New faces, some familiar, excite Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey

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Connor Ullathorne

Cassandra Turner press conference — Jacob Resnick

Story by Connor Ullathorne

The player who put up the fourth-most points in Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey history has moved onto the NWHL. The name, however, has returned to the university for another four years.

First-year defenseman Maddy Samoskevich joins the Bobcats this year, following in her older sister’s stakes. Both Maddy and Melisa Samoskevich, class of 2019, attended Shattuck-St. Mary’s, one of the premier prep schools in North America. Both played for the U.S. U-18 National Team, and now, both have put on the gold, white and blue sweater.

Don’t expect the two to have similar play styles, and according to Head Coach Cassandra Turner, despite the fact the two look the same, the difference on the ice couldn’t be clearer.

“[Maddy’s] skill set in small space with the puck is different than Melissa,” Turner said. “Melissa is a very powerful, straight-out skater and so is Maddy, but different. I think that you’re very quickly going to stop thinking about the name”.

While Turner wants to forget the name and the prestige that comes with it, the players certainly haven’t. Only a month into her first year the team has given her a nickname — Mamo, mini-Samo.

Turner thinks the younger Samoskevich can move away from her sisters’ shadow.

“She brings her own flair to the game and is really going to help our team and help our D-corps,” Turner said. “I think this is the strongest D-corps that I’ve coached at Quinnipiac”.

That strong defensive core now gets reinforced by Samoskevich and another first-year, Kendall Cooper. It’s not just the blueliners who have gotten an injection of youth. The entire team has been flooded with talent all across the ice from the new class of Bobcats.

You can see it just in the accolades from each individual player. Cooper was the captain of Hockey Canada’s U-18 National Team. First-year Olivia Mobley was awarded Ms. Hockey Minnesota, which is given to the best female high school hockey player in the state.

Countless others were captains of their high school teams, won state titles, selected to development camps, and put up hundreds of points before coming to Hamden. The newest Bobcats have been ranked as one of the top recruiting classes in the nation, and likely one of the best in program history.

Turner says the group is so connected with one another, and it all comes down to one attribute the accolades and awards don’t show — humility.

“This is an incredibly humble group and that’s why I really am expecting big things from them,” she said. “I think they’re going to integrate well into our team quickly”.

The first-years’ humility has helped them to be more comfortable in a new setting in a weird time with each other. Turner says it’s also led them to be more confident in their abilities.

Last year, Turner preached competitiveness to her team. But it wasn’t against the other teams. It was against each other.

No matter what happened, the team always competed against each other in practice. They wanted to be better than their opposite number every single drill or scrimmage. Confidence breeds that competitive nature.

Having a group of young players who are talented, but more importantly, fit into the idea of competing every single day with each other, can lead the team to a lot of success in the coming seasons.