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2021-22 NCAA Preview: ECAC, part 2

Previewing the season outlook for Colgate, St. Lawrence, Clarkson, Quinnipiac, Cornell, and Princeton

Justin Wolford/Colgate

Here’s how the ECAC season looks to shape up for these six teams: Colgate, St. Lawrence, Clarkson, Quinnipiac, Cornell, and Princeton.

Colgate

Key Losses

  • Shelby Wood, D — Led the team with 27 blocked shots last season.

Key Returners

  • Danielle Serdachny, Jr., F — Colgate’s offensive leader who posted 21 points in 23 games last season.
  • Kalty Kaltounkova, So., F — Finished second on the squad in scoring as a rookie with 18 points, and tied for first with 12 assists.
  • Noemi Neubauerová, Sr., F — Tied for the team lead with nine goals and finished third with 17 points last season.
  • Sammy Smigliani, Jr., F — Posted 16 points to finish fourth on the team last season.
  • Delani MacKay, Sr., F — Very reliable top-nine center for the Raiders.
  • Rosy Demers, Sr., F — The Raiders’ fifth scorer last season with 14 points.
  • Tanner Gates, Sr., D — One of the best defenders in the ECAC; led the team with 12 assists last season.
  • Allyson Simpson, Jr., D — Finished second among Colgate blue-liners in points with nine.
  • Kayle Osborne, So., G — Had an excellent rookie year, posting a .926 save percentage and 1.70 goals against average.

Season Outlook

With their starting goaltender back and all 15 of their top scorers back from last season, Colgate looks to be in great position to defend their ECAC title (although the field will be much more competitive this time with a full 12 teams). Serdachny, Kaltounkova, Neubauerová, and Smigliani all have the skill to be big difference makers, and the Raiders should be strong up the middle with Serdachny, Demers, and Delani MacKay all returning. Consistency and depth are two key things to keep an eye on, as Colgate’s Czechs are likely to miss a good chunk of time this season in preparation for the Winter Olympics.

Their blue line is led by Tanner Gates, who fits perfectly into Colgate’s high-flying style of play. Simpson and Sydney Bard both turned in really strong sophomore years last season as well, and Osborne has already shown herself to be an above-average goaltender with just one year under her belt. Rookie Rachel Golnitz is a nice pick up on the blue line, and Katie Chan and Neena Brick should add to an already charged offense.

St. Lawrence

Key Losses

  • Julia Gosling, F — The Saints’ best player will be centralizing this season with Team Canada, hoping to make the final Olympic roster.
  • Anna Segedi, F — SLU’s leading scorer last season, she’ll be playing with the KRS Vanke Rays and hoping to make China’s Olympic team.
  • Taylor Lum, F — She’ll also be competing for a spot on China’s Olympic team this year and had six points in 13 games as a rookie.

Key Returners

  • Shailynn Snow, Jr., F — Ranked third on the team with eight points in 13 games played last season, after finishing second in scoring as a rookie.
  • Rachel Bjorgan, So., F — Had seven points in 13 games as a first-year player.
  • Skylar Podvey, Gr., F/D — Offensive-minded defender with a high skill level who may be slotted into different roles this season to fill in some gaps.
  • Kristina Bahl, So., D — Led the St. Lawrence defense in scoring with five points as a rookie.
  • Lucy Morgan, Jr., G — Played really well as SLU’s starter last season, posting a .933 save percentage and 2.21 goals-against average.

Season Outlook

St. Lawrence almost pulled off an ECAC championship victory in a wild conference season in 2019-20, but it’s going to be tougher to compete this year. I fully expect the Saints to be in the mix in the top-eight, but they’re losing some of their best offensive players, who are trying to make Olympic team rosters. Still, there’s reason to be positive here. St. Lawrence returns a large chunk of last season’s team, with players like Skylar Podvey, Jessica Poirier, and Brittney Gout all taking their fifth-year option.

The Saints have also added an interesting piece: Nara Elia, a top-six player for BU, has transferred in for her fifth year. Lucy Morgan is a bona fide starter who can help turn the tides of games, and SLU will ice a veteran team in front of her—that may be an advantage against an ECAC field that features so many brand-new faces.

