WHOK Prepares for Season as ECAC Returns to Full Strength


Photos: Jack Main

Clever Streich

After a season of facing familiar opponents in a four-team conference, the competition level is set to rise for the Quinnipiac Women’s Ice Hockey team with the ECAC returning to full strength.

However, an infusion of fresh and returning talent has helped to bolster the Bobcats roster, as coach Cass Turner expressed confidence and excitement during media day on Wednesday.

“I think our league keeps attracting strong players,” said Turner. “[The ECAC] is going to be the strongest it’s been in years because of the fact that we’re able to bring back some of our players and have deeper lineups.”

Several newcomers made an immediate impact during Quinnipiac’s exhibition game against UConn on Sept. 18, as first-year forwards Maya Labad and Ann-Frédérik Naud picked up their first points as Bobcats en route to a 3-1 victory. 

 “They’re from the same area, so you saw that connection pretty quickly,” Turner said when referring to the Quebec native first-years. “They’re skilled, they’re fast, they play the game at pace, I think they’re really going to add to how we play offense. We are excited to take that step with those players.”

This is far from the first time Labad and Naud have played together, as they have been teammates dating back to Midget AA hockey with the Lanaudière Pionnières. They also played alongside Quinnipiac defenseman Kendall Cooper on Team Canada U18, silver medaling at the 2020 IIHF World Women’s U18 Championship. 

At media day, Turner also spoke of the strength her team has between the pipes, as transfer graduate goaltender Corrine Schroeder joins a competitive goalie room with senior Logan Angers and sophomore Catie Boudiette.

“I feel really good about the strength of our defensive end, and adding Corrine Schroeder into our goalie team,” said Turner. 

Each goaltender played one full period during the exhibition victory against UConn, collectively allowing one goal on 23 shots faced.

“Those three are incredibly strong goaltenders and we’re seeing [this] already in practice,” said Turner. “It’s fun to watch and they’re pushing each other to get better.”

Another welcome sight for the Bobcats was the return of senior defenseman Zoe Boyd, who was inactive during the 2020-21 season due to injury.

Boyd was placed in a new defensive pairing with Cooper, who scored Quinnipiac’s first goal of the year in the exhibition against UConn.

“It is really exciting to have [Boyd] back in the lineup after her injury last year. It was hard for her to be on the sidelines but she was a phenomenal teammate. She has trained incredibly hard to get back, and [she’s] in a place that I didn’t expect her to be at this point.” said coach Turner. “We like to have some comfort in our [defensive] pairs, I could see those two playing together for a while, but you never know.”

Looking ahead, a stacked 12-team ECAC awaits the Bobcats when conference play begins later in October. Despite being voted sixth place in the ECAC Hockey Women’s Preseason Poll, Turner feels confident in her squad’s ability to compete with the best.

“I think rankings are rankings, you have to prove yourself,” said Turner. “I think to our team, it is what it is. I think they feel confident we can win our league. To me, that’s what creates a team that can win a national championship.”

The Bobcats kick off their regular season this weekend with two non-conference games at home against the Maine Black Bears. Puck drop is set for 6 PM on Friday, and 3 PM Saturday afternoon.