turner believes the team’s true potential will reveal itself, although she admits there are lofty goals in their crosshairs.

“There is no question our kids want to win a championship, and that is their goal,” Turner said. “As we progress, the first thing they want is an ECAC regular season championship, and from there we will see where it goes.”

By Jordan Novack, Associate Sports Editor                Link to Original

There are few more decorated freshman in college hockey this season than Melissa Samoskevich.

A 5-foot-4 winger with a fierce left-handed shot, Samoskevich possesses insane amounts of natural talent. From her burning speed, her ability to use her body to protect the puck, and a viciously quick release, the Connecticut native has all of the natural abilities to be an offensive force at the collegiate level.

In her young career, Samoskevich has shown a penchant for using these skills. An alumna of Minnesota’s Shattuck St. Mary’s, whose hockey program has standout alumni including Sidney Crosby, Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Toews, Samoskevich scored 94 points (56 goals, 38 assists) in her 50 career games. That total was a full 40 points more than any of her other teammates. While in Minnesota, she served as captain of a Sabre’s team who boasted 16 fellow Division one hockey commits.

Another place that Samoskevich has shined is when she played for the United States national team. Throughout her tenure playing for the U.S., Samoskevich has shown great versatility, thriving as both a defender and as a forward in various competitions. As part of the 2015 U.S. under-18 World Championship team in Buffalo, Samoskevich’s tournament-high six goals and two assists would help lead the team to a gold medal. Following the tournament, she was named to the Media All-Star team.

Jordan Novack|Quinnipiac Chronicle

Jordan Novack|Quinnipiac Chronicle              Samoskevich carries the puck against Colgate 11/06/15

Samoskevich would continue her international duty this past summer. She was named an alternate for the national team’s camp, and eventually would play for the u22 team in the August festival. Samoskevich and Quinnipiac head coach Cassandra Turner both credit this summer of international hockey for helping her have an easier transition to the speed and style of college hockey.

“She is processing things very well, and I think it is a product of her having experiences playing at elite levels,” Turner said. “The biggest difference I think was this summer, for her to have had the opportunity to go to the under 22 national team camp, and compete with girls who have been playing in college already, and to be the only player who hasn’t played in college yet, to be on that team, she had to raise her standard of excellence, and to raise her play.”

Following such a decorated high school and international career, many top tier universities took notice of Samoskevich. Storied programs such as Minnesota, Boston College and Wisconsin offered her scholarships. Yet, she was able to tell immediately that the best school for her was the one closest to home.

“It would have been great to play for a big name school, but for me Quinnipiac is a big name,” Samoskevich said. “Just stepping on campus it instantly felt like home, and the advice I was given was that when you find the right school you will get ‘that’ feeling so I knew this was the place for me. So while I liked the other schools, I knew this was the right fit.”

Despite already leaning toward coming closer to the east for college, following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the Sandy Hook native knew she wanted to play closer to home and her family.

“I knew I wanted to come closer to home, and that I wanted to play on the east coast. I have a brother and sister, who are twins, that had aged out [of the school] that year, and it was really hard for me, because I never got to see them when I was in high school.” Samoskevich detailed.

“It is awesome to get to see them now, because I get to go to see them whenever, and I can go to all of their games. So the Sandy Hook thing really affected us, but in a way that it really brought us all together, and coming home has really helped.”

On the ice, Samoskevich has had a very smooth transition through her first few games. Playing on the second line alongside Emma Woods and former u18 teammate T.T Cianfarano, the trio has been the Bobcats most lethal offensive weapons to start the season.

In the first four games, their line accounted for eight of 13 goals scored. Samoskevich has a goal and five assists on the season.

Samoskevich credits the similar styles of her, Woods and Cianfarano as the key to their early chemistry.

“I think we are all the same player, which has really helped us all out. Off the ice, we all click. I sit next to Woods in the locker room, which is cool because she is our assistant captain and I really look up to her, ” Samoskevich explained. “On the ice, no matter what, there is no screwing around. Whenever we are doing drills we talk about the minor details, and what we need to focus on. We are all creative players who know how to play off each other, and so far it has been awesome.”