Clarkson

Key Losses

  • Elizabeth Giguère, F — The former Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner transferred to UMD for her fifth year.
  • Avery Mitchell, D — Solid top-four defender throughout her Clarkson career and chipped in 6 points as a senior.
  • Tia Stoddard, F — Good middle-six forward who played a versatile role throughout her career.
  • Lauren Bernard, D — Played a regular role for the Golden Knights on the back end as a sophomore but transferred to Ohio State this offseason.
  • Marie-Pier Coulombe, G — Started 10 games last season as a sophomore; as a rookie, posted a .949 save percentage.

Key Returners

  • Caitrin Lonergan, Gr., F — Led the Golden Knights in scoring last season with 14 goals in 17 games.
  • Gabrielle David, Jr., F — Tied for second on the team with 20 points and finished first in assists with 15.
  • Brooke McQuigge, Jr., F — Solid center for Clarkson who finished fourth on the team with 18 points last year.
  • Nicole Gosling, So., D — Led the Golden Knights defense with 14 points and 40 blocked shots as a rookie.
  • Stephanie Markowski, Jr., D — Tallied 11 points last year and picked up big minutes as a sophomore.
  • Michelle Pasiechnyk, So., G — Started nine games as a rookie last season and posted a .942 save percentage and 1.71 goals against average.

Season Outlook

Last season was not quite up to Clarkson’s typically lofty expectations, but I think they’ve got a great chance to improve this year, even with the very notable loss of Giguère to the transfer wire. Lonergan and David are both dynamic offensive talents in their own right, and Clarkson adds sophomore Anne Cherkowski and rookie Laurence Frenette to the mix; both can be impact players. I love Gosling’s potential on the back end and think their defensive corps has a solid foundation between her and Markowski.

The Golden Knights also have some key veteran pieces in Brooke McQuigge and incoming transfer Kristina Schuler. They’ll have options in net, too, between Pasiechnyk and Amanda Zeglen. I think they’ll live up to the typical Clarkson identity—strong play defensively, effective scoring on the rush. An ECAC championship could be in the cards this season, but they’ll be facing stiff competition.

Quinnipiac

Key Losses

  • Taylor Girard, F — Scored seven goals to lead the team and finished second with 16 points in 2020-21.
  • Grace Markey, F — Solid veteran player who scored eight points in 16 games for the Bobcats last year.

Key Returners

  • Logan Angers, Sr., G — She was solid in net last season with a .908 save percentage and 2.44 goals-against average.
  • Lexie Adzija, Sr., F — Led the Bobcats with 12 assists and 18 points in 2020-21.
  • Taylor House, Gr., F — Returning fifth-year player who finished third in scoring last season with 15 points.
  • Renee Saltness, Gr., F — Also tallied up 15 points as a senior last season.
  • Kendall Cooper, So., D — Played really well as a rookie to finish second on the D in scoring with nine points.
  • Courtney Vorster, Sr., D — Led the D in scoring with 10 points in 16 games.
  • Kate Reilly, Jr., D — Led the team in blocked shots and picked up big minutes on D.
  • Maddy Samoskevich, So., D — Turned in a solid rookie year as a top-four defender.
  • Zoe Boyd, Sr., D — Missed the entire 2020-21 season due to injury but has top-pairing potential.

Season Outlook

I think this is going to be a very strong season in Hamden. Quinnipiac loses very little up front and has zero losses on the defensive end. The Bobcats have two strong options in net between Angers and Corinne Schroeder, who transferred in from BU. Their defense is jam-packed with top-four options, making it one of the deepest top-six units in the country, let alone the conference. They have skilled players returning up front but the real X factor will be the players they’re bringing in, namely forwards Ann-Frédérik Naud and Maya Labad, who are elite offensive talents.

There are virtually no holes to poke in this Quinnipiac roster. It might take some time to find the right balance throughout the lineup, but on paper, this is one of the best teams in the conference. I think there’s an excellent chance the Bobcats will be competing for first place if all goes well.

