Over the span of the first semester, there have been several surprising teams as well as a few disappointments. Several freshmen have already made a name for themselves and a few veterans are having superb years. With this being the last column before the break, let me hand out my mid-season awards.
Biggest Surprise of the First Half RIT
The Tigers have been a pleasant surprise as they enter the break at 8-0-0, just three wins shy of tying their best start ever. They have outscored their opponents 44-4, with shutouts coming in five of the eight games. Their leading goal scorer is Danielle Nagymarosi who has 11 tallies. Isabelle Richard leads the team in assists with 13. Freshman Karen Quilgley has been solid between the pipes posting a 5-0-0 record with a 0.60 goals against average.
Most Valuable Player of the First Half Danielle Nagymarosi (RIT)
The transfer from Manhattanville has fit in well in western NY. Nagymarosi is tied with her teammate Richard in leading all ECAC-East players in points with 21. She is second in the conference in goals and fourth in assists. She leads the league in shorthanded goals with two and has one game-winning goal on the season.
Freshman of the First Half Arianna Rigano (St. Anselm)
Rigano leads all freshmen, and ECAC-East players, in goals with 12. She has 15 points, seven on the power play. She has been a big reason with the Hawks are off to a 10-0-0 start, and she had a hat-trick in the 5-1 win over nationally ranked Manhattanville.
Biggest Surprise of the First Half Oswego
Maybe this should not be as much of a surprise considering the dedication and support behind the program, but the Lakers are off to a fast start in their inaugural season. They are 5-4-1 with their most impressive victory coming against Buffalo State. Jessica O’Grady leads the team in goals with six and Stephanie Esposito leads in assists with 11. In goal, Erin Robson is 3-1-0 allowing just 1.49 goals a game.
Most Valuable Player of the First Half Danielle Blanchard (Plattsburgh)
If there was ever a time when her team needed a goal, Danielle Blanchard has been there so far this season. The sophomore has ten goals and seven assists and has 10 of her 17 points coming against nationally ranked competition. She put up five points in the Cardinal Classic when the Cardinals defeated Middlebury and Elmira and had five points last weekend in a sweep of Utica.
Freshman of the First Half Jenna McCall (Elmira)
She may be just 4’11 but Jenna McCall certainly doesn’t play like it. She is off to a terrific start for her career, leading all ECAC-West freshmen with 14 points, good enough for second on the Soaring Eagle squad. In four games against nationally ranked opponents she has put up three goals and three assists, including the overtime game winner against Bowdoin this past weekend.
Biggest Surprise of the First Half St. Thomas
The Tommies have been a surprise, but not in a good way. At 4-4-0 with losses to Lake Forest (twice), Wis.-Stevens Point, and St. Olaf, the Tommies have already lost as many games as all of last regular season, and they haven’t looked like the national contender many expected thus far. While the start has been subpar, what matters most is peaking in March for the MIAC playoffs, the only sure way to NCAAs. Courtney Sekevitch leads the team in goals with six while freshman Jill Kobow leads the club with 12 points. In net, senior Katie Jetland is off to a slow start as she is just 2-3-0 with 3.27 goals allowed per game.
Most Valuable Player of the First Half Sandra Felten (Bethel)
The Bethel Royals are 3-3-0 overall thanks in large part of Felten. Felten has 10 goals and 15 points on the year, including three game-winning goals. In the first game of the season, she scored all five goals in a 5-2 win over Wis.-Eau Claire. She is currently leading all MIAC player in points.
Freshman of the First Half Jill Kobow (St. Thomas)
Arguably the lone bright spot for the Tommies, Kobow has put up 12 points thus far, ranking her second among all MIAC players. With five goals and seven assist, she has been a big reason why the Tommies are even at .500. She has six more points than the next closest player on her team (Sekevitch).
Biggest Surprise of the First Half Lake Forest
At 5-1-3 overall, the Foresters are right in the mix for that lone NCAA berth for the NCHA. With impressive wins over struggling St. Thomas and a close 4-2 loss to Wis.-Stevens Point, the Foresters could make some noise down the stretch. Juniors Courtney DeHoey and Laura Wilson lead the team offensively with 29 points combined. In net, Sally Bevis and Ryann McCarthy have split time and have both been solid when called upon.
Most Valuable Player of the First Half Melissa Kunzelman (Wis.-Superior)
The freshman netminder has had a very strong first half. She is 5-0-0, while allowing just 0.60 goals per game. She has a save percentage of .963 and two shutouts. The Brandon, Manitoba native’s most impressive win came against nationally ranked Wis.-Stevens Point where she turned aside 32 of 33 shots for the 3-1 victory.
Freshman of the First Half Brianne Mosher (Wis.-Superior)
Mosher has certainly been a pleasant surprise for the Yellowjackets. With seven goals and 13 points, the newcomer has opened the eyes of many opponents. What is more impressive is that she has managed to score four game-winning goals in just nine of her team’s victories. Two of those game winners came against national contenders Wis.-Stevens Point and Elmira.
Biggest Surprise of the First Half Colby
Colby’s 15-8-1 mark in 2005-06 was the program’s best ever in D-III, since the school dropped out of the highest level of women’s college hockey competition at the turn of the century. The squad had high hopes this season, as the team’s top scorers were all freshmen, but the White Mules have yet to regain that magic with a 1-3-1 start — the worst being a season-opening 4-1 loss to Amherst, who Colby beat three times last season. Despite the slow start, the team still shows flashes of brilliance. Sophomore Laura Anning, who led Colby with 36 points a last season, is leading the team again with five points in five games. Goalie Genevieve Triganne is beating last year’s pace with a .932 save percentage and 2.23 goals against average.
Offensive Player of the First Half Meghan Gillis (Bowdoin)
Gillis leads her club with six goals and 11 points. She has performed well against ranked opponents with one goal and two assists in two games. She has three power play goals on the year and one game winner. Her 11 points is also good enough to share the NESCAC lead.
Freshman of the First Half Lauren Tomford (Hamilton)
Tomford has three goals and eight points on the year. That is good enough to put her ahead of all other NESCAC freshmen. She has been a bright spot for Hamilton College who is off to an impressive start at 4-1-1 on the year. Tomford is second on her club in points. Her best game was against Williams when she recorded a hat-trick including the game-winning overtime goal.