Women’s team begins to rebuild

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(Top left) Junior Casey Leveillee lines up for a face off at Gutterson Fieldhouse Sept. 27 against McGill University. (Top right) Amanda Pelkey skates on the ice at Gutterson Fieldhouse Oct. 18 against RIT. DAYNA WYCKOFF/The Vermont Cynic

(Top) Junior Casey Leveillee lines up for a face off at Gutterson Fieldhouse Sept. 27 against McGill University. (Bottom) Amanda Pelkey skates on the ice at Gutterson Fieldhouse Oct. 18 against RIT. DAYNA WYCKOFF/The Vermont Cynic

The women’s hockey team is looking to rebuild after losing nearly 50 percent of its scoring production from last year.

Recently the women’s hockey team lost several key players like Amanda Pelkey and Brittany Zuback.

Zuback is currently a student at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College and Pelkey is playing for the Boston Blades, a professional women’s hockey team in Massachusetts.

Pelkey posted a total of 31 points over 34 games last season.

“No one is going to come in and match [Amanda] Pelkey and [Brittany] Zuback’s numbers from last year,” head coach Jim Plumer said. “We think our first-year class is going to help us and make an impact.”

Plumer said underclassmen will need to step up and sophomore forward MacKenzie MacNeil is a prime candidate to do so.

MacNeil scored one goal and six assists last year playing mainly on the third and fourth lines.

“As a first-year, you’re thinking ‘what do I do?’, but now I’m comfortable stepping up and contributing more on the team,” MacNeil said.

The first-year class is highlighted by three players with international experience, including defender Sammy Kolowrat, who played on the U-18 Czech Republic team last year.

“Having played against a diverse group of talented players has given me experience that will help me play against the high level of talent in our division,” Kolowrat said.

“We might not have superstars that have played on Olympic teams, but how we play together on the ice is going to define us,” she said.

Working together will be a necessity this year, with most of the underclassmen getting plenty of ice time, Plumer said.

In order to keep up, the team is going to have to rely on chemistry rather than the star power it had in previous seasons.

“It’s definitely going to be more of a collective effort, not that one standout who’s going to score all our goals for us,” MacNeil said. “Everyone’s going to step up.”

Sophomore Matthew Beltcappellino is a fan of the team and agrees with MacNeil’s sentiments.

“Everyone will have to do their part and I think they will step up and work together to fill the void that they left,” Beltcappellino said.

The team is looking to play differently this year.

MacNeil said the team needs to, “move the puck more.”

Junior goaltender Madison Litchfield will anchor the team again this year, much to the delight of her teammates.

“When you trust your goalies, you’ll make the extra move or make that risky pass because you know they’ve got your back,” Kolowrat said.

Despite losing Pelkey and Zuback, two of the highest scoring players in UVM history, Plumer is optimistic.

“I haven’t been this excited about a hockey team in a long time,” he said.

Last year the team finished with a 15-19-2 record after losing to Boston University  in the women’s Hockey East quarterfinals.

The women’s hockey team lost their exhibition game Sept. 27 against McGill University.

The team is currently 0-2 on the season but look to bounce back Oct. 10 and 11 at home against Clarkson University.