By Jordan Novack, Staff Writer Link to Original
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.”