2019 USCHO D-I Women’s Player of the Year: Elizabeth Giguère

Elizabeth Giguère of Clarkson (Jim Meagher/Clarkson Athletics)
Elizabeth Giguère of Clarkson (Jim Meagher/Clarkson Athletics)

For any hockey award, ask a half-dozen people who should win it, and you’re likely to get six different answers. For the USCHO D-I Women’s Player of the Year, you may have gone in a different direction than we did. I’m sure your choice would have been a deserving winner, but these are some of the reasons why the voters at USCHO selected Clarkson sophomore forward Elizabeth Giguère.

She led the country in points this season with 73. Through her first two seasons at Clarkson, she has racked up 144 points, tied for the most with teammate and linemate Loren Gabel. Giguère’s scoring average of 1.82 points per game this year is tied for second. Her 47 assists ranked first. She lead the nation with five short-handed goals.

Giguère accomplished all of these scoring feats while wearing a target after her 70-plus-point rookie season. As strong as her freshman season was on the whole, her first national tournament was the stuff of legend. All three games went to overtime. She finished off a rush in the quarterfinal to defeat Mercyhurst. In the semifinal win over Ohio State, she broke up ice and fed Gabel a perfect pass for the game’s only tally. She decided the championship game versus Colgate with one of the best individual efforts one will ever see, stealing the puck, fighting off a defender, faking out the netminder, and depositing the puck into the net.

Granted, these clutch performances took place a year ago, but they underscore the fact that opposing coaches now approached games against the Golden Knights knowing that Giguère was the player that their teams had to stop. Instead, she had a hand in over 50 percent of the goals scored by the nation’s third-best offense.

As a sophomore, Giguère had a plus/minus of plus-64, which was 10 better than her linemates and 20 better than the next closest player in Division-I.

Simply put, Giguère wins games. Clarkson entered the ECAC Hockey Tournament with its spot in the national tournament still at risk. She scored in overtime to finish off Quinnipiac in the first round. Giguère had a goal and a primary assist in a 2-0 semifinal win over Colgate, and assisted on the first two goals as her team defeated Cornell in the championship, 4-1, to secure the automatic bid.

That advanced Clarkson to the NCAA tournament, and Giguère was back in the role of heroine in overtime of the quarterfinal versus Boston College. After an offensive-zone faceoff, she fought off All-American defenseman Megan Keller, got her stick on a loose puck, and snuck it inside the far post for a 2-1 win to earn a trip back to the Frozen Four.

Wisconsin proved to be the team that was finally able to shut Giguère down in the semifinal. However, that says more about the defense of the 2019 champs than it does about her, as none of the other 53 skaters who laced them up to take on the Badgers in the tourney were able to record a point either. She did come close, flicking a backhanded shot that goaltender Kristen Campbell got just enough of to deflect against the post, rather than into the net. Had that puck found the twine for the all-important first goal of the game, who knows what else Giguère may have added to her legend.

After her team won the 2018 NCAA Championship, a reporter asked her if her father was 2007 Stanley Cup winning goaltender Jean-Sébastien Giguère. The answer was no, but if her hockey career continues on its current arc, someday people will ask the former Anaheim goalie if he is the father of the famous hockey player Elizabeth Giguère.

Congratulations to Elizabeth Giguère, the 2019 USCHO Player of the Year!