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Fans love scoring, and in women’s NCAA hockey there’s no shortage of big plays, smooth passes, or goal lights and the 2019-20 season won’t be any different.
The Clarkson University duo of Elizabeth Giguère and Loren Gabel finished first and second with 73 and 69 points, respectively, in the scoring race in 2018-19. Gabel’s 40 goals led all players and earned her the 2019 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award as the league’s top player.
With Gabel’s graduation, along with a number of other scoresheet regulars, the scoring race will feature some new names and faces come March, and the numbers point to a handful of early favorites to lead the way.
After a 71-point freshman campaign in 2017-18, Giguère led all players last season with 73 points (26 G, 47 A). She managed at least a point in 34 of her 40 games with the Golden Knights and had 24 multi-point contests.
Boston University junior Jesse Compher is the next-highest-scoring returning player with 61 points. Her collegiate career path pegs her as the scoring race frontrunner heading into the 2019-20 season.
Another category, another cameo for Giguère, whose 47 assists also led all players last season. She was a prime reason for the 40-goal output from the aforementioned Gabel. With the loss of Gabel’s finishing touch, Giguère could see a slight dip in the playmaking department.
Playing second fiddle to Giguère once again is Compher and her 44 helpers. But for Compher, linemate and 25-goal scorer Sammy Davis will be back to join her in Boston for the upcoming season.
36 DEFENSIVE POINTS
Double the defensive scoring leader’s totals (and add one) and you’ll end up at Giguère’s totals from last season. Even with scoring being a tad heavier in women’s hockey, offensive blue liners don’t typically find themselves near the top of the scoring list.
But still, when it comes to defensive scoring, Skylar Fontaine leads the pack for returning players after a 36-point campaign (12 G, 24 A). Fontaine is the only returning player to hit the 30-point plateau.
Last season, Gabel led the league with 40 goals, 10 ahead of second-place finisher Jessie Eldridge. Annie Pankowski finished third with 28 goals for the 2019 national champion Wisconsin. With all three graduating back in the spring, a new trio of goal-scorers are in the making.
Enter Giguère, whose 26 goals are tops among returners; she could be on her way for sweeping the three biggest offensive categories. But Princeton’s Maggie Connors also scored 26 goals as a freshman and has the support needed for a monster sophomore season.
3 PRINCETON FORWARDS
Connors, Sarah Fillier, and Carly Bullock are all set to return for Princeton after all three finished among the top-10 point-getters and goal-scorers. The trio combined for 69 goals and 143 points.
The powerhouse at Princeton could be on the verge of the team’s second consecutive, and fourth-ever, NCAA Tournament berth in 2019-20.
1.97 POINTS PER GAME
In the group of early candidates, Fillier could be up for the challenge of dethroning
Giguère after leading the league in points-per-game: a slightly more analytical approach of evaluation.
The freshman finished the season with 57 points (22 G, 35 A), which placed her fourth overall at the end of last season. But with just 29 games played last year, compared to the 37-plus games for each of the top three scorers, her per-game pace was unmatched. Fillier, with help from her two teammates, should be on par with Giguère next spring.
Have a question or a comment for Jacob Messing? You can find him on Twitter @Jacob_Messing.