As for Cianfarano, she feels the chemistry between the girls is so natural it occurred nearly instantly.

“I actually played with [Samoskevich] with the U.S. u18s, and even though I didn’t play on a line with her, I knew a lot about her, she’s a great girl. When I found out she was coming to Quinnipiac, I was really excited for her to come here, and [Coach Turner] thought we would play well together,” Cianfarano said. “I enjoy playing with her; the chemistry is all natural. You don’t even have to talk, the puck is just always where it needs to be.”

A sophomore who came into Quinnipiac with tons of accolades in her own right, Cianfarano knows plenty about living up to hype. She was the Bobcats leading scorer as a freshman. Now, Cianfarano has saught after taking her new teammate under her wing to ensure Samoskevich has a debut campaign as successful as her’s was last year.

“She came in for summer school, and again [Coach Turner] said we would be a good fit together, so I kinda threw her underneath my wing, and I learned a lot from her, and she learned a lot from me,” Cianfarano said. “She asks a lot of questions which is good. I think ever since she has just been building and learning off it, and she is a better player than she is a year ago, a week ago, even yesterday.”

For Coach Turner, Samoskevich’s seamless transition both on and off of the ice has not come as a surprise.

“Melissa is the type of person that fits into a group immediately. She is fun, personable and really looks after those around her. She didn’t miss a beat, and was instantly a part of this team,” Turner explained. “Clearly she is a really talented hockey player, but this is why we were so excited to have her be part of the team. She has great character and really puts the team first.”

Samoskevich, who originally committed to Quinnipiac while Rick Seeley was still the coach, loves the style of Turner, the new coach. Samoskevich credits the atmosphere that Turner and the coaching staff create, as making her time in Hamden so pleasureable thus far.

“Coach Turner is awesome. I get along with all of my teammates, but I knew I would going in because of the type of person [Coach Turner] looks for. One of the main characteristics they look for is how they will fit in with our community.” Samoskevich said. “I love playing for Coach Turner.”

Despite this being her freshman season, Woods feels that Samoskevich has fit right into the team, and plays beyond her age.

“She doesn’t even seem like she’s a freshman,” Woods said. “She’s really comfortable around the other girls, and is already being asked to play a large roll, and leads by example. She’s a great leader for the other freshman, and even some of the older girls. She is a really great hockey player.”

Despite only being on a line together for the last two weeks, Woods has also noticed playing alongside Samoskevich brings out the best in her game.

“Just knowing her skill level, it makes me want to play a bigger role with her,” Woods explained, “It makes me work harder, because I know what level she is at, and it makes me want to work to get there with her.”

As for the rest of the season, Turner has conservative expectations for her young forward, despite the hot start.

“She is in a good position right now,” Turner said. “Whenever she scores and contributes it is a bonus, we are not putting pressure to be that kid right now. Between players like T.T Cianfarano, Emma Woods, Nicole Connery, and Nicole Kosta, we have people who can put the puck in the net.”

Turner believes that Samoskevich’s main goal for the season should be acclimating to the style of the college game.

“That time will come when there will be an expectation for score, but for now our expectation is for her to play college hockey hockey at our level and our pace, as well as to play from the defensive side of the game to our expectations.”

While the season might still be early, Melissa Samoskevich is well on her way to exceeding those expectations, and becoming a force for Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey.


By Jordan Novack, Associate Sports Editor                Link to Original

For women’s soccer freshman Nadya Gill, the transition to college athletics has gone without an issue. In fact, it’s gone better than she might have imagined.

“Despite coming a long way from home, I have had a very easy time adapting to college,” Gill explained. “My teammates and coaches are like my family, and any problem I have had so far they have been able to help me figure out.”

The Toronto native, who won’t turn 18 years-old until Sept. 26, has scored three goals in her first five collegiate starts. All three of her goals were game-winners.

Despite her individual success, Gill is quick to pass the acclaim off to others.

