Remember the names – Meet QU WHOK’s new recruits


Photo: Liz Flynn

Steven McAvoy

“No team is ever the same.”

COVID-19 has caused a dramatic identity change across the world, and the Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey is no different.

After a shortened 2019-20 season, the Bobcats graduated a senior unit that accounted for 133 points, 359 blocked shots, goaltending accolades that rank third all-time in shutouts & save percentage, as well as fifth in goals-against average. Not to mention two captains and an assistant captain have departed.

Regardless of the losses, head coach Cass Turner acknowledges that as the identity shifts, the team finds a different – and better – identity than before.

At the forefront of that new identity are some unfamiliar names: Catie Boudiette, Kendall Cooper, Olivia Mobley, Maddy Samoskevich, Nina Steigauf, Kate Villenueve, and Sophie Urban.

They may sound new now, but by the end of the season, they’ll become household names.

Catie Boudiette – Goaltender

Growing up playing boys hockey, Boudiette has become a household name in Connecticut. Standing at 5-foot-10, the Redding native finished her senior season with a 17-3-0 record at the Kent School.

“[Boudiette is] super athletic and is going to really challenge this group [in net],” Turner said.

She’ll team up with junior Logan Angers between the pipes this season looking to continue what has been one of the strongest goaltending units in the ECAC.

Olivia Mobley – Forward

“She skates like [Nicole] Costa but is the size of Lexie Adzija,” Turner said. High praise coming from her head coach, considering Nicole Costa is the second-highest point-getter in program history.

Mobley’s résumé is impressive to say the least. She was a captain her senior year, a three-time All-Conference & All-State honoree from ’18-’20, three-time state champion, and the 2019-20 Ms. Hockey Minnesota winner. Mobley has the potential to impact the Bobcats offense from the get-go.

Kate Villeneuve – Forward

The Ontario native will join the Bobcats as yet another strong offensive force to be reckoned with. Drawing comparisons to sophomore Sadie Peart, Villeneuve has a terrific ability to see both the ice and the net, reeling in 86 points (30 goals, 56 assists) through three seasons in juniors. With her immense offensive skill, she’ll wiggle her way into a strong offensive unit that averaged roughly three goals per game last season.

Nina Steigauf – Forward

The first thing that jumped out to Cass Turner about Steigauf is her presence on the ice; “she is a competitor,” Turner said. “She has a nose for the net, wants to score, has good timing, and is so smart off the puck.”

In her final two years at Hill-Murray in Minnesota, Steigauf recorded 85 points (after scoring 36 her first two years), was a two-time captain, and was named player of the year by the Pioneer Press. Steigauf will look to build on her recent growth and make an immediate impact this season.

Sophie Urban – Forward

Urban’s development in high school is what makes her a unique addition to Quinnipiac.

In four years at Wayzata High in Plymouth, Minnesota, Urban tripled her point total from freshman year (13) to her senior (41). That consistent development is what netted her a three-time selection to the U.S National Development camp, three all-conference selections, and two seasons as captain of the Trojans.

Just like Steigauf, Urban will find herself in a prime position to continue her offensive tear in Hamden.

Kendall Cooper – Defense

Whenever a resume says captain of the Canadian U18 National Team, eyes start to turn.

“She’s already showing poise with the puck,” Turner said. “She skates incredibly well, she’s so smooth and can find plays that not many players can.”

A two-time Team Ontario selection, Cooper brings to the table a keen defensive skillset and a leadership background that’ll not only close the gap on the ice but will emit instant life for her teammates.

Maddy Samoskevich – Defense

Rounding out the incoming first-year class is one of the more recognizable names of the class.

Sister of former forward Melissa Samoskevich ‘19, Maddy will look to supply new energy to the Bobcats defensive core. At 5-foot-5, ‘Mamo,’ as Turner calls her, grabbed 107 points in four seasons at Shattuck St. Mary’s Prep, making an additional appearance as a part of the U.S U18 National Team in 2019.

“You look at her through a cage you think ‘oh that’s a Samoskevich,” Turner said. “But she’s so responsible defensively and her skillset in small spaces is different than Melissa.

“You’ll very quickly stop thinking about the name and see that she brings her own flair to the game and is going to help our defensive core.”

The 2020-21 Quinnipiac women’s hockey team will be different than in recent years. A new identity will take mold, new leaders will emerge, and Cass Turner is confident her first-year Bobcats will flourish instantly.

“Nowhere written in the accolades does it say humble,” Turner said. “That’s one thing that I would say about every one of them.”

“This is an incredibly humble group and that’s why I really am expecting big things from them. I really think they’ll integrate quickly into our group… This is an incredibly talented group of first years and their characters are strong.”