By Anna Poulter-Hendrickson
Special to GoHolyCross.com
With back-to-back 20 win seasons and two ECAC Open championships, the Holy Cross women's ice hockey team has raised the bar for success on the ice and around the league. Head coach Peter Van Buskirk returns 15 letterwinners from a team that went 20-4-2 a year ago and welcomes eight newcomers to the ice. Van Buskirk's senior class of Lindsay Atkinson, Christina D'Ambrogio, Monique Gallant, Emily Henry, Jocelyn Kratchmer and Colleen Krmpotich looks to become the most successful class in school history as they have accumulated a 60-14-6 record in their three years on the ice. "These six seniors have been the core of our team the last three years," said Van Buskirk. "I expect them to play consistently and lead by example and we have a good group of seniors to do that."
Van Buskirk has tagged D'Ambrogio, Kratchmer and junior Stacey Hochkins as captains for the 2010-2011 season. The trio will lead the team on and off the ice as they have earned multiple ECAC East academic and performance honors between the three of them. Van Buskirk expects the three captains to continue to lead in the same manor that they have performed in previous seasons. "I expect them to perform the same way that they have shown since they have been here." All three played significant time in all 26 games a year ago, combining for 89 points.
Hochkins returns as one of the Holy Cross' top offensive threats, as she tied the Holy Cross single-season record with a career-best 26 goals last season. Hochkins' ability to score is heightened by Holy Cross' potent offense and strong defense. "You hope that the individual productions will continue, but you are working on getting them in as good of shape as possible," says Van Buskirk. "The results will take care of themselves." Last season, the Crusaders outscored their opponents 105-42 in 26 games. The Crusaders' scoring offense completed the season ranked second in the nation with 4.04 goals per game, while the defense was third, allowing just 1.62 goals per game. Van Buskirk expects to see the team continue the same trends as a year ago. "I think we are strong up front, we've got three solid lines and can be competitive in all of our games, regardless of who we are playing."
The Crusaders look to repeat as ECAC Open champions and reclaim the regular season title when they kick off the season at ECAC opponent Salve Regina on Oct. 29. Van Buskirk expects the competition to be tough. "We are going to be able to compete for one of the top four spots in the league along with Manhattanville, Norwich and St. Anselm," says Van Buskirk. "Those are going to be the top teams that we will contend with this year, along with a number of other solid teams." Holy Cross will travel to Sacred Heart on Nov. 3 before facing off with the Pioneers in the home-opener at the Hart Center on Nov. 9. The remainder of the 2010 portion of the schedule features ECAC games against UMass-Boston, St. Anselm, Manhattanville, Nichols, Plymouth State and Southern Maine. Last season, the Crusaders fell out of first place in the league standings with they lost to Southern Maine in the final game of the regular season, allowing Manhattanville to claim the regular season title.
After the New Year, the Crusaders will host eight games at the Hart Center, welcoming Trinity, Norwich, St. Michael's, New England College, Castleton State, Plymouth State, Salve Regina and Southern Maine to the hill. Holy Cross will close out the season at the ECAC Open Tournament, hosted by St. Michael's in Colchester, Vt.
Returning 7, Lost 3, Newcomers 4
A potent offense returns to the ice for the Holy Cross in 2010-2011. Van Buskirk's first line features the team's top three returning scorers from a year ago, as they combined for 51 goals and 53 assists for 104 of the team's 235 points. Hochkins, Kratchmer and sophomore Caroline English will set the stage for the offense, but a strong second and third line will ensure that Holy Cross' scoring power remains strong.
Van Buskirk expects his first line to continue to lead the team, "The first line was solid last year and I expect the same," comments Van Buskirk. "You have Stacey, ECAC Player of the Year, along with Jocelyn, who make up two of the top forwards in the league. And Caroline was a freshman last year and fit in very nicely with them and will continue to play with them this year." English led all Holy Cross rookies with seven goals and 18 assists for 25 points in her freshman campaign.
Holy Cross' second line will see a new addition as D'Ambrogio and junior Nicola Garat will be joined by newcomer, sophomore Alex Campione. "Our second line, has changed a little bit, we have a newcomer on the line to play with D'Ambrogio and Garat," comments Van Buskirk. "Adding Alex Campione to the second line allows me to have Rebecca lead the third." Van Buskirk expects to see sophomore Rebecca O'Quinn lead a strong third line, along with sophomore Alyssa Ruhland and freshmen Tory Bratton, Ali Knapp and Kylee Sullivan. Van Buskirk expects the freshmen to get better and stronger as games go on.
Returning 5, Lost 2, Newcomers 4
Henry and Krmpotich return to lead a Holy Cross defense that led the league and was third nationally by allowing only 1.62 goals per game. An injury will keep Krmpotich off the ice for a while, leaving Henry to take charge of the defense. "Henry returns as a mainstay on the team," comments Van Buskirk. "Colleen's injury is a big loss, particularly on defense where we lost a lot of players." Holy Cross will rely on junior Amy Pfund and sophomores Meghan Reynolds and Mariah Napolitano to help lead a defense by committee. Freshman Devon Ball, Chelsea Caracciolo, Amanda Gallagher and Emily Sullivan will strengthen the Holy Cross defense and Van Buskirk expects them to do just that. "All the freshman need to play and they are all solid players," says Van Buskirk. "They need to get started and get in there and learn by playing."
Returning 3, Lost 0, Newcomers 0
Gallant returns for her senior season in net for the Crusaders after totaling her 29th career win last season. Joining her in the crease will be Atkinson and junior Carly Dominick-Sobol. Gallant and Dominick-Sobol split time in net last year, each marking 10 wins on the season. "We have experience in net," says Van Buskirk. "Monique and Carly split time last year, both are solid goaltenders and we are pleased that we have that type of experience in the net." Atkinson, who was sidelined with an injury last season, looks to make a return to the ice. "Lindsay is an experience goaltender, but she lost time last year and is trying to come back and is working hard to be a part of the goaltending core." Atkinson completed her sophomore campaign with a perfect 11-0-0 record and looks continue that success in her senior year. Together the trio has held opponents to 76 goals in 53 games over the past two seasons, recording a low 1.43 goals against average in that time.