It’s an interesting year for newcomers in women’s college hockey. The pandemic last season shut down a lot of games, including cancelling the IIHF World U-18s, so it was tougher than usual to get a feel for who the top incoming prospects in the women’s game were.
But now, almost two months into the season, some top players are starting to emerge out of this year’s freshman class. Here is a sampling of six players that have impressed through the early stages of this season.
Peyton Hemp, Forward, Minnesota 12 games 5-10-15
Hemp is a high-motor player that was expected to bring some energy and grit to the Minnesota line-up, but the fact that she has been able to pick up so much of the scoring slack left by Grace Zumwinkle and Abbey Murphy centralizing with Team USA has been a pleasant surprise for Minnesota.
Haley Winn, Defenseman, Clarkson 14 games 3-9-12
It’s no surprise to see Winn making an immediate impact in the college game. She played a significant role for Team USA at the 2019 and 2020 World U-18 Championships with a Covid cancellation in 2021 keeping her out of the exclusive three-tournaments club. Winn is a strong skater and a smart, steady presence that can drive an offense.
Abby Newhook, Forward, Boston College, 11 games 7-4-11
Newhook is a good skater with high-end skill. There was a slight adjustment period for in her first games with Boston College as she learned what she can and can’t get away with at this level of play, but appears to have turned the corner with five points scored over three games last week.
Sarah Wozniewicz, Forward, Wisconsin, 14 games 7-4-11
It can be difficult for freshmen to stand out on the perennially loaded Wisconsin roster. Look no farther than Wozniewicz’ teammates Makenna Webster and Casey O’Brien, who posted modest point totals last season as freshmen seeing third line ice time, and are now at the top of the national scoring leaderboard in their second season.
Wozniewicz is in a similar position this season, but still managing to put up decent scoring totals while featuring in a second or third line role most nights.
Rory Guilday, Defenseman, Cornell, 8 games 2-4-6
Transitioning to the college game can be particularly difficult for young defensemen, but Guilday is having success on both the offensive and defensive ends while playing big minutes for Cornell early this season thanks to her exceptional skating ability.
Abby Hustler, Forward, St. Lawrence, 13 games 2-7-9
Hustler leads the Saints in scoring so far this season thanks to very good vision and playmaking skills. Her speed and instincts have also made her a dangerous threat on the penalty kill.