Guardian Gals: UVM Goaltending Trio

The Catamounts are coming off a rough year, as they finished eighth in the goals-against category, as opponents averaged 3.11 goals per game. When you look at these statistics, your first thought is that they are giving up a lot of shots, which isn’t true. Rather, they led the league, allowing only 637 shots to opponents last season.

Let’s take a deeper dive into this year’s goalie trio that represents three different countries. Let’s not forget that Vermont is currently scheduled to play all their games back-to-back, so a solid backup goalie will once again be key.

Blanka Skodova

Brian Foley/UVM Athletics

The Catamounts will likely roll with the same starting backstop this year in Blanka Skodova. A native of Sternberk, Czech Republic, Skodova took over the starter role last season and skated in 27 games for UVM. Her record of 7-12-6 last year doesn’t tell the whole story, as she had a 2.56 goals-against average, sub .900 save percentage and a shutout to go along with those numbers. Through her career at UVM, Skodova has a GAA of 2.40, a .902 save percentage and three shutouts.

Natalie Ferenc

Brian Jenkins/UVM Athletics

Before joining UVM, Ferenc spent a year with the Little Caesars 16U team and another year with their 19U program. In 2018, she was named to Team USA’s roster for the annual World Junior Classic. The backstop earned a silver medal despite not appearing in any games for her country.

It was a rough freshman year in Burlington for the Orchard Lake native, as she had a 3-6-2 record with a .849 save percentage and a 3.40 GAA. She did so in 13 appearances with 11 of those coming as starts. Despite those statistics, the backstop ended up seeing about 30 percent of the time in net for the Cats last season.

Her struggles last season should keep the door open for McPherson to steal her spot as the backup for UVM. It’s going to take a strong start from Ferenc this season for her to still be relevant when it comes to the goalie tandem and to have a shot at being the starter in the senior year.

Jessie McPherson

Bill Doucet/Cambridge Times

Catamount fans should be excited about the new freshman goaltender, Jessie McPherson. The five-foot-nine goaltender spent the last three years in the Provincial Women’s hockey league. She did so with the Cambridge Rivulettes.

Along with three shutouts last season, she posted a .945 save percentage and a GAA of 1.27. She ranked in the top five in save percentage and goals-against average in 2019-20. In 2019, McPherson was invited to the IIHF U-18 Women’s World Championship. It was there Canada placed second, winning silver.

She was named to the team for 2020 before the tournament was cancelled due to COVID-19. With Skodova being a junior, it’s highly unlikely we’ll see McPherson get major minutes until her junior year, where the Chatham native could have the possibility of securing the starters role. The future is very bright for McPherson and I can’t wait to see her when Vermont opens their season.

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