This season, it’s been rare to see a Yale women’s hockey score sheet that was without the name of forward Deanna McDevitt ’03.
The leading scorer for the Bulldogs with 19 goals and 16 assists, McDevitt has been a picture of consistency, recording a point in 21 of the team’s 29 games.
“Deanna’s a very offensive-minded forward,” head coach John Marchetti said. “When she’s got the puck on her stick, there’s always potential that there’s going to be a goal scored or a good offensive play.”
So offensive-minded, in fact, that she even managed to score nine goals last year despite playing with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her knee for most of the season. She waited until the offseason to have surgery on the ligament.
Her perseverance through the injury was one factor that led her teammates to select her as their Most Valuable Player last season. McDevitt was also the recipient of the Bulldog Award, which is given to the player who provides both inspiration and spirit to the team.
This season, she was named the ECAC Player of the Week on Dec. 3 for a three-goal weekend against Cornell and Colgate. But she has only gotten better since then. In the last eight games, she has exploded offensively, scoring 11 goals and adding three assists. During this stretch, McDevitt recorded hat tricks against both Colgate and Quinnipiac.
“She’s got that scoring touch in her right now, and that’s encouraging because we need goal scorers,” Marchetti said.
Prior