Part of a magical time with the Quinnipiac Bobcats, enhanced by the program’s first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament, Sydney Rossman also rewrote many of the program’s goaltending records. Considering that the Bobcats compete in Hamden, Connecticut, the chance to extend her hockey career in nearby Stamford symbolized a great point of pride for the revered Rossman. Standing between the pipes for the NWHL’s Connecticut Whale, it actually represents the best of both worlds.
With Rossman pursuing a Master’s Degree at Quinnipiac, she remains close to a competitive time in her hockey journey, while prolonging a meaningful time in her young life. Highlighted by the ECAC Goaltender of the Year Award, plus MVP honors at the 2016 edition of the ECAC Tournament, backstopping the Bobcats to their first-ever postseason conference championship, an eventful junior season included a phenomenally miniscule 0.90 Goals Against Average.
“It is such an honor and an incredible experience to be able to continue my hockey career in the same state that I played college hockey in. I am able to obtain my MBA at Quinnipiac while playing for the Whale and it is nice to still be around the people I spent the past 4 years with.”
Raised in Minnesota, otherwise known as the State of Hockey, Rossman starred at Minnetonka High School, where she was bestowed the honor of the 2013 Let’s Play Hockey Goalie of the Year Award. Coincidentally, she was born in Edina, Minnesota, the same city where two-time Isobel Cup champion Corinne Buie was raised.
With both players among a handful of Minnesotans making their presence felt in the Northeast, Rossman certainly found a second home in the Nutmeg State. Such an impact with the Whale is accentuated with an early highlight that includes the chance to call several stars from the Bobcats as teammates once again. Gracing the ice with the likes of Kelly Babstock, Nicole Connery, Elena Orlando and Cydney Roesler, it preserves the memory of contributing to the program’s halcyon days.
“It is really nice playing with a few fellow QU teammates. It allowed for me to become more comfortable with the team right from the beginning and it is nice to have familiar people playing in front of you during such a new experience and a high level of play.”
Sharing goaltending duties with Keira Goin, who won 40 games with the Utica Pioneers, they represent one of the most unique goaltending duos in all of professional hockey, as both are in their inaugural seasons with the Whale. As a side note, Goin is also one of the Whale’s Player Representatives on the NWHLPA’s Board of Directors, the only rookie in this prestigious role.
Making her debut during the NWHL’s Russia Summit Series, Rossman would record nine saves in a 5-2 exhibition loss. Pencilled in as the starting goaltender for the regular season opener on October 28, it marked a milestone in the newest chapter of her exemplary career.
Guarding the crease against the defending Isobel Cup champion Buffalo Beauts, it took place at Terry Conners Rink in Stamford. Logging a full sixty minutes of play, Rossman was valiant in a hard-fought 3-2 loss against the Beauts, amassing a very solid 34 saves. Of note, the Beauts were only 1-for-8 in power plays, a tremendous display of poise on the part of Rossman.
In spite of the Beauts boasting a 3-0 lead after two periods of play, the Whale bounced back with goals from Grace Klienbach and Sam Faber, incredibly scored within 10 seconds of each other. With the thought of a comeback, Rossman’s efforts were crucial in helping the team believe a win or tie was possible
Such grace under pressure was demonstrated on Rossman’s part as the Beauts outshot the Whale in every period. Starting with a 10-5 advantage in the first, the Beauts would increase their shot count in the second stanza, registering 13 shots, compared to nine for the Whale. The culmination of the third period resulted in double digits once again for the visiting team, peppering Rossman with 14 shots.
Despite the visceral loss on home ice, the home opener marked an important rite of passage for Rossman, proud to be considered a professional. As the game signified an important learning experience, there is a great sense of confidence that an upward progression shall proceed.
Indubitably, the privilege to continue Rossman’s professional sojourn brings with it a tremendous feeling of achievement. In reflecting on the moment when she first saw her bright white Whale jersey, absorbing the realization that she was now in the professional ranks, wearing said jersey was an affirmation of how far the game has evolved, an important and meaningful sporting movement that Rossman is grateful to be involved with:
“Putting on that Whale jersey for the first time was really special! Growing up I never thought pro hockey was going to be an option and now with the NWHL, I feel blessed every time I get to practice and put on a game jersey. It is an amazing feeling getting to wear that jersey and pave the way for young female athletes.”
Rossman would bounce back one week later, stopping 28 of 29 shots in a razor thin 2-1 margin of victory against the Boston Pride on November 4. Taking place on the road at Warrior Ice Arena, Heather Schwarz would capitalize on a first period power play to provide the home team with the lead at the 2:58 mark.
For the remainder of the contest, Rossman frustrated the Pride offense, not allowing another goal. With more than 50 consecutive minutes of shutout hockey, the Whale helped Rossman’s cause by tying the game with only 28 seconds remaining in the second. Emily Fluke would score the game-winner near the midway point of the third, as Rossman made seven saves in the frame. Coincidentally, Kelly Babstock recorded the assist on Fluke’s goal, as a fellow Bobcat alum played a key part in Rossman’s milestone win, truly brining her career full circle.
Coincidentally, the second win of Rossman’s professional career would also take place against the Pride. Taking place on home ice in Stamford, Rossman recorded 30 saves as a dramatic shootout was required to determine the winner, the first of the season.
In a third period that saw the Pride pepper Rossman with 13 shots, they jumped out to a 3-1 advantage with goals by Haley Skarupa and Emily Field. With less than three minutes remaining in the game, Babstock and Faber both scored, forcing overtime. As a side note, they would gain the assist on each other’s goals, with Faber’s game-tying goal scored with just 59 seconds left
Considering that the Pride outshot the Whale by a 4-1 mark in overtime, Rossman displayed nerves of steel, denying the club their chance for their first win of the season. As the shootout was required to determine the winner, it would prove to be Rossman’s finest hour.
Facing shots from Dana Trivigno and Skarupa in the first two rounds, Babstock would slip the puck past Brittany Ott. Worth noting, Babstock already recorded three points in the contest heading into overtime.
With Boston’s Janine Weber, the first player signed to a contract in NWHL history, soaring across the frozen perimeter, Rossman rose to the occasion, preventing the international star from scoring. As the euphoric Whale bench mobbed a victorious Rossman, her character performance helping set the tone for a team that refused to define the word quit, there was a unique feeling of happenstance as it was Babstock who factored into another victory for Rossman, her first on home ice.
“Looking back at our first few games, I think it was just important that we grew as a team. Obviously, at the end of the day, we want to win but we are focusing on the process and sometimes you cannot always get the immediate result that you want. We are getting better as a team every day and I think that is what matters most.”
Photo Credit: Matt Raney
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”