The undefeated women’s ice hockey team (2-0-1, 1-0-1 NESCAC) hopes to continue its hot start against Saint Anselm this Saturday.

Goalies Kerri St. Denis ’19 and Sophia Lattanzio ’19 have played key roles in the team’s success, conceding only three goals in the first three games.

This week, St. Denis was named NESCAC Player of the Week are averaging 1.44 goals against and a .946 save percentage in her first two games. She is the first Bowdoin goalie to earn the honor since 2014. After making her program debut in the team’s season opener at Colby, St. Denis held the Holy Cross offense to one goal last Saturday with 33 saves.

Lattanzio made her season debut in a shutout victory against Colby in the team’s home-opener. According to Head Coach Marissa O’Neil, the dynamic duo of St. Denis and Lattanzio will provide the team with a key advantage of flexibility and depth in goal throughout the season.

“If we were to keep that one goal against average, we’d be pretty happy and definitely win some games this year,” O’Neil said. “It’ll be great if we continue to have two goalies. I think it makes it more challenging for our opponents—especially when we have back-to-back NESCAC games—if we can alternate goalies. Two different styles of play can throw an opponent off.” 

The team has found early success through avoiding injuries and focusing on a key offensive tactic that involves strategic positioning in front of the opponent’s goal to create scoring opportunities.

“It is a big change from last year that people are getting themselves in those positions,” O’Neil said.  “It may not be a pretty goal, hit off a shinpad and you may not even see it, but you are creating traffic, getting to rebounds, screening the goalie, and all those things can make a difference when you are trying to put a goal in.”

In addition to change in strategy, the roster has shifted. The young team features only eight upperclassmen. However, the developments have not hurt the team’s performance. 

“We have three seniors, five juniors and the rest are underclassmen, which is hard in terms of experience but it’s worked shockingly well because everyone has just stepped up,” captain Jess Bowen ’17 said. “It’s going surprisingly well to have a such young team playing like they have the experience in games that are really hard to play.”

Strong chemistry and communication have contributed to the team’s early success. Despite the team’s youth, the team has communicated exceptionally well both on and off the ice.

“We’ve done a lot more of that this year and a lot more as a team meeting up and talking about what we want out of this season,” Bowen said. “We want a culture that’s competitive but not cut-throat and we talk about not being comfortable and holding each other accountable.”

O’Neil added that team culture can boost confidence, which translates to strength on the ice. 

“I think as we began to develop more chemistry, confidence is going to pick up and no matter the sport and no matter the level, confidence can make or break you,” she added.

The team will use its growing chemistry to build on its early success.

“We are not looking to peak in November,” O’Neil said. “This year we just want to get better week to week. I’m really proud of the team culture off the ice right now and I think it translates to success on the ice. We have momentum.”