“All of my success starts with the play of my teammates. They are so helpful communicating and [coach Dave Clarke] did an amazing job teaching us the system we play in so it has been effortless,” Gill said. “Our build-up play really begins with [Natalia Grodzki] in goal, works its way up through our talented midfield, and I am just lucky to be able to be up top and finish it.”


Jordan Novack|Quinnipiac Chronicle                                 Gill runs towards the goal vs Siena 10/28/15

For Gill, this isn’t her first time making an instant impact for her team.

In 2013, at just 15, Gill played a major part in helping Team Canada bring home silver from the U17 CONCACAF tournament. In the tournament, the top teams from North and Central America, as well as from the Caribbean compete for a place in the World Cup.

Despite never starting for the team, Gill scored a goal in each of her four relief appearances. This time playing for the national team is an experience Gill will never forget.

“Having that experience playing for my national team was incredible, and really helped prepare me for many of the things I am dealing with now that I am at [Quinnipiac] University,” Gill said. “The feeling of playing and representing your country and knowing you have an entire nation of people is an incredible experience not many people get to have, and I feel beyond lucky to have experienced that in my life.”

It was this time playing for the national team that eventually put Gill on Quinnipiac’s radar. When it came to choosing schools, education was something that Gill really focused on.

“Nadya was a player we noticed in the Canadian national program as being undecided, but interested in coming to the United States,” Clarke explained. “When it came to her school, she wanted an Ivy League or somewhere very well respected because she wants to study law.”

With the school meeting Gill’s criteria, Clarke would use his connections in United States soccer to open the conversation with her and her national team coach.

“We reached out and talked to both her and her U17 coach, Brian Rosenfeld,” Clarke said. “And then she visited, took a look at the school, did some research and everything just fell into place.”

Gill has had instant success in her short tenure in a Bobcat uniform, but it isn’t a surprise in the eyes of coach Clarke.

“When you look historically at the best players in the history of the program—Furtuna Velaj, Sarah Lawler—they are all international players who hit the ground running,” Clarke explained. “When a good player is good, there is never an issue.”

“Like with Matt Peca and Sam Anas in hockey, if you are a good player you are a good player, and Nadya is a very good player.”

By Jordan Novack, Staff Writer                Link to Original

There are few challenges more daunting than following in the shoes of a legend.

After losing Borja Angoitia, who graduated last year, many people are wondering how men’s soccer will replace the reigning Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Goalie of the Year.

“I don’t feel any pressure taking over for Borja [Angoitia], I’m here to make my own legacy,” Henry said. “While [Angoitia] was great and made major contributions to this team, I am the one wearing the No. 1 jersey and the gloves now, so whatever happens now is up to me.”Through his first three games of 2015 transfer Triston Henry looks well on his way to creating his own name as Quinnipiac netminder.

Henry looks well prepared to start a great career of his own in Hamden. At 6-foot-1, Henry possesses blink-of-an-eye quickness and the vocal ability to control the Bobcats’ defense. His playing style, as he puts it, is inspired by his favorite player: Juventus F.C. goalie and captain Gianluigi Buffon.

Nick Solari|Quinnipiac Chronicle

Nick Solari|Quinnipiac Chronicle

And looking past his skills on the field, Henry also has shown the ability to be a central part of a winning team. In his two seasons at Herkimer County Community College, he led the Generals to back-to-back National Championship victories. Henry’s true prowess in net was evident during the 2013 season, in which he allowed a mere four goals all season and was named an All-American.

“I take great pride in my time at Herkimer,” Henry said. “I was able to refine my game, and I learned what it takes to maintain a winning mentality. I want to bring this mentality with me, and hopefully win a couple more championships.”

Following his time in junior college, Henry transferred to the University of Connecticut. Unfortunately, Henry didn’t fit into UConn head coach Ray Reid’s plans, as he puts it. He didn’t play during the 2014 season.

