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Junior wonders: Five of the best NCAA third-years

From the east and the west, here are some of the country’s best

Northeastern University forward Kasidy Anderson AND Clarkson University forward Kelly Mariani during a game between Northeastern University and Clarkson University in Boston, MA on Sept. 29, 2017. (Photo by Michelle Jay)
Kasidy Anderson is part of an incredible junior class in the NCAA
Michelle Jay ©2017

By your junior year in college, you have probably built an identity for yourself. You probably have made a name around campus and people know what sort of person you can be. For five juniors in the NCAA, this couldn’t be more true.

I might be excited to write this because I’m finally getting around to a Northeastern Husky, but it could also be because this year’s junior class is highly dynamic and exciting and full of names that will still be around after this season.

Here are the top five juniors in the NCAA.

Kasidy Anderson, Forward, Northeastern

First and foremost, here’s me going ballistic when Anderson scored at the Beanpot Final against Katie Burt (Please put your volume at the lowest possible setting).

And here’s another breakaway:

She does this a lot.

Anderson has seven goals through 16 games this season, which ranks tops among juniors in Hockey East and fourth in all juniors nationally. A major force on the ice for Northeastern this season, she has four power play goals and 11 total points has been. On a team with NWHL draft picks like Denisa Krizova and McKenna Brand, Anderson is tied for the team lead in points.

If Northeastern wants to make another run for the conference championship, Anderson will need to extend her hot start into the spring.

Christina Putigna, Forward, Providence

Providence is not what you would call a powerhouse. Being successful in Hockey East is uncommon for them and a national ranking is unfathomable. This year, the Friars might finally break through.

Putigna has six goals and nine assists this season, giving her the second-most points by a junior in Hockey East. In her freshman and sophomore seasons, she finished each year with 28 points. It looks like she’s on pace to shatter that number this season.

With a shot and a celebration like that, how can she be stopped?

Justine Reyes, Forward, St. Lawrence

The Chino Hills, CA native has been a key cog in the Saints machine this season. With St. Lawrence currently tied for third in the tightly contested ECAC, Reyes has been able to tally points with regularity. Her 16 points in 14 games are tied for third among all junior forwards nationally and put her second in conference scoring.

If you want to see what sort of moves Reyes is capable of, skip ahead to 1:44:

If you cannot make out what happened there, she picked the pocket of the Quinnipiac forward, hit the “dirty dangle” button on her controller, then deposited the puck in the back of the net.

Justine Reyes is as cool as the other side of the pillow.

Sophie Skarzynski, Defenseman/Forward, Minnesota

Two-way players are a major key. Having a skater that is designated as both a forward and defenseman is a huge boost for any team, especially one in a competitive conference like the WCHA. The Gophers are fortunate to have Skarzynski on their roster because she can play anywhere.

Through 16 games this season, Skarzynski has 12 points, most among junior defenders and second-most among forwards – depending on how you want to classify her – in the WCHA. Skarzynski can play anywhere on the ice. She is able to backcheck and break up odd-man rushes, and she can crash the net:

She can slap home one-timers and get her stick in passing lanes. With so many Gophers gone from graduation and national team duties, Skarzynski is getting a chance to shine.

Kassidy Sauve, Goaltender, Ohio State

It’s good to be a Buckeye.

Sauve has become one of the top goaltenders in the nation and was hyped as a Patty Kazmaier Award hopeful before the season started. Everyone had their eyes on her and OSU going into a tight year in the WCHA.

OSU is currently first in the WCHA with 27 points (8-2-2-1), but trail Wisconsin in overall win percentage. If there’s a team that’s going to upset the currently undefeated Badgers this year, it is going to be OSU and it will be because of Sauve.

Sauve has four shutouts (tied for first in the NCAA), an 8-2-2 record and a .925 save percentage. She has been one of the best goaltenders nationally and a pre-season Kazmaier favorite. And she can do this:

We are winding down our class-by-class articles, so keep your eyes peeled for our senior list. So far there have been 15 athletes mentioned and dozens more that hopefully we will get to sooner rather than later. Until then, support your favorite NCAA team and look for some of the amazing talent we have covered!