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2022 Top 25 Under 25 | 9: Sophie Jaques

Jaques had one of the best seasons by any defender in NCAA history

2022 NCAA Division I Women’s Ice Hockey Championship Photo by Justin Berl/NCAA Photos/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Cracking our rankings for the first time, the 21-year-old defender is coming off a national title and a career year with the Buckeyes.

Last season

Jaques didn’t just have a career year for herself – she had one of the best seasons we’ve seen from any defender in NCAA history. She was absolutely lights out in all situations for the Buckeyes, but her pure production jumps right out at you. With 59 points on the year, Jaques scored the second-highest point total by any defender in the past 20 years, and the fourth-most ever.

She was simply spectacular at dictating play for Ohio State and generating offense for her team – the definition of a program-defining player. Her 59 points are also a single-season record for an OSU defender, and they tie her for the most points by any Ohio State player in a single year. In terms of her direct impact on last season’s squad, it was (obviously) huge. She led the whole team in scoring, and finished tied for third nationally in points and fourth in points per game.

And as the Buckeyes progressed further into the playoffs, Jaques was every bit the player they needed her to be. She scored the game-tying goal late in the third period in the WCHA championship game against Minnesota, and then secured the win for Ohio State with the overtime winner. She helped steer them past a very tough Quinnipiac squad in the quarterfinals with a two-point game. And she churned out minute after minute against Yale and Minnesota Duluth at the Frozen Four to keep control of the game for the Buckeyes and help them earn their first national title.

Major accomplishments

  • She was a Top-3 Finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award this past season.
  • She was named a CCM/AHCA First Team All-American in 2021-22.
  • USCHO named her their Player of the Year in 2021-22.
  • She was also named the WCHA’s Defender of the Year in 2021-22 and took home All-WCHA First Team honors.
  • She was voted to the WCHA Final Faceoff All-Tournament Team and was named the MVP.
  • USCHO honored her as a Third Team All-American in 2020-21.
  • She was named to the All-WCHA Third Team in 2019-20 and 2020-21.
  • She was voted to the WCHA All-Rookie team in 2018-19.

What comes next

After this season, I think Jaques showed what her potential could be, especially in an up-tempo system where possession and active D are prioritized. But ultimately, she’ll want to show that her game can translate well at the international level with Hockey Canada. She’s been in camp before with Hockey Canada’s National Women’s Development Team, and the next step will be to make the most of her opportunities with the national team and at the next level.

Too high or too low

I think this is a very solid ranking for Jaques. She’s an interesting player to me in that, for her first few seasons of college, she was more of a complementary D on her pairing—although her top-pairing upside and ability to log tough minutes was clear. I think Jaques built a really solid foundation to her defensive game first, and then unlocked an entirely new level to her offensive game this past season. A well-rounded defender who shows this much potential to influence a game is deserving of a top-10 ranking in my book.