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Imagining an NCAA All-Star Tournament

What would a prospective NCAA All-Star tournament look like?

Michelle Jay

With the abrupt end of the college hockey postseason due to the coronavirus pandemic, many of the NCAA’s top talents missed out on the opportunity to prove themselves on the national stage. While nothing can come close to the pride and glory that accompanies a national title, a selection to an (albeit hypothetical) All-Star Game might give some of these players a little bit of a boost.

Ever wondered how your favorite NCAA athletes from different schools would fare on a line together, on one big conference super-team? Look no further — we’ve got you covered with the rules and (the first two) rosters in The Ice Garden’s 2019-2020 NCAA All-Star Tournament.

The Rules

The teams will be managed by conference, with each team rostering 23 players.

Player, Captain, and Coach Selection

Each school in each conference will send at least one representative to the game. The CHA, Hockey East, NEWHA, and WCHA will all send a minimum of two representatives from each school, while the ECAC will send a minimum of one representative per school due to the conference’s size. These players can be any combination of positions (e.g. forward-forward, forward-defender, forward-goaltenders, etc.), but must have competed on a D-I roster in the 2019-2020 NCAA hockey season.

Each conference will also be able to send additional players to the tournament by fan vote, one per conference, who are to be selected after the initial pool of all-stars has been chosen. Furthermore, each team will have a maximum of 23 players per team. Number of positional players on a team may vary, but each team must have at least 12 forwards, 8 defenders, and 2 goalies.

Captains of each conference’s squad are nominated by that conference’s coaches from the selected pool of All-Stars. Captains do not have to be lettered on their school team, but are selected based on their leadership skills and on- and off-ice contributions to their teams.

Coaches of each conference’s team are selected by the governing bodies of each conference, from that conference’s current coaches.

Boston College players gather around coaches Katie Crowley and Courtney Kennedy on the bench during a game. John Quackenbos/BC Athletics

Tournament Play

With five D-I conferences, the NCAA isn’t set up for an optimal round robin style of tournament play. The solution to this, however, is fairly simple — since the CHA and the NEWHA are the two smallest and newest conferences in the NCAA, they will compete in a “Round 1” of tournament play designed to send one of the two teams to the semifinal round. The ECAC, Hockey East, and the WCHA, being the larger and older teams, will compete as designated in the bracket below.

Worthy of note is that the ECAC and the WCHA have been paired up in the semifinal round, meaning that only one of those conference teams will move on to the championship; therefore, the ECAC and the WCHA, who, between them, have produced all the national champions, will not be able to meet in the championship round. This makes that semifinal game a little extra spicy.

The Teams

CHA

CHA All-Star Roster

Position Name School Class
Position Name School Class
D Alexa Vasko Merychurst Jr.
D Courtney Ganske Lindenwood Sr.
D Emily Curlett Robert Morris Jr.
D Izzy Heminger Penn State So.
D Jessica DiGirolamo Syracuse Jr.
D Lindsay Eastwood Syracuse Sr.
D Madison Itagaki RIT So.
D Mae Batherson Syracuse Fr.
D Rene Gangarosa Penn State So.
F Sam Isbell Merychurst Sr.
F Abby Moloughney Syracuse So.
F Emma Nuutinen Mercyhurst Sr.
F Jaycee Gebhard Robert Morris Sr.
F Lexi Templeman Robert Morris Jr.
F Logan Land RIT Sr.
F Maggie Knott Mercyhurst Sr.
F Michaela Boyle Robert Morris So.
F Michele Robillard Merychurst Sr.
F Savannah Rennie Syracuse Sr.
F Sierra Burt Lindenwood Jr.
F Summer-Rae Dobson Merychurst Jr.
G Chantal Burke Penn State Jr.
G Kennedy Blair Mercyhurst Jr.

Forwards

Robert Morris and Merychurst led the CHA in goals scored — and it’s no surprise, considering all five of the conference’s top five forwards come from one of the two schools. The dynamic duo of Jaycee Gebhard and Lexi Templeman, both upperclassmen at Robert Morris, are the conference’s top two in both points and assists. Sophomores Abby Moloughny and Michaela Boyle are the only underclassmen to be selected, though not without reason — Boyle leads the conference in goals (22) and regular season hat tricks (2), and Moloughny is Syracuse’s leading scorer and an All-CHA first team selection. Emma Nuutinen, Merychurst’s top scorer and the conference’s top shooter, has competed for her native Finland since the 2012 U18 Women’s World Championship, and was a member of the silver medal-winning team at the contentious 2019 Women’s World Championship.

