In a season that saw the Vermont Catamounts reach many new records and milestones, highlighted by a new benchmark for most wins, Kristina Shanahan was proud to be part of such an exciting time. Having first arrived at Burlington in the autumn of 2017, Shanahan, a product of Dawson College, brought reliability and a willingness to learn, best evidenced by an annual increase in point production.
Enjoying 150 appearances in the Vermont jersey, Shanahan was an iron woman, never missing a game in her first three seasons. Named an assistant captain for the 2019-20 season, the most recent season represented her finest.
Achieving career highs in goals (16), assists (17) and points (33), such an offensive renaissance involved another statistical best. With a plus/minus rating of +25, it marked her first season with a rating higher than zero.
Adding luster to this landmark season involved the honor of the captaincy bestowed upon her for the second consecutive season. With an accomplished list of captains including Amanda Pelkey, Eve Audrey Picard, Chelsea Rapin, Shanahan took her rightful place in this celebrated sorority.
Undoubtedly, the privilege of the C on her sweater served as a crowning touch, enriching the sense of pride in belonging to such a great group of accomplished skaters,
“It meant a lot to me to be named captain this year because we had such a great group of girls, and so many of these girls are natural leaders themselves. We already had such a great team culture to begin with, so our group made it really easy for me to be their captain.”
Among the key contributors in a season which saw Vermont enjoy a spot in the national rankings, it marked a fait accompli for Shanahan. Having worked tirelessly towards this goal since opening face-off, the squad enjoying a 13-3-2 mark when she logged at least one point, the rankings always held a key focus.
With a nine game win streak, spanning from January 8 to February 5, as Shanahan contributed 14 points, Vermont gained a Top 10 ranking in the USCHO national poll for the first time. Earning the ranking on January 31, another historic first took place on February 22, as Vermont earned recognition with a place in the USA Today poll, an exciting validation for a landmark season.
“Being nationally ranked was one of our goals at the beginning of the year before our season started. So, to see all of our hard work come together in the form of wins meant a lot and was a credit to our determination and belief in ourselves as a team.
We were finally able to put Vermont on the map and get some recognition, which I hope will be just the beginning for future UVM women’s hockey teams.”
Certainly, a key element in gaining national recognition involved one of the greatest games in program history. Defeating the number one ranked Northeastern Huskies in a 2-1 road win on January 28, Shanahan scored on 2021 Patty Kazmaier Award winner Aerin Frankel for the game’s opening goal.
Collaborating with Alyssa Holmes, both assisting on Bella Parento’s game winning goal, it marked the first time that Vermont defeated a number one ranked team. Worth noting, Jessie McPherson logged 35 saves for the greatest win of her promising career.
Equally satisfying for Shanahan involved the postseason. Enjoying a place of prominence in the conference standings, ranking second overall, home ice advantage was assured for the first two rounds. Prevailing in the quarterfinal round versus the Providence, as seven different Catamounts logged at least one point, it marked the first playoff win in Shanahan’s career. Hosting the Hockey East semifinals match at Gutterson Fieldhouse, an historic first for the Catamounts, the opportunity to be part of such a relevant contest at the conclusion of a great career, brought tremendous pride for a jubilant Shanahan.
“Hosting not only one, but two playoff games this season was truly amazing. The Burlington community really came together to support us by packing the gut both games. It was awesome to feed off the energy from the crowd and to witness more and more people enjoying women’s hockey. I hope that the community will continue to support this program and that women’s hockey will continue to grow not only in Vermont, but around the world.”
Leaving an exceptional legacy, Gutterson Fieldhouse becoming a place of enjoyment and fulfillment, while her fellow Catamounts became friends, role models and a source of inspiration, Shanahan always played with heart. With a fantastic fifth season providing a combination of appreciation and new summits reached, the results cemented her standing as one of the Catamounts greats.
Recognizing the realization of so many monumental milestones, the greater glory involved the shared sense of achievement. In discussing the most enjoyable facets of wearing the Catamounts colors, such graciousness rises to the surface. With enjoyment just as satisfactory as winning, the memories made ensure that Vermont will always hold a treasured place in her heart,
“That is a really tough question because I have enjoyed so many aspects of playing for Vermont. I have to say that this year was by far my favourite. Not only because our hard work over the past few years finally turned into a winning season, but simply because I enjoyed coming to the rink everyday and doing it all with my amazing teammates.
I also have to say that beating top-ranked Northeastern on the road was one of my favourite moments of playing here as well as winning a playoff game at home in front of a great crowd. These are moments that I will never forget.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”