Senior forward shines for women’s hockey

Maddie Allen, Staff Writer

Senior forward MacKenzie MacNeil was named Hockey East Player of the Week following her strong play in the Theresa Humes Invitational.

In the Catamounts’ game against Ryerson Dec. 29, MacNeil tallied three goals in the 8-2 win.

“On the ice, Mackenzie brings exceptional speed to our team. She is easily one of the fastest players in the league and her ability to pressure the other team with her speed allows us to play an aggressive style,” head coach Jim Plumer said.

MacNeil, a native of Richmond Hill, Ontario, has seen significant play time since her first season, and played in all 37 games during her sophomore year.

Plumer said McNeil has developed as a player since her first year.

Mack is more confident and has become much more dynamic with the puck,” Plumer said. “She used to rely simply on her speed and one v. one abilities, and she now changes speed and protects the puck much better.”

She began her hockey career at age six, and when looking to continue playing in college, she said Burlington was a factor in her decision to attend UVM.

“I chose UVM because of the balance it provided me between both school and hockey. I was looking for a school that I would have success on the ice and in the classroom,” MacNeil said.

The Catamounts currently have a record of 6-13-4 and are 3-9-3 in conference play. MacNeil has tallied seven goals and five assists so far this year.

“This season so far has not been as successful as we had hoped on the scoresheet, but I believe the most important part is the improvements we have shown as we have grown together over the course of the season,” MacNeil said.

Plumer echoed her statement and hopes that the Catamounts can peak during playoffs.

The season has been a little more uneven than any of us would like, but we have shown some major flashes of brilliance with wins over Clarkson and Minnesota, who combine for the last six national championships,” Plumer said.

Looking forward, MacNeil said that she hopes the Catamounts can find their way into the Hockey East Final Four.

“My goals individually are most importantly to have fun and make the most of every game I have left, take what I have learned over my almost four seasons playing hockey at UVM and to have a strong finish to my college career,” MacNeil said.

MacNeil said she is still figuring out what she wants to do after graduating, and whether or not she will continue her hockey career.

“I have not made any solid plans at this point — I know that I want to go home to Toronto after graduation and begin my working career,” MacNeil said. “I am undecided about my future hockey career, I plan to explore my options when the time comes.”

After her four years at UVM, MacNeil has a lot of memories, but one stands out for her.

“My favorite hockey memory at UVM would probably be when we beat Clarkson at home this season,” MacNeil said. “There’s no better feeling to get the win as an underdog, the way our team came together and how we stepped up and took it to them was amazing.”

The Catamounts play Northeastern at Gutterson Fieldhouse on Friday in a Hockey East Conference game.