Defenders

With Syracuse having allowed the fewest total goals and fewest average goals per game this season, it’s no surprise that three members of their blue line have been selected to represent their conference at the tournament. Senior Lindsay Eastwood and freshman Mae Batherson both earned All-CHA team selections at the end of the season for their two-way prowess, while junior Jessica DiGirolamo qualifies for her team-leading 71 blocks. Also a powerhouse in the back end is Penn State sophomore Rene Gangarosa, who not only led the team’s defenders in points, but also set a single season record for offensive production by a blue liner for the Nittany Lions.

Goaltenders

Chantal Burke and Kennedy Blair get the nod in net for the CHA. As the respective #1 and #2 leaders in GAA (1.69 and 1.98), the two rank in the middle of the pack in terms of shots faced per game due to somewhat inconsistent defense that they more than compensate for. Burke earned her first selection to an all-league team when she was named All-CHA First Team goalie at the end of the regular season.

Fan vote suggestions: Alexa Vasko (Forward, Merychurst), Kayla Martinez (Defender, Lindenwood), Terra Lanteigne (Goaltender, RIT)

Honorable mention: Cierra Paisley (Forward/Goaltender, Lindenwood)

The NEWHA

NEWHA All-Star Roster

Position Name School Class
Position Name School Class
D Arianna Boscia Saint Michael's Sr.
D Bridgette Prentiss Franklin Pierce Sr.
D Jenna Abeyta Post Fr.
D Kelly Solak Sacred Heart So.
D Kennedy Spiering Sacred Heart So.
D Megan Klaus St. Anselm Sr.
D Paula Bergström Long Island Fr.
D Stefanie Caban Franklin Pierce Fr.
F Anna Klein Sacred Heart So.
F Carrigan Umpherville Long Island Fr.
F Haley Parker Franklin Pierce Jr.
F Jayne Lewis Sacred Heart Sr.
F Katelyn Brightbill Franklin Pierce Fr.
F Katy Meehan St. Anselm Jr.
F Maddie Bishop Sacred Heart Sr.
F Maddie Gervais Saint Michael's Jr.
F Matilda af Bjur Long Island Fr.
F Megan Bouveur Long Island Fr.
F Nicole Amato Franklin Pierce Jr.
F Sadie Storm Post Fr.
G Emme Ostrander Franklin Pierce So.
G Frankie Sanchez Sacred Heart So.
G Vika Simons Post Sr.

Forwards

Though Franklin Pierce led the charge offensively in the regular season with a +57 goal differential, no one who caught Long Island University’s fairytale of a postseason would be surprised to find the NEWHA’s All-Star forward corps comprised of three LIU forwards — Carrigan Umpherville, who led all NEWHA rookies in scoring and placed third in the conference points race; Matilda af Bjur, 3x SDHL silver medalist and tied for fourth in conference scoring; and Megan Bouveur, a Canadian who was not only awarded end of season conference honors, but also ranked third on the Sharks squad in points. The NEWHA’s All-Star offense is also buoyed by conference points leader Jayne Lewis and NEWHA First Team honorees Haley Parker and Maddie Bishop.

Defenders

Headlining the all-star defensive corps for the NEWHA is Bridgette Prentiss, a senior defender from Franklin Pierce, who takes the cake as the most offensively productive defender in the entire NCAA, posting 1.45 points per game (for reference, Kristin O’Neill, Chloé Aurard, and Grace Zumwinkle all tallied fewer points per game as forwards). But, as we all know, offensive production does not (necessarily) a good defender make, which is why we’ve shored up the all-star blueline with All-NEWHA First Team honoree Kelly Solak and All-NEWHA Rookie Team honorees Stefanie Caban, Paula Bergström, and Jenna Abeyta.

Goaltenders

It was hard to pick just two of the incredible netminders playing in the NEWHA — so, naturally, we picked three. Sophomore Frankie Sanchez out of Sacred Heart leads the selected trio with a .934 SV% and 1.60 GAA over 19 games, and boasts the highest win percentage of goalies playing more than 8 games. Emme Ostrander, Franklin Pierce’s chosen starter, is close behind in every category, with a .932 SV% and 1.73 GAA. Ostrander was also named to the All-NEWHA Second Team after an impressive sophomore season. Rounding out the pack of all-stars is Vika Simons, a senior from Saint Michael’s who faced the most shots this season by far (765 over 20 games, about 38 shots per game) and earned All-NEWHA First Team honors. Simons made the jump to NCAA Division I after spending two impressive seasons between the pipes for Minnesota Duluth’s women’s club team.

Fan vote suggestions: Amanda Conger (Forward, St. Anselm), Alissa Sullivan (Defender, Saint Michael’s), Michaela Kane (Goaltender, St. Anselm)

All data courtesy of EliteProspects, the NCAA, the USCHO, and league and team websites