The blueliners of the women’s hockey team are a young group of players that will look to establish themselves this season on the ice. With the losses of Erinn Perushek ’02 and Eva Nahorniak ’02 to graduation, the defensive corps is composed of only two upperclassmen. With a new head coach this season in Melody Davidson, the defense will look to improve on its 2.55 goals allowed average from last year.
“We’re definitely pretty feisty. We’ve got two decent size defenders, but the rest of us are pretty small. We’re gritty, and we’ll get in there,” commented senior captain Brooke Bestwick.
Bestwick will lead the defense this year as the unit’s most seasoned veteran. With three years of playing experience, she will provide leadership on and off the ice for the underclassmen. Last season, she provided an offensive punch from the blue line and was third on the team in scoring with eight goals and nine helpers.
Junior Allison Simpson moves back to defense this season and will give the blue liners some much-needed size at 5-7. Simpson played defense her freshman year before moving up to forward last season.
“The people on the blue line, I’m not looking for them to rush the puck and create offensive chances that way. I expect all of them to get the puck through from the blue line and get their shots on net, different things like that, but every player has to contribute offensively for our team to have success,” remarked Davidson.
Two players who will look to contribute more offensively this season are sophomores Lara Kelly and Jamie Ramenofsky. Both saw action in 27 games last season.
Kelly, at 5-7, is the tallest blueliner along with Simpson.
“There are six of us, and we have two new players that are definitely contributing really strongly. We’re going to have to work on tying it up with the forwards within our defensive zone, but in terms of skill, we have a lot of skill on defense, and we’ll be a good back for our team,” commented Kelly.
Ramenofsky tallied four assists last season and was third on the team in penalty minutes with 30. She was optimistic about the new additions to the defensive unit in freshmen Becky Fisher and Emily Cabral.
“The freshmen have pretty much stepped up. They’re learning that it’s very physical and it’s very intense and it’s really important that they need to understand that they need to be involved in everything,” said Ramenofsky.
Cabral was a member of the 2001 Vermont U19 All-Stars. Fisher hails from Duluth, Minnesota, and was a member of Team Minnesota for 2002.
Despite the lack of experience, Bestwick is confident that the defense will remain strong throughout the season.
“We lost two seniors last year, and they both brought a lot of experience to the table, so it’s going to be an adjustment for sure, but we have a couple of big defensemen, and our young defensemen are pretty skilled and really talented, so I’m looking forward to this year and helping them grow as players,” Bestwick said.
“We have to concentrate on our D-zone, and make sure we do what coach tells us to do,” she continued. “We pretty much have a new system in our D-zone, so as long as we follow that, we’ll be fine.”
Archived article by Jonathan Auerbach