2013-14 SUNY Potsdam Women's Hockey Season Preview
Last season, the SUNY Potsdam women's hockey team began the year practicing at The Dominic Zappia Community Center in Norfolk, N.Y. and played 12 home games at Clarkson University's Cheel Arena due to the renovations at Maxcy Hall. The Bears closed the year with another double-digit victory total and their third playoff appearance in five seasons. Now, Potsdam is ready and excited to return to the newly renovated Maxcy Ice Arena for the 2013-14 season.
"Being back at home is exciting," said Bears seventh year Head Coach Jay Green. "Just in terms of convenience, it makes for a much better training and social environment for the players. To be playing at home again in a new facility, will be a tremendous emotional boost for all of us. The objective is to ride that wave of emotion, which will lead to a more wins for the program. It was an exciting opportunity to play at Cheel and there is no doubt that the players really enjoyed it. It was a great experience, but it's time to come home!"
The Bears return 11 letter winners this season and will have nine newcomers joining the team. Potsdam will look to fill the void of departing captains Katie Komsa and Brittany Westlake, as well as Nadine Cunningham who proved to be one of the program's most versatile players over the past four years. The biggest challenge will be replacing Jen Conophy, the program's winningest goaltender. Her successor will be counted upon heavily this season.
This edition of the Bears has no shortage of leadership. Senior defenseman Brittany Lucky (Kanata, Ontario/Ottawa Senators) and junior forward Izzy Fayerman (Calgary, Alberta/The Edge) have been selected by their teammates to lead the way. Senior forwards Jenn Crawford (Burlington, Ontario/Stoney Creek Sabres) and Amanda Lucky (Kanata, Ontario/Clarkson University) will serve as assistants. Senior forward Jessica Silveira (Brampton, Ontario/Brampton Thunder) will round out a quality core of leaders.
"All of these players are quality people both inside and outside of the locker room," said Green. "They're committed to the game and that resonates well with the rest of the players."
The Bears' objective is to return to the playoffs again this season. However, an improved offense will be necessary to accomplish that goal.
"Last year we had our best year defensively and our worst year offensively, which was unfortunate," said Green. "It was not due to a lack of effort or opportunity as there was never a shortage in that regard. The ability to finish when the opportunity presents itself will be the key to success in each and every game."
Of the Bears' 11 forwards, five are new to the program. Potsdam returns its top four scorers from a year ago, including Amanda Lucky who finished atop of the list with six goals and nine assists for 15 points in 25 games. Crawford (7g, 5a), Fayerman (7g, 5a) and sophomore Sally Mooney (New Albany, Ohio/Wyoming Seminary) (4g, 8a) all contributed 12 points and played in all 26 games last season. In her first full year with the Bears, junior Emilee Hazelden (Bloomingdale, N.Y./Northwood School) emerged as one of the team's top playmakers with eight assists (1g, 8a). Despite seeing limited time last season, Silveira made her presence felt with eight points (3g, 5a) in just 11 games.
Natasha Allen (Aspen Colorado/Ontario Hockey Academy) (2g, 2a) will be the lone sophomore forward returning. She will be counted upon to be a solid defensive player and continue to improve her goal-scoring totals.
Jordan Ott (Hilton, N.Y./Rochester Edge) leads a group of promising freshman onto the Maxcy Ice this season.
"Jordan is a player that was sought after by many top Division III teams and we were fortunate enough to have her come to Potsdam," Green said. "We are hopeful that Jordan will be a factor in regards to goals being scored."
Roberta Beatty (Prince Albert, Saskatchewan/Ontario Hockey Academy) traveled all the way from Saskatchewan to play NCAA hockey and is joined by three local prospects. Amanda Peterson (West Chazy, N.Y./Chazy Flyers) and Alexis Guay (Chazy, N.Y./Chazy Flyers) were teammates on the Chazy Flyers and Tupper Lake native Emily Kriwox (Tupper Lake, N.Y./Tupper Lake HS) played for the Lumberjacks. Guay and Kriwox will also see some time on defense.
Brittany Lucky and sophomore Katie Marsman (Wantagh, N.Y./Wyoming Seminary) are the veteran defenseman returning to the Bears' blue line this season. Lucky has adeptly anchored Potsdam's defense for three years and provided some scoring punch as well (12g, 22a, 75gp). Marsman picked up two assists in 25 games in 2012-13 and was named the team's most improved player last year.
Sophomores Sarah Nelson (Highlands Ranch,Colorado) and Rachel Grefke (Livonia, Mich./Victory Honda) will make the transition from forward to defense this year. Both have experience at the position and will provide a much needed balance on defense.
Freshmen Kaylen Van Wagner (Redhook, N.Y./Hotchkiss Prep) and Alyssa Brockmann (Fariport, N.Y./Rochester Edge) are the new faces on the Bears' blue line.
"Defensively, we're going to be very young," said Green. "Alyssa and Kaylen demonstrate a great deal of growth potential and time will show how well they adjust to this level."
Potsdam will have two new goaltenders between the pipes this season. Sophomore Alexane Rodrigue (Monkland, Ontario/Bemidji State), a transfer from Division I Bemidji, will be counted upon to replace Conophy.
"Alexane is a very solid goaltender," Green said. "She didn't see as much time with Bemidji State last year as she had hoped, but she'll definitely see more than her share of starts in goal this year with us. We're counting on her to show us the way in goal."
Potsdam native Abby Tardelli (Potsdam, N.Y./North Country Ice Storm) will compete for her time in the crease this year as well.
"Abby is a very capable goaltender who is very athletic and has a lot of growth potential to be cultivated," Green said. "Abby will surely go through an adjustment period as all goaltenders do. With her passion to compete I am confident that she will acclimate to this level over time."
In addition to the always difficult ECAC West schedule which features NCAA Champion Elmira and national semifinalist Plattsburgh, the Bears will face a mix of old and new teams in nonconference matchups. Potsdam will face Saint Michael's and a brand new SUNY Canton program three times each. The Bears will also play a home-and-home series with Hamilton as well as make a trip to Castleton State to face the Spartans.
Potsdam opens the season and re-opens the Maxcy Ice Arena on Nov. 2 with a showdown against Saint Michael's at 2:30 p.m.