Still, Henry feels his time in Storrs was a growing experience

“I had a good experience at UConn, even if it unfortunately didn’t work out the way I may have hoped,” Henry said. “While I was there I did learn a lot about myself as a person and as a player, and I hope to bring some of the professionalism of a program like UConn to Quinnipiac in my time here. We have to take every moment seriously and we will take our game to the next level.”

After last season, head coach Eric Da Costa saw an opportunity to bring Henry to Quinnipiac. Da Costa tracked Henry while back in his hometown of Toronto and followed his progress at Herkimer. Da Costa also got help from former Quinnipiac forward Raphael Carvalho, who also played at Herkimer.

“We are very happy to have landed a player who has been on our radar for such a long time,” Da Costa said.

Henry also credits Carvalho as the reason he is currently at Quinnipiac.

“While I was playing at Herkimer, [Carvalho] was one of my teammates,” Henry said. “After I decided I was going to leave UConn, he told me that Borja was graduating and the team needed a new goalkeeper, and everything just worked out perfectly from there.”

Henry has done plenty to justify Da Costa’s confidence in his short time here. In his first three games for the Bobcats, he has recorded a clean sheet and has stopped 22 of the 25 shots he has faced thus far.

“He has had an almost seamless transition,” Da Costa said. “By coming in during spring semester last year, he has had more time to adjust to his teammates, as well as get some game time in spring. Now that the season has started, the extra time Triston spent with his teammates is really paying off, as he looks super comfortable out there.”

So far this season, Henry’s play has been crucial to the Bobcats, who have had trouble scoring. In fact, Quinnipiac hasn’t scored yet in its first three games.

Perhaps his best performance to date came on Aug. 31, when he recorded a six-save shutout against UConn, his former team.

“[UConn] was a huge game on the schedule for me, and I am happy we got to get it out of the way early,” Henry explained. “While I obviously would have liked to win, I was happy with how we played and shutting them out felt great.”

There are huge expectations for the Bobcats this year. After a disappointing showing in the MAAC tournament last year, many expect them to not only contend in the tournament, but to finish with the regular season title as well.

If this scenario is to play out, it will be essential that Henry helps carry Quinnipiac to that point.

And if Triston Henry’s first few games are any clue, things are looking up

Bobcats clinch MAAC Tournament berth

By Jordan Novack, Staff Writer                Link to Original

Following a 9-7 victory at Canisius in its last game, the Quinnipiac men’s lacrosse team (4-7, 3-2 MAAC) looked set to clinch a trip to the MAAC Tournament on Saturday. First, they had to go through Monmouth (5-6, 2-2 MAAC).

Quinnipiac was successful, coming from behind to down the Hawks 9-8 in its final home game of the regular season.

“You have to be able to close the game if you want to be able to win a championship, you have to be able to play your best lacrosse at the end of the game, and I am incredibly proud of my boys today,” Fekete said.

After a ceremony honoring the senior class prior to the game, Monmouth came out looking to spoil the Bobcat’s special day during the first half. Despite goals from freshman Brian Feldman, senior Steve Bryant and junior Ryan Keenan, Quinnipiac found itself staring at a 7-3 deficit at the half.

Following the game, Quinnipiac head coach Eric Feteke spoke of how the scoreline wasn’t accurate of how his team had played in the first half.

“Two or three of the goals we gave up in the first half were flukes, coming off of deflections or other weird bounces, and we told them to keep following our game plan and eventually we will get our own bounces,” Feteke said. “They have done a really good job following the game plan the last three weeks, and I knew that they would be able to come through in the second half.”

Senior goalie Jack Brust then shutout the Hawks in the third and the Bobcats’ offense found new life. Led by goals from Matt Kycia and Nate Nibbelink, the team entered the fourth down two scores.

Thanks to quick goals from Matt Diehl and senior Michael Sagl, Quinnipiac pulled even for the first time in the game with 10 minutes left to play.

Sagl and Feldman then each scored their second goal of the game to put Quinnipiac up 9-7. A late goal wasn’t enough for Monmouth, as Quinnipiac secured the win and is headed to the playoffs.

