The second year of someone’s career can really make or break the rest of their time in the NCAA. Teams have a year’s worth of tape on you. In-conference opponents have seen you in person before. Some of the magic and wonder of your first year in college can wear off.
However, there are a few players in their sophomore season this year that are making a big impact for their teams.
Caitrin Lonergan, Forward, Boston College
We need to get this out of the way: Lonergan is one of the best players in the country, and she has had the perplexing problem of being overlooked by many for her teammate Daryl Watts. That being said, in her second year as an Eagle she has not missed a beat.
Next, here is Caitrin Lonergan's game-tying power-play goal to make it 3-3 pic.twitter.com/HcM2WPPCLe— BC Women's Hockey (@BC_WHockey) November 4, 2017
Watch Lonergan rip this power-play goal from the faceoff dot. Then watch it again, because at first you missed the puck flying through the air.
She is second in the country in points (23) and assists (13) and third in goals (10) and is playing at just over a 2.5-points-per-game pace. Lonergan is building off of a wildly successful freshman campaign where she was named to the USCHO All-Rookie Team and the Hockey East All-Rookie Team. This past week she was named Hockey East co-Player of the Week for the first time in her career.
How far can Lonergan and Watts take this Eagles team? The sky is the limit right now.
Abby Roque, Forward, Wisconsin
Hope you all enjoyed Roquetober, because Roquevemer is just getting started.
Too similar to Lonergan’s goal? How about a goal so dirty you need a shower from watching it:
Roque is building off her WCHA Rookie of the Year performance with a stellar 5-13-18 statline, good for second in total points among all sophomores in the nation. She was named WCHA Offensive Player of the Month for October after leading the conference in points and assists.
With a 14-0-0 start for the Wisconsin, Roque and the rest of the Badgers sit in a comfortable position in the polls and the pairwise. But will they have enough gas in the tank for tournament season?
Jaycee Gebhard, Forward, Robert Morris
I’d like to believe this is a true story:
The date is Oct. 8. Gebhard skates onto the ice against Minnesota State. She asks “Do you like apples?”
She tallies six assists on the night.
“How about them apples?”
Gebhard has been a major factor in RMU’s success this year, as the Colonials have been a top team in the CHA and consistently ranked nationally. She has 13 assists this year, good for second in the country, with six coming against Minn St. and four coming against Brown. Gebhard is even getting in on the goal scoring, netting two in two games against Lindenwood for some big CHA points.
If the Colonials want to win another CHA title, Gebhard will need to continue her hot streak. She is second on the team in points behind Brittany Howard, and the two of them will need to do some heavy lifting — especially if they clinch an NCAA tournament berth.
Ella Shelton, Defenseman, Clarkson
Clarkson is firing on all cylinders (and a likely Frozen Four team), and part of that has been their defense. They have allowed 1.17 goals per game, third fewest in the nation. Part of that has been holding opponents to 20.8 shots per game.
I submit to you one Ella Shelton, a 5’8” defenseman from Ontario, as part of this winning equation.
Shelton has become a mainstay in the Golden Knights defense after an impressive freshman season that included a national championship. Her ability to play a lot of minutes and sound defensive zone presence is one of the reasons Clarkson will likely win another ECAC title.
Shelton has 10 assists already this season, tied for second most in the country among defensemen. Her power play minutes definitely contribute to this, as she regularly creates goals with blasts from the point that are ultimately tipped in.
Much like the forwards on this list, Shelton has been a big assists contributor, and it’s nice to see skaters that can play their positions and create opportunities for their teammates.
Sydney Scobee, Goaltender, Vermont
If you don’t believe in the Catamounts, that’s okay, we all have to come around to some new ideas. Vermont is currently 3-4-1 in Hockey East, which is good for third in the conference, and their recent play has been a little shaky.
However, there are still plenty of talented players on this Catamount team, and one of those is sophomore goaltender Sydney Scobee. Currently 11th in the country in save percentage at .936, Scobee has been a major key in for UVM since Madison Litchfield graduated. Scobee has had some monster games already, including a 36-save game against Quinnipiac and a 42-save performance against New Hampshire.
Scobee also has fantastic pads.
There you have it, five of the best sophomores in the nation. This is in no particular order and, yes, there are plenty of players that we did not get to — like Kristen Campbell from Wisconsin, Tereza Vanišová from Maine, Jayne Lewis from Sacred Heart.
If there is a junior or senior you think does not get the love she deserves, let us know and we will take a look in our next top five article.