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Theresa Schafzahl shines for Vermont with offensive brilliance


The most prolific scorer in the history of the Vermont Catamounts, Theresa Schafzahl proved integral in heralding an unprecedented era of success. With the Catamounts enjoying back-to-back seasons of 22 wins, her offensive proficiency not only rewrote the program’s record books. Placing her in the pantheon of Hockey East greats, Catamounts fans were truly spoiled by the display of her sensational skills.

Hailing from Weiz, Austria, also skating for her national team, Schafzahl arrived in Burlington, Vermont in the autumn of 2018. Making her debut on October 6 versus the Connecticut Huskies, a game whilch also featured Finnish blue liner Sini Karjalainen enjoy her first appearance, a growing legacy of European talent in Vermont colors marked a program highlight

Setting a single season scoring record with 46 points during a groundbreaking 2021-22, the Catamounts recording 21 regular season wins. Also enjoying a place in the national rankings, accentuating the ascension of the Catamounts as a prominent program, Schafzahl rose to a place of prestige.

Recording 45 points this season, Schafzahl became the first Catamount to record back to back seasons with such impressive numbers. Earning a place among the finalists for the 2023 Cammi Granato Award, in recognition of the Hockey East Player of the Year Award, an honor she won in 2022, the nomination served as testament to the elite forward’s standing as an impact player.

Equally important for Schafzahl, her offensive brilliance resulted in a proud team milestone. For the second straight season, Vermont enjoyed 21 regular season wins, remaining among the elites in Hockey East. Along with a playoff win in successive seasons, the opportunity to contribute to such an inspiring era of success signifies a tremendous point of pride for the highly skilled Schafzahl.

“Yes, definitely. I am really proud of having been part of the change that has been taking place in our program. Since our freshman year, my class of 5-th year seniors has seen a big shift in our team which has led to us becoming one of the top teams in Hockey East and in the country. While our big goal was always to win Hockey East and earn a spot in the national tournament, the bigger goal was to develop a winning mindset within our team and become a really competitive team, something we definitely achieved!”

Among the greatest achievements during another highly successful season, February 11, 2023 represented a significant date. Schafzahl and fellow senior Corinne McCool combined for five points, leading the way in a tremendous 3-0 shutout versus the Maine Black Bears. Resulting in the 20th win of the season, marking an exciting plateau in program excellence, the Catamounts also clinched a home playoff date at Gutterson Fieldhouse.

Earning acclaim as the Vermont TD Bank Student Athlete of the Week, awarded on February 16, 2023, it made her the only member of the roster to enjoy the prestige twice in one season. Also recognized on October 11, 2022 with the honor, celebrating a three goal performance during a weekend series against the Holy Cross Crusaders, the timing of both award wins were perfect bookends to the season.

Recording assists on both goals scored by Natalie Mlynkova in the regular season finale, a 3-1 road triumph versus New Hampshire, a playoff rematch provided Schafzahl with one final crowning glory. With over 1000 fans in attendance at Gutterson Fieldhouse, a defensive stalemate resulted in scoreless play during the first and third periods.

Although New Hampshire grabbed the first lead of the game at the 4:47 mark of the second, a unique tinge of coincidence occurred with the tying goal. Once again, Mlynkova found the back of the net, with Schafzahl and fellow graduate Sini Karjalainen earning the assists. As overtime saw New Hampshire pelt Catamounts goaltender Jessie MacPherson with six shots, it was Vermont that managed to score.

Representing the last goal of her career, it was one which provided a storybook finish to a glorious career. Scoring from near the face off dot, Schafzahl buried the puck past Ava Boutilier, providing the Catamounts with an exhilarating home playoff win.

“I was excited but also very relieved. We had big goals as a team this year and therefore winning the quarterfinals was very important to us. I think the coolest thing about it was the support of the community behind our team. I still remember all the people in the stands cheering for us, which is definitely something I will never forget.

Just in general it was amazing to see how more and more people came to support us in my time here at UVM. Seeing our team make even a small impact on the community and bring visibility of women’s sport to the next generation was amazing.”

Undeniably, one of the greatest ice hockey players from her homeland, Schafzahl is held in the same degree of reverence in her adopted home of Burlington, Vermont. Graduating as the Catamounts all-time leader in goals, assists and points, also earning a place on the 2023 New England Division I Women’s All-Stars, Schafzahl established a proud standard that future Catamounts shall strive towards emulating.

Amassing an incredible 145 points, scoring 71 goals, of which 14 were game winners, plus 74 assists, her brilliance not only provided a strong consistency to a program on the rise, she helped establish unprecedented success in the wins column. Poised to continue her scoring success in the professional ranks, the number of records broken at Vermont only represents part of the experience. Equally proud to contribute to the program culture, helping instill a sense of pride and belonging are standards that comprise the narrative of Schafzahl as a model teammate and admired individual.

“I am so proud of the things I was able to do on the ice for UVM, but I do not really see that as a legacy. I am sure that as the program will continue to head in the right direction, there will be players that will break these records.

If there is even a small legacy that I am leaving behind I hope it is more about me as a person and the things I contributed to create a good team culture beyond things I did on the ice.”

All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated

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