“We’ve learned a lot, especially this year’s seniors,” Fekete said. “The key thing we learned is to play our best lacrosse in the last 30 minutes of the game, and that is what we did today.”

Now following their win the Bobcats clinched their spot in the MAAC tournament, something that the team missed out on last season.

“I have been miserable since this time last year, over 365 days I have had a monkey riding on my back,” Feteke explained, “I’m so glad to be back, and with the league as wide open as it is, we are right back where we belong.”

Quinnipiac will fly out to Colorado on Tuesday and prep for its final regular season game against Air Force in Falcon Stadium on Thursday.

Three Canadian-born Quinnipiac lacrosse players adjust to a different style of lacrosse

By Jordan Novack, Staff Writer                Link to Original

Lacrosse is the fastest growing sport in the United States. According to the United States Lacrosse Association, more than 750,000 athletes are playing stateside as the sport continues to boom with schools adding teams.

In Canada, meanwhile, the same sort of boom has taken place, just in different form.

Many Canadian lacrosse players prefer to play a lacrosse variant called “indoor lacrosse,” instead of traditional field lacrosse.

In indoor lacrosse, sometimes known as “box lacrosse,” teams are only allowed to have six players on the field. as opposed to the traditional 11 in field lacrosse. The game also takes place in a court the size of a hockey rink.

For Quinnipiac men’s lacrosse players Ryan Keenan, Adam Bellamy and Riley Palmer, indoor lacrosse comes more natural than the type of lacrosse they play at Quinnipiac.

All three Canadian-born players started playing box lacrosse before they were 7 years old, and had to undergo certain adjustments to the United State’s version of the game.

Keenan explained his increased comfort in playing indoors as opposed to on a field.

“Growing up in Canada, indoor [lacrosse] is what we do better because it is what we have done longer, and it honestly just comes more naturally,” he said.

Keenan’s father is a former player and current head coach and general manager for the Edmonton Rush in the National Lacrosse League. The attackman admits that he is still adjusting to U.S. lacrosse.

“I am still learning how to play field [lacrosse] even now as a junior,” Keenan said. “We are normally taught to play in tight during box, so learning the spacings in field lacrosse is an adjustment.”

Bellamy, a freshman defender, played his junior indoor lacrosse as an attackman for St. Catharines Athletics. He attributes much of what he learned playing indoor lacrosse for where he is as a lacrosse player today, and says that playing box lacrosse provided some major advantages to his current game.

“It is definitely easier to switch to the bigger field, after playing a season of box [lacrosse],” Bellamy said. “The nets in field are a lot bigger than the ones used in box, so it is easier for you to pick your spots as a shooter. Also in box, the surface area is smaller and makes you have to play shiftier, so having the extra room to work in field is nice.”

Keenan added that there are many positive things that come from the transition.

“I think being able to play in tight spaces, which you learn playing box, helps you learn how to catch and finish in tighter spaces,” Keenan said. “That definitely helps you get recruited. Shooting on the smaller nets also makes it pretty exciting to go back to the bigger ones in spring.”

Palmer, a freshman midfielder, played his junior lacrosse alongside Keenan for the Whitby Warriors. He believes the experiences playing indoor helps give him a mental edge.

“We gain a mindset that the Americans don’t because most of us have been playing box since we were 5 or 6 years old,” Palmer explained. “[Box lacrosse] is just a little bit of a faster game, and growing up with it helps us gain some extra mental quickness.”

For Keenan and Palmer, their time with Whitby also represents a high point in their young lacrosse careers.

The Warriors won the Minto Cup in 2011, a 114-year-old junior lacrosse tournament in Canada. Keenan played during that season with future professional lacrosse players Mark Matthews and Zach Palmer, who is Riley’s older brother.

Then, in 2013, the younger Palmer joined Keenan and the Warriors, who went back to the Minto finals.

“That was without a doubt the highlight of my lacrosse career so far,” Keenan said with a smile on his face. “I am looking forward to going back with him this summer, and hopefully coming back with another cup.”

