Shamrocks Alumna and Norwich University sophomore Amanda Conway, making a move to go around a defenseman, set a Norwich University record for goals this year. Norwich University photo by Mark Collier.
By Dave Dyer
[Shamrocks’ Alumna] Amanda Conway (Methuen, Mass.) will be on center stage this weekend, and she’ll be the center of attention. As a sophomore for the Norwich University women’s hockey team, Conway is undoubtedly the key player for the Cadets as they play host to the NCAA Division 3 women’s ice hockey Frozen 4 for the first time in program history.
Norwich (25-1-3) is on a 16-game unbeaten streak and is considered a slight favorite to win its second national title in its 11-year history, having also won in 2011. It has made the Frozen 4 seven times, bowing out of the tourney in the semifinals last year.
With the championship game scheduled for Saturday, Norwich will face Hamline University (21-4-3) out of Minnesota in one Friday semifinal with Plattsburgh State (24-2-2) facing Elmira (24-2-2) in the other. Plattsburgh has won the national title the last three years and six times since 2007 while Elmira is a three-time national champ.
Hamline, Plattsburgh and Elmira all know that they’ll need to contain Conway if they hope to win it all. She scored a hat trick in the 8-2 quarterfinal win over Morrisville State and she currently leads the nation in Division 3 with 32 goals and 24 assists. Conway’s hat trick helped her set a new school record for goals in a season, and she later broke the single-season points record.
After a record-breaking career at Methuen, in which she scored a state-record 86 goals as a senior and had 204 goals overall, Conway spent a year playing with the Boston Shamrocks. As a freshman at Norwich, she had a more than solid season, scoring 20 goals and adding eight assists.
But Conway, who was recently named New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) Player of the Year, has taken her game to a whole new level this year according to Norwich coach Mark Bolding. “Amanda has always been a dynamic scorer but she has become very much the complete player,” said Bolding. “She has high hockey intelligence and she can move the puck as well as anyone. She has two talented wingers and she has confidence in them. They complement each other and it’s a tough line to stop.”
Hamline, which is making its first-ever appearance in the Division 3 semifinals, features the No. 2 and No. 3 scorers in the country in Bre Simon (30 goals, 25 assists) and Sarah Bobrowski (16-38) both of whom are right behind Conway in total points. The matchup between Plattsburgh and Elmira is considered a toss-up, with both teams capable of winning it all. Bolding likes Norwich’s chances, however.
“We’re riding a lot of confidence and home ice will help,” said Bolding. “And I think the girls are hungry after making the semifinals last year and not making the championship game. Our goaltending has been good and we’ve been scoring goals.” And Conway has been leading the way.