Each season is different. New players, different combinations and, of course, surprises.
With five fresh faces in the ranks, the women’s ice hockey offensive arsenal is seeking the perfect balance of factors needed to put points on the board this year.
“I think our offense is going to be pretty strong. To score, there’s going to be a lot of scrappy rebounding, but I think it’s going to be like that throughout the league. We certainly need our big scorers from last year to step up and continue their offensive point output, but we’re also looking to see the other underclassmen come through,” head coach Carol Mullins commented.
Although the lines are bound to change as the season progresses, the current combinations have been quite productive for the Red thus far in the season.
Packed with experience, the “red line” boasts the speed and power of senior co-captain Dani Bilodeau, the quick hands of senior Erica Olson and the game savvy of sophomore Erin Ellis. The two veterans are very excited to be playing on the same line this year and are both duly impressed with Ellis’s progression.
Bilodeau has been a consistent playmaker throughout her career and Olson, at center, led the team in scoring last season. Ellis gained valuable experience her freshman year and is looking to create opportunities for the Red.
A line of speed, the “green line” is composed of junior assistant captain Jenel Bode, sophomore Lindsay Murao and freshman Bri Jentner. So far, this year, this line has been most successful in terms of points. Bode, at center for this line, leads the team with five points, while Jentner and Murao both have three points on the season.
The “blue line” is highlighted by youth. Junior Sarah Olivier, who tallied twelve points last season, has been placed with freshmen Anita Khar and Ali Simpson.
Khar has already made her impression, having scored the game-winner against Niagara two weeks ago. She is quick and she has a nose for the net.
Although junior Erinn Perushek has been alternating between offense and defense, most of her time will be spent with the forwards this season, as she hopes to increase her numbers in the assist category.
Sophomore transfer Jen Reed already has a year of college hockey experience and freshman Sarah Carter is coming along well and should be able to fill in some holes. Mullins is hoping to get these new players some solid time on the ice.
With a variety of styles, the theme of the offense this year involves teamwork.
“We’ve got a few of the top-skilled forwards in the league, but we may not have the depth. It’s going to take all 20 of us to do our jobs, play our roles and keep ourselves in the game. There’s no reason that we can’t beat anybody in the league this year,” Mullins said of her team’s prospects.
“If everyone plays their individual roles, if we stay tough and aggressive, we’ll do really well this year,” Mullins added. “We want to be playing at the end of March and right now, we’re just laying the groundwork to achieve that.”
Archived article by Kelli Larsen