By Jordan Novack, Staff Writer                 Link to Original

Nick Solari|Quinnipiac Chronicle

Nick Solari|Quinnipiac Chronicle

In just two years, Shiann Darkangelo has left her mark on the Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey program.

Despite spending her freshman and sophomore seasons at Syracuse University, the senior forward has helped elevate the Bobcats to new levels.

Last season, her first at Quinnipiac, Darkangelo registered 40 points. The total is the fifth highest in program history.

“She is part of a line that is a force for us,” Quinnipiac head coach Rick Seely said. “She’s driven, works hard, and her ability to forecheck and maintain control of the puck during battles is huge for us.”

Darkangelo said she didn’t know what to expect when she first got to Quinnipiac, and that she didn’t even know if she’d earn playing time prior to the start of the season.

“I didn’t feel like a rookie,” Darkangelo said. “So I knew what to expect somewhat, but I came in knowing I had to work hard and prove myself so that I would be able to even earn a place on the ice.”

Now, in her second season with the team, Darkangelo’s performance both in games and in the locker room has been a major factor in Quinnipiac’s rise to a No. 5 national ranking.

“On the ice [Darkangelo] is a big, dominant player who has been scoring consistently, and she has just been invaluable,” Seeley said. “Off the ice she has been a huge leader for us. To be voted [alternate] captain by her teammates and peers despite only being here for one season is a testament to the impact she has had on our program.”

On the ice, Darkangelo plays on the first line with junior Nicole Kosta and senior Erica Uden Johansson. The line has been a consistent force for the Bobcats on both ends of the ice, as the three players lead the team in plus/minus this year.

“I think with Kosta and UJ, we are a strong line that can be matched up against any team’s first line and keep them from scoring,” Darkangelo said. “For example, against Clarkson we were matched up with a first line that has several gifted scorers, and they didn’t get any points against us.”

Darkangelo also described the balance in the three player’s attributes, which she feels makes the line work well together.

“We have two big bodies between me and UJ, and then there is Kosta who always works hard on the ice,” Darkangelo said. “Now that we are starting to figure out where the others are going to be on the ice, our chemistry is continually improving.”

Despite being one of the team’s most well-rounded players, Seeley still sees areas in which Darkangelo can improve her game.

“She has to keep working on her game away from the puck,” Seely said. “She has improved as a shot blocker for us, she consistently wants to work on good movement and smart movement away from the puck, and is able to move the puck quickly.”

In Quinnipiac’s Jan. 30 game against Harvard, Darkangelo put her name in the program record books once again. With her second period assist, Darkangelo became the second player in team history to register 100 points for her career.

“During the game I had an idea it was my 100th point, but that was only because people kept telling me about it,” Darkangelo said. “I don’t like to be focused on that kind of thing. If I go out there thinking ‘oh I have to score,’ typically it doesn’t happen, because it turns into forcing it instead of playing my game, and although I wish we had won the game, it was still an exciting moment.”

One of the contrasts Darkangelo has noticed about Quinnipiac in comparison to Syracuse is the general atmosphere surrounding the program.

“While I don’t want to downplay the Syracuse program, [at Quinnipiac] there are more people willing to do extra and push me to put in the extra work,” Darkangelo said. “I feel that now with the heavier focus on hockey, I am more enabled to get to the next step.”

Growing up with five other siblings, Darkangelo’s competitive nature has been present since her youth.

“My brothers, sisters and I would always play soccer and other games in the backyard when we were younger, and that definitely made me pretty competitive,” Darkangelo said. “Now, even though my brother plays college football [at Ferris State], we train together when I’m home for summer. The competitive edge still comes out.”

The competitive relationship with her brother led to Darkangelo’s start in hockey, as well.

“My younger brother and I would always go and watch our cousins play high school hockey, and when my brother started to play, I thought, ‘hey I want to go do that,’ and I was one of the better players on the team,” Darkangelo said. “I played boy’s hockey until I was about 10 or 11, and then my dad started a team and I started to play travel hockey, and this helped me realize one day that ‘hey, maybe I could do this at a Division 1 level.”

