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Linstad Announces Women's Ice Hockey Incoming Class

Coach Linstad at a Team USA U-18 practice in January.

June 5, 2012

STORRS, Conn. – University of Connecticut women’s ice hockey coach Heather Linstad has announced that seven freshman will make up the incoming class of 2016 and will be joined by a pair of transfers from Niagara University.  Overall the nine newcomers are comprised of two goaltenders, three defensemen and four forwards.

Name (Pos., Yr., Ht.) - Hometown/Last Team
Brittany Berisoff (F, Fr., 5-7) - Kelowna, B.C./Notre Dame HS
Leah Buress (F, Fr., 5-4) - Windsor, Ont./Bluewater Int.
Erin Burns (D, Jr., 5-5) - Listowel, Ont./Niagara
Michela Cava (F, Fr., 5-4) - Thunder Bay, Ont./Thunder Bay Mid
Elaine Chuli (G, Fr., 5-6) - Waterford, Ont./Stoney Creek/U-18 Team Canada
Alice Hughes (D, Fr., 5-5) - La Canada, Calif./Brewster Academy
Sarah Moses (G, Jr., 5-7) - New Hamburg, Ont./Niagara
Cassandra Opela (D, Fr., 5-8) - Penfield, N.Y./Boston Shamrocks
Margaret Zimmer (F, Fr., 5-7) - St. Charles, Ill./Chicago Mission

The Huskies add a pair of goaltenders that will compete for starts in the crease right off the bat.  Sarah Moses transfers in as a junior after playing two years at Niagara, which contracted its program following the 2011-12 season.  She held a .900 save percentage and 2.90 goals against average over the past two seasons.  Elaine Chuli comes to UConn after playing for U-18 Team Canada at last winter’s IIHF Women’s World Championship.

Coach Linstad on the incoming goalies:
“We’re excited about both goalies joining our program.  Moses is a junior with a lot of experience who has had success against opponents from Hockey East in her career.  She is very athletic with good movement in the crease.  Chuli played for a gold medal at the World Championship and has gained a lot of quality experience in international play.  She has a great mentality in the net and a quick flash of the glove that allows her to battle and compete every game.”

The Connecticut blue line will be bolstered with the addition of three defensemen, including a junior transfer from Niagara in Erin Burns.  Along with Alice Hughes and Cassandra Opela, Burns will add depth to UConn’s defensive corps and provide the desired presence of what is expected from the Husky blue line with smart decision making in the back, while contributing offensively.

Coach Linstad on the incoming defenseman:
“Burns is a true defensive-defenseman with the ability to move the puck and start and offensive break.  She brings experience and leadership qualities that will be a welcome addition to the locker room.  Hughes brings a booming, accurate slap shot to our offense.  She will be a physical presence with great vision, while also being able to pass the puck well.  Opela also carries a heavy shot and can move the puck exceptionally well from the back.”

The four forwards added to the Connecticut roster will all be expected to provide a consistency that was missing last season.  All four are freshman, three of which arrive at Connecticut from Canada; Brittany Berisoff, Leah Buress and Michela CavaMargaret Zimmer comes from St. Charles, Ill. where she played for the Chicago Mission.

Coach Linstad on the incoming forwards:
“All four have skill sets that compliment each other very well, will help the team both offensively and defensively and ignite our offense.  Berisoff is an offensively gifted forward with very good hands and a quick shot.  Offense is her priority, but she will also contribute with blocked shots and constantly help out on the backcheck.  Zimmer is a good, strong forward who is good on the forecheck.  She plays with good size and grit in front of the net, creating screens and tip opportunities for her teammates.  Cava will be called upon to be a solid two-way player that will strength the middle of the ice and win face-offs.  A center, she distributes well, will add depth to the power play and plays smarts in the defensive zone.  Buress is a quick skater and relentless attacker.  She is a strong two-way player that is expected to add grit and toughness to the penalty kill.”