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Seniors setting new heights

These seniors are making an early impact for their teams

Merrimack Athletics

Veteran players are often relied on to shoulder a bigger burden and help lead the way for their teams, and it’s no different in the NCAA. These seniors are surpassing career marks and stepping up early on in the season to help pave the way for their squads.

Liz Auby, Goaltender, Colgate: Auby is in her first year as the Raiders’ starting netminder and has compiled a .942 save percentage, which ranks fifth in the nation, to go along with a 1.50 goals against average and two shutouts in 14 games played.

Catherine Crawley, Forward, UConn: Crawley had a career year in 2018-19 with 25 points, and is on pace to best that for the Huskies this season. Her 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) are second on the team and seventh overall in Hockey East. She’s riding a five-game point streak with three goals and nine points to help the team to a 3-1-1 record, including a win over Boston College.

Kayla Friesen, Forward, Clarkson: Friesen has missed five games, but in the nine games she’s played, she’s scored 12 points (six goals, six assists). The transfer from St. Cloud State has been a really nice addition to the Golden Knights’ line-up, and is already only seven points away from her previous single-season career high (19 points last year).

Jaycee Gebhard, Forward, Robert Morris: Gebhard’s production is nothing new; she led College Hockey America last season with 19 goals, 32 assists, and 51 points. This year, she ranks fourth in the country with 26 points (eight goals, 18 assists). She helped the Colonials put up a strong fight against Minnesota and Clarkson. Then, when they needed some conference wins after a six-game non-conference skid, she notched a goal and eight points to lead RMU to a sweep of Penn State.

Mikyla Grant-Mentis, Forward, Merrimack: Grant-Mentis currently sits at the top of Hockey East’s goal-scoring list with 12 goals. She’s churning up offense in what’s otherwise been a slow start to the year for the Warriors, recording 67 shots on goal, tied for the conference lead.

Emma Nuutinen, Forward, Mercyhurst: Nuutinen is off to a strong start for the Lakers this season. She’s currently tied for the conference lead with nine goals on the season, and ranks second with 18 points. Nuutinen also ranks second in the CHA with 56 shots on goal.

Michaela Pejzlová, Forward, Clarkson: Pejzlová has been a very consistent offensive player for the Golden Knights, and hasn’t wavered at all this year. She’s fourth among ECAC players with 16 points (five goals, 11 assists), and leads the league with 189 faceoff wins (third among all players nationally.

Bridgette Prentiss, Defender, Franklin Pierce: Prentiss is tied for the NEWHA lead in scoring among blueliners, with four goals and seven assists for 11 points. Eight of those 11 points have come on the power play.

Sarah Potomak, Forward, Minnesota: Potomak posted two 50-point seasons to start off her Gophers career, but regressed as a junior to a mark of 26 points, which put her eighth on the team. So far as a senior, she’s got 10 goals and 10 assists for 20 points, which is third-highest on the team and one point off of Minnesota’s scoring lead. She’s riding a five-game point streak and put up a combined five goals and nine points in the Gophers’ last two series, against Minnesota and Bemidji State.

Abby Roque, Forward, Wisconsin: Roque is second among all players nationally in scoring, so far piling up 12 goals, 16 assists, and 28 points this year. Her four game-winning goals lead the country. Roque has built up a reputation as a stellar passer for the Badgers, but she’s showcasing even more dynamic talent this year. With 12 goals, she’s already surpassed her career high in a single season.

Sydney Scobee, Goaltender, Minnesota: Scobee split the workload last season but has picked up 13 of 14 starts for the Gophers so far this year. With the bump in minutes, she’s posted a .939 save percentage and 1.42 goals against average, and she’s tied for the national lead with 11 wins.

Mekenzie Steffen, Defender, Wisconsin: Steffen is leading the way on the blue line for the Badgers, who suffered a couple of significant losses on the back end to graduation. She’s third in the WCHA in overall scoring and first among all defenders nationally with 18 points (four goals, 14 assists).

Abby Thiessen, Defender, St. Cloud State: Thiessen is well on her way to a career year in scoring for the Huskies. Her four goals and nine points lead the team, and that point total is good enough for sixth in the WCHA among defenders. She also leads SCSU with 21 blocked shots.

Carlee Turner, Forward, New Hampshire: Turner is tied for the team lead with 12 points, and has helped the Wildcats to third place in the Hockey East standings so far this season. Her seven power-play points are tied for the team lead, and she’s also dominating in the faceoff circle, with a nation-leading 216 draws won.

Kayla Vespa, Forward, St. Lawrence: Vespa has already surpassed her career high in points in a single season, with eight goals, 10 assists, and 18 points on the year. That mark leads St. Lawrence and puts her third in the ECAC in scoring.