Cornell

Note: Cornell did not play the 2020-21 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key Losses

  • Jaime Bourbonnais, D — First Team All-American as a senior in 2019-20 who led the Big Red in scoring with 41 points.
  • Micah Zandee-Hart, D — Second Team All-ECAC defender who notched 7 goals and 32 points as a senior.
  • Maddie Mills, F — Tied for the team lead in scoring in 2019-20 and opted to transfer out for her senior season.
  • Kristin O’Neill, F — Another top forward for the 2019-20 team, she led Cornell with 25 goals and notched 40 points.
  • Paige Lewis, F — Scored at nearly a point-per-game pace as a senior two years ago.
  • Willow Slobodzian, D — Notched 17 points from the blue line as a junior two years ago.
  • Kendra Nealey, D — A key piece of Cornell’s blue line who transferred to Wisconsin for her senior year.

Key Returners

  • Lindsay Browning, Gr., G — Posted a spectacular .952 save percentage and 0.91 goals against average in 2019-20.
  • Gillis Frechette, Sr., F — The team’s leading returning scorer from 2019-20, with 17 goals and 30 points.
  • Izzy Daniel, Jr., F — Had a solid rookie year with 14 assists and 17 points.
  • Kaitlyn Isaac, Jr., D — One of just three defenders returning from the 2019-20 squad.

Season Outlook

There is an almost unbelievable amount for Cornell to replace from its nation-leading 2019-20 team. Their entire top-four unit on the blue line has since departed, and along with the players named above, they also lost Grace Graham and Amy Curlew to graduation, meaning there are five key offensive slots that need to be filled. Their blue line as a whole is a largely unproven group, and I expect some growing pains there in particular.

Still, there are some likely gems to be found in their past two incoming classes. Ashley Messier is almost certainly going to play a big role right away on the back end, and she has the skill to make an immediate difference. Rory Guilday previously won a gold medal with the U.S. U18s; Makenna Chokelal has been in camp with Canada’s U18s. Up front, Leah MacSween and Claudia Yu are strong additions. Goaltender Lindsay Browning has posted excellent numbers throughout her career and could be a major X factor this season. There are pieces here for Cornell to be successful, but they’re likely going to have to accomplish a lot by committee. With no game action for the entire 2020-21 season, I’m expecting this to be an adjustment year for the Big Red, though they should still compete in the top half of the conference.

Princeton

Note: Princeton did not play the 2020-21 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key Losses

  • Sarah Fillier, F — Their best forward of the past two years and one of the best centers in the country will be centralized with Team Canada this season; notched 57 points as a junior.
  • Carly Bullock, F — Scored 30 goals as a senior in 2019-20 and finished second with 54 points.
  • Claire Thompson, D — The Tigers’ No. 1 defender in 2019-20 who led the blue line with 23 points and 57 blocks.
  • Annie MacDonald, F — Solid top-six forward for the Tigers throughout her career and chipped in 13 points in her final season.
  • Steph Neatby, G — As a senior, started 19 games and posted a .924 save percentage and 1.92 goals against average.

Key Returners

  • Rachel McQuigge, Sr., G — Posted a .933 save percentage and 1.51 goals against average two years ago.
  • Maggie Connors, Jr., F — Finished third on the team in scoring with 47 points two years ago.
  • Sharon Frankel, Sr., F — Strong center and faceoff specialist who tallied 24 points in 32 games as a junior.
  • Annie Kuehl, So., F — Scored 15 points as a rookie in 2019-20.
  • Mariah Keopple, Jr., D - Posted 16 points from the blue line as a sophomore.
  • Kate Monihan, So., D — Played a top-four role as a first year defender in 2019-20.

Season Outlook

With Fillier away with Team Canada and Bullock and Thompson graduated, Princeton may lack some of the explosiveness that’s defined them for the past few seasons. But there’s a good mix of veteran and rookie talent here that should shape into a strong ECAC squad once again. Connors is a dynamic offensive player with a great offensive touch, and Frankel will get more of a featured role this season up front. Keopple is a more than solid anchor for the blue line, and Monihan, Stef Wallace, Solveig Neunzert, and Dominique Cormier make up an above-average group around her.

The Tigers also added two key offensive pieces in Sarah Paul, a rookie who had a strong camp with Hockey Canada over the summer, and Ellie Marcovsky, a Robert Morris transfer who chipped in a good amount of offense for the Colonials. And Rachel McQuigge is a highly capable starter in net. Princeton should compete firmly in the top-four of the ECAC and has an outside chance at the ECAC crown.