HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-Safe Edition
Keeping Local Sport Spirit High During the Pandemic
By Martin Cleary
Heading off to university for the first time is an eye-opening experience. If you’re a student-athlete in a team sport, it could mean a lot of learning, watching and not much game action.
But that certainly hasn’t been the case for Colgate University women’s hockey goalie Kayle Osborne, who has been the No. 1 netminder since the opening game of the 2020-21 season. She has made the most of her freshman year.
And there’s potential for more excitement down the road as the Raiders play in the ECAC conference semifinal on Friday. A win would put Colgate into the final and another victory could take them to the Frozen Four national championship tournament.
When Osborne joined Colgate, the Raiders already had goalies in their senior and junior years. The Munster/Westport native previously enjoyed three stellar seasons with the Provincial Women’s Hockey League’s Ottawa Lady Senators before beginning her NCAA career.
But when the season started, Osborne won the job for good and played a strong role in helping Colgate to an overall 13-6-1 record and a 7-4 conference mark, which gave the Raiders program its first regular-season title.
Osborne has been the starting goalie in 19 games and played in all 20 matches. She has a goals-against average of 1.76 overall, two shutouts and a .925 save percentage. Those numbers have brought individual awards already, with more to come possibly.
A multi-sport athlete (soccer, hockey and volleyball) at John McCrae Secondary School, Osborne was twice the ECAC goalie of the week, rookie of the week once, second star of the game once and rookie of the month once.
She also is a finalist for two major awards, which will be announced later this month. She is one of three goalies being considered for the ECAC goaltender of the year, and the short list has a familiar name to Osborne.
Clarkson University freshman Michelle Pasiechnyk, of Ottawa and the PWHL’s Nepean Junior Wildcats, is also a finalist for the ECAC top goalie award. She had a 6-5 record with a 1.87 GAA and .940 save percentage.
Osborne and Pasiechnyk were Ontario Red teammates at the 2019 Canadian women’s U18 hockey championship and won the gold medal. They had respective 1.67 and 1.50 goals-against averages, and 3-0 and 2-0 win-loss records.
Pasiechnyk’s cousin is former NHL goalie Jeff Glass, who played 15 games for the Chicago Blackhawks in 2017-18. He was a third-round draft pick (89th overall) by the Ottawa Senators in 2004.
At the Frozen Four national championship in Erie, Pennsylvania, Osborne will learn if she’ll be the winner of the inaugural Women’s Goalie of the Year Award, which was created by the Hockey Commissioners Association. She is one of two freshmen up for the award.
Osborne is one of eight finalists from the four NCAA Division 1 conferences named to the Watch List, which originally had a long list of 21 goalkeepers. She is the only ECAC goalie on the short list.
During her three PWHL seasons (2017-20) with the Ottawa Junior Lady Senators, Osborne started 54 of 56 regular-season games, had a 29-20-5 record, a goals-against average of 1.45, nine shutouts and a save percentage of .942.
In eight playoff games, Osborne had a 3-4 record with one shutout, a goals-against average of 1.53 and a save percentage of .932. Osborne also played for silver-medal winning Team Canada at the 2020 world women’s U18 championship.
Pasiechnyk played two seasons (2018-20) for the Wildcats, starting 51 of 52 regular-season games (31-13-8) with 12 shutouts, a 1.39 goals-against average, a .945 save percentage and was the 2020 PWHL goalie of the year.