The Golden Hawk Women’s Hockey team will begin exhibition play in Columbus, Ohio against the Ohio State Buckeyes on Friday night with 15 returning players and 6 new faces in the lineup. The road trip will also include a stop in Niagara Falls, New York to take on the Niagara Purple Eagles at 2:00 PM on Sunday afternoon.
Fifth year player and team captain Andrea Bevan will anchor an extremely strong defensive unit that includes two fourth year standouts; Vanessa Bennett and Kate Psota along with third year veterans Stephanie Crarey and Allison Williams. Second year Alicia Martin and third year Daniela Di Felice will be two versatile players who will add great depth on the blue line throughout the season.
Once again goaltending will be rock solid as Liz Knox has emerged as one of the premiere goaltenders in the country and a member of the Team Canada under 22 team. Rookies Chelsea Clarke and Jessica Toth join Knox to round out the Hawks’ goaltending team.
Up front, the fire power will come from all star fourth year players Lauren Barch and Andrea Ironside, joined by second year Heather Fortuna on one line. The trio of second year players Katherine Shiriff, Kaley Powers and rookie Abby Rainsberry will form another high scoring line. Third year Laura Bartolini will team up with rookies Vanessa Schabkar and Caitlin Muirhead to form a formidable two way line. Rookie Jessica Berrigan along with second year Candace Kellough and third year Daniela Difelice will be a solid line when everyone is healthy. Kellough is currently battling a lower body injury and Di Felice has a couple of ailments slowing her down.
Head coach RICK OSBORNE and assistant coach Cindy Eadie once again have great support staff in place. Jim Rayburn returns as head scout and an assistant coach; Bruce Chapman is back as an assistant coach; Carolyn Shier returns as team manager and assistant trainer; Jamie Carlson and Dr. Jill Tracey manage the physical and mental preparation needs of the players.
The Hawks are poised to deliver another exciting season as summarized by Coach Osborne: “We have added some speed and a little more scoring punch this year. As always our rookies will play and make significant contributions to our success. I believe we have everything in place to once again be one of the top teams in the tough OUA conference in 2008/2009.”