Now, with just four games left before the conference tournament, Darkangelo and the Bobcats have big goals they hope to accomplish during the remainder of their season.

“We want to win the ECAC, and get a shot at the national championship, and I think that we are very capable of doing that. If you look at the rankings, they are very close, which makes it fair game, with only one game being able to change a season.”

In terms of her own play, Darkangelo just wants to help the Bobcats reach those goals in any way possible.

“Individually, I want to step up and continue to be a leader on this team, and do whatever it takes to help my teammates accomplish those two goals.”

By Jordan Novack, Staff Writer                 Link to Original

Sam Anas has hit the ground running as an underclassman at Quinnipiac.

This year, the sophomore forward is building on the momentum that began during his award-winning freshman season, where he earned the Tim Taylor Rookie of the Year award.

Following his freshman year, in which he led the team with 22 goals and 43 points, Anas has already recorded 10 goals and eight assists for a team-leading 18 points in the 2014-15 season.

Anas shared how he has been able to have such a smooth transition to the college game.

“I think the coaches have given me every opportunity I could have asked for, especially as a freshman,” Anas said. “I was able to play power-play [my freshman year], and play on a line with Connor and Kellen Jones. Now this year with [Matthew] Peca and Landon [Smith], I have just been surrounded with talented players.”

Additionally, Anas credits the two years he played amateur hockey for the Youngstown Phantoms of the United States Hockey League as a key in his transition.

“I loved playing junior hockey,” Anas said. “It is a good transition between playing youth hockey and making the jump to college. Had I gone from youth straight to college it would have been very tough, but instead I was able to play in the same place for two years with great coaches.”

During his two-year stint in Youngstown, Anas scored 54 goals and recorded 43 assists for 97 total points in 155 games. He finished third in the league in goals during the 2012-13 season.

Jordan Novack|Quinnipiac Chronicle Sam Anas looks to move the puck vs UConn 11/17/15

Jordan Novack|Quinnipiac Chronicle                   Sam Anas looks to move the puck vs UConn 11/17/15

In a conversation about his leading scorer, Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold reflected on what a special player Anas is, and how much he adds to the team.

“He is a highly talented player, who has a unique ability to create time and space for himself, but his biggest strength is his finishing,” Pecknold said. “There are players who can score goals in practice when you have the time and space with little to no pressure, but few thrive like him in game mode.”

Senior captain Matthew Peca, who centers the first line with Anas and Smith, talked about what it’s like to play with the second-year wing.

“[Anas] expects to score every night and he produces, it’s very fun to have him on your line,” Peca said. “You can always expect him to be open. He talks really well, you will always know where he is on the ice, and when he has the puck he makes plays.”

Peca added that Anas isn’t only a great scorer, but a great passer, too.

“He’ll pass through defenders sticks on feeds and you always have to expect the puck,” Peca said. “He is great with the puck; there are other players who won’t even try the things he can do.”

Peca said Anas is a leader off the ice, as well.

“He does a good job keeping the locker room loose, with little sayings and stuff, and he is just a great teammate,” Peca said. “I roomed with him on the road last year, and he is real easy going and a great team player.”

Anas first began playing hockey with his dad, Peter, early on in life. Peter played at the University of Western Ontario, and introduced the game to Anas at a very young age.

“[My dad] got me started when I was two years old shooting the ball around in the kitchen,” Anas said.

Nineteen years later, Anas’ talent is drawing NHL attention. In the past few summers, he has participated in developmental camps with the Washington Capitals, and most recently with the Montreal Canadiens.

Training with the Canadiens last summer was an “eye-opening experience,” he said.

“To go there and see all of the history there, and all of the Stanley Cups they have won, it is such a prestigious organization,” Anas said. “It really motivates me to make that jump to the NHL one day.”

Anas said that he doesn’t model his game after one specific player, but that he does enjoy watching Minnesota Wild left wing Zach Parise play because of his skill and hard-working attitude.

In addition, he idolizes New York Rangers right wing Martin St. Louis.

“He is a small guy who was undrafted out of college,” Anas said, “but has done everything people said he wouldn’t be able to do, and now he is going to be a Hall of Famer one day. He is a perfect role model for me.”

For Anas, he is looking to improve deficiencies in his game, while Quinnipiac as a whole has lofty goals set.

“As a player, I need to improve as a skater and I need to improve defensively,” Anas said. “As a team, we want to do everything. We want to win the ECAC regular season, the ECAC Tournament Championship, and hopefully the NCAA Championship, and just overall be the best team we can be.”

Women’s ice hockey goaltender Chelsea Laden tops NCAA Division I with a .974 save percentage this season

By Jordan Novack, Staff Writer                 Link to Original

After starting the season ranked No. 10 in the country, the Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey team has now risen to No. 5 and continues to build momentum.

While many factors have contributed to the Bobcats’ 7-0-1 start, few can argue the play of senior goalie Chelsea Laden, as well as the team’s defense, have been a driving force to its success this year.

Laden, the ECAC Hockey Goalie of the Month in October, has been reliable in net for the Bobcats all season. Laden has gone 7-0-0 in seven starts, posting an 0.29 goals against average.

Laden tops all of Division I women’s ice hockey goalies with a .974 percent save percentage on the season. She is also leading the nation with five shutouts, which is the fourth most shutouts in a season by any goalie in Quinnipiac program history.

The Bobcats currently own a nation-leading 0.38 goals against average, which Quinnipiac head coach Rick Seeley credits to Laden’s dependability in net all season.

“Chelsea had a great year last year, but when she wasn’t on, and she gave up a poor goal, she would get in her own head and usually let up another soon after,” Seeley said. “This year, she has overcome that, and has yet to allow a bad goal all year.”

Laden also notes the growth in confidence that both she and her team have undergone since last season.

“I feel like our team is a lot more confident this year,” Laden said. “We are making the right plays at the right time, and we are more focused into the little details of the game. Our team is also buying into the system more, and since we’ve been winning all it has done is add to our confidence.”

Laden and the Bobcats are coming off a record-setting game, recording the first shutout win in program history at Cornell, which was also the first time Cornell had been shut out at home since Nov. 17, 2006.

“I actually had no idea about that statistic until I saw it posted after the game,” Laden said. “I think it shows how far we have come as a team to be able to go and shut out a program like Cornell, who has been ranked for as long as I can remember. Little accomplishments like this just continue to add to our confidence.”

Despite the individual statistics and acclaim that has been coming her way, Laden remains humble, crediting those in front of her for such success.

“People are talking about the stats recently, which I don’t think is indicative of anything spectacular that I am doing or of how I am playing,” Laden said. “I think it is more of a result of how amazing and consistent our team has been playing, and I feel so blessed to be the goalie for such a dominant and disciplined team.”

Moving forward, Laden hopes to remain a consistent force in net for the Bobcats.

“I want to stop all of the easy shots, most of the hard shots and some of the impossible shots I face,” Laden said. “Whether I am facing 14 shots or, maybe someday I’ll get 30 shots, I want to be able to be consistent so I can give back to the team seeing as they have given so much to me.”

And for Seeley, Laden’s consistency has been key in the evolution of her game.

“She is doing a great job learning from her mistakes and maturing, and becoming the goalie we now see.”

And on a grander scale, Laden also offered up insight into the team’s goals for the rest of the season. The Bobcats would like to win the ECAC, Laden says, and advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history.

“Reaching the national tournament is something that has always been a goal for us, and this year we have become a step closer to reaching that goal,” Laden said. “Last year we had the talent, we only had six losses, but we also had a lot of ties, and we learned that amping up our game that much more can boost us into the national tournament, even though it will take a lot of hard work and consistency to get us there.”

Laden and the Bobcats look to continue their winning streak as they hosts Rensselaer at High Point Solutions Arena on Friday at 7 p.m.