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New Coach Leads Women's Hockey to Good Season

By Esther Jesurum
Team Member

This season has been one of changes for the women's ice hockey team. The most noteworthy change is the new coaching staff. Katia Pashkevitchis is the new head coach and Susie Wee, a former player on the team, is the assistant coach. Pashkevitch brings with her years of experience and proficiency. She is one the top 10 women hockey players in the world and will be playing for the Russian team in the 1998 Olympics in Japan.

Many of MIT's club opponents have joined the Alliance (of varsity teams) and as a result, MIT has a shorter schedule this year. While there is some talk of MIT eventually going varsity, for now the team is concentrating on building a strong base of younger players.

MIT started its season with a decisive victory in a scrimmage against BU (100). MIT then played an official game against BU beating them 40. Tech got one more win against Holy Cross (51) before losing their last two games before the winter break. The first of those was against a much improved Wesleyan (111) and the next was against a comparable team and probably MIT's closest competition, Amherst (24).

It seems the loss against Amherst was merely a matter of not converting our many scoring chances into goals. The play itself was fairly even.

After winter break, the team warmed up for their next meeting with Wesleyan by scrimmaging Boston women's league teams. Pashkevitch had the women practice an advanced defensive strategy, a neutral zone trap (used by the New Jersey Devils in winning the '95 Stanley Cup Championship) to be used against stronger teams. In the Jan. 17 game against Wesleyan, "the trap" held Wesleyan to a 00 draw in the first period. However, Wesleyan changed their offensive strategy for the second and third period, handing Tech a 09 loss.

Two days later, MIT faced Amherst again, determined to get the win they deserved. The first period was disappointing with Amherst stuffing in a goal off of a rebound. MIT came back strong in the second period with Gina Ferrante '98 scoring a beautiful goal through a crowd in front of the net. With one minute left in the second period, Caroline Jesurum G got an exciting go-ahead goal assisted by Lisa Stifelman G.

The third period was a let-down for Tech. Amherst scored another weak goal off of a rebound, tying the game at 22. MIT played only two lines for the remainder of the period, and unfortunately, could not keep the energy up to get the win, with Amherst winning in overtime.

MIT v. Connecticut College 75

In the first minute of the game, Stifelman picked up a loose puck in the MIT defensive zone for a breakaway, scoring a back-handed shot through the five hole. On their next shift out, Jesurum, Jill Depto '97 and Stifelman played a great passing game to break it out and Jesurum scored on a pass back from Stifelman in the corner. The game was a lot closer than it should have been, again because of a breakdown on coverage after rebounds.

Conn College scored on a rebound situation to tighten the gap. Aradhana Narula G used a defender as a screen to get back the two-point lead that would come and go for the entire game. In the second period, Ferrante got a great centering pass from Victoria Herman G who was behind the Conn College net and slammed it home.

MIT gave up another goal on a high glove-side shot by Conn College. MIT then gave up a short-handed goal when the power-play line (Ferrante, Jesurum, Herman) were apparently sleeping on the face-off. Depto later drew an interference penalty and shortly after, Jesurum drew a hooking penalty giving Tech a 5-on-3 power play. Narula won the face-off to Mingfawn Chow '97 who shot, and Cynara Wu G put it away, making up for the sad power-play performance earlier. Ferrante would score again late in the second period when she skated it up and used the defender as a screen to score a beautiful goal from the high slot area. The second period ended 63.

In the third period, Conn College worked hard to get back into the game, and they were the first to score. Wu answered with a shot that made the goalie fall back into her own net with the puck. Conn College got one more to end the game 75.

MIT v. Holy Cross 31

Ferrante started off with one of her traditional goals; skate down ice, go around the defender, and shoot from high slot area.

There were no other goals in the first period despite numerous chances for MIT. Holy Cross had weak goal-tending, but Tech had trouble putting away the rebounds. In the second period Chow set up another goal for Tech by skating around a defender shooting along the ice; Wu put away the rebound. The third period provided one more goal by MIT on a beautiful break-out set up by Depto streaking up the boards for a pass by Stifelman.

Depto was checked when she crossed the blue line, but Stifelman picked up the loose puck and centered it to Jesurum, Jesurum looked ready to shoot but passed it back to Stifelman who scored on a diving play for the puck.

In the last few seconds of the game, Holy Cross scored after a face off inside the MIT zone to spoil the shut-out.

MIT v. Bates 42

In a beautiful and brand new rink at Bates College, MIT got their third straight victory following their four-game losing streak. Bates is a young team so MIT played a bunch of rookies and tried some interesting line changes. The first period had no scoring, despite MIT's dominance on the ice. In the second, Raquel Romano G scored for MIT off of a rebound set up by Narula. Depto got another goal with a short-side shot over the glove-side shoulder. Bates got one in the end of the second period.

In the third period, a goal was scored by a beautiful play with Stifelman passing back to Depto who had a great shot which was saved. Lipson picked up the rebound for her first goal ever for MIT. Later, Jesurum, who played defense in this outing, scored on an end-to-end break, deeking around the last defender (one of Bates' best skaters) and sneaking a wrist shot past their goalie. Bates got one more to end the game at 42.

MIT v. UPenn (81)

Wu started off the scoring assisted by linemate Ferrante. Jesurum and Narula scored another two goals, giving MIT a 30 lead at the end of the first period. At the start of the second period, Wu and Ferrante connected again. Ana Yook scored from the point after receiving a pass from her defensive partner Diane Ho G.

The second period ended with MIT in a commanding 60 lead. UPenn finally scored one with 5 minutes remaining in the third period. Although MIT lead the game 61, they were losing the third period 10.

A common problem for the team was staying focused throughout all three periods. Less than one minute after the UPenn goal, Stifelman and Jesurum scored on a shot roofed over the goalie's head (the two players hit the puck simultaneously). With only 6 seconds left, Depto scored on a strong wrist shot from just over the blue line; MIT won the third period and the game.

MIT v. UMass Amherst (2-3)

After winning their previous three games, MIT suffered a tough loss to UMass. UMass brought along three strong players not on their roster, in anticipation of a tough game with MIT. MIT started out the scoring on a power play goal. Jesurum set up the goal with a strong back-hander from the slot that was put in by Depto on the rebound. An interference penalty on MIT gave UMass a power play and they tied the score. With the clock winding down on the period, MIT tried to regain the lead, with Stifelman forechecking to pick up the puck behind the UMass net.

A shot by Depto in front was denied by the UMass goalie, leaving the score tied at 1 at the end of the first period.

At the start of the second period, UMass got a go-ahead goal to lead 21. MIT tied it up when Yook launched a high wrist shot from the point and Narula put away the rebound on the short side of the goal.

Early in the third period, UMass scored to take the lead again, 32. MIT successfully implemented the trap, stripping UMass of the puck, but then was not able to clear their zone. MIT could not regain the energy of the first period, resulting in a disappointing 23 loss.