Women’s Hockey Season Preview
The Dartmouth women’s hockey team continued its streak of consecutive postseason appearances a year ago, going 4-1-2 during the final month of the season to clinch its third straight ECAC Hockey Quarterfinal berth.
Since head coach Mark Hudak took over the program heading into the 2003-04 campaign, the Big Green have reached the conference tournament nine times, highlighted by back-to-back trips to the Frozen Four during his first and second seasons on the bench.
In 2012-13, the Green and White were led by a prolific senior class who helped the team run off four different three-game winning streaks. After a 7-2 thumping of St. Lawrence at Thompson Arena on senior day, the team from the Upper Valley traveled to Cambridge for their opening round tournament series with Harvard.
The Crimson defense was stout and held the Big Green offense scoreless in a two-game sweep as Dartmouth saw its season end abruptly.
The duo, along with classmate Lauren Kelly, look to lead a youthful roster through the ups and downs of ECAC Hockey and Ivy League play.
“I’ve been really happy with the leadership we’ve had since last spring in our three seniors,” Hudak said. “We always talk about getting better in all that we are doing and these three have helped us in that regard with the culture on the team and certainly in helping our freshmen adjust and become part of the team and campus as a whole.”
Hudak looks to continue the strong tradition in 2013-14 with a talented group of incoming freshmen and strong cast of returning players. Despite losing four-of-the-top-five leading scorers from last season, there is some returning firepower thanks to sophomore forwards Laura Stacey and Lindsey Allen.
“Our underclassmen should see a lot of ice time this year. With only 16 skaters and three goalies, there is going to be plenty of opportunity to play and learn. For us to be successful, those younger players are going to need to have a steep learning curve in the first half of the season. I think with the leadership we have and the great team culture, we can figure out a way to get it done,” Hudak added.
The team takes to the ice for an exhibition versus McGill on Friday, Oct. 18, before traveling south to Chestnut Hill, Mass., for the regular season-opener against No. 2 Boston College.
Leading the way amongst returning forwards are both Stacey and Allen. Stacey tallied eight goals and a team-leading 14 assists. During her freshman campaign, the Kleinburg, Ontario, native was also named to the ECAC Hockey All-Rookie Team. Her 22 points were the most for a first-year player for the Big Green since Camille Dumais in 2009. In fact, Stacey’s 22 points are the most in a career of any player on the roster.
Last season, Allen ranked fourth on the team in goals (7), fifth in points (17) and was tied for third with two game-winning tallies. She also played a big part on the power-play unit, netting three goals and setting up two others.
During their sophomore seasons, Karlee Odland and Sam Zeiss combined for seven goals and nine assists.
Dartmouth returns four players from its defensive core; a pair of sophomores and a pair of upperclassmen. Leading the way amongst the returners from the blueline is sophomore Olivia Whitford, the Milton, Ontario, native who dished out 10 helpers last season. Classmate Zoe Brennan appeared in 27 games, netting two tallies with one assist in 2012-13.
Lauren Kelly looks to lead on the ice and build on her three assists from last year. The biggest goal-scoring threat from the point is junior Morgan Illikainen, who potted a trio of markers last season.
Returning between the pipes for the Green and White is Holdcroft, who has been the starter since she arrived on campus in 2010. The Pittsburgh, Pa., native is climbing up the record books for Dartmouth, as she currently ranks in the top-five all-time in wins (47), saves (1,842), goals-against average (2.12) and save percentage (.914).
Last year, Holdcroft appeared in 29 games with a record of 15-9-5. The 5-foot-4 netminder recorded four shutouts with a save percentage of .914 and a goals-against average of 2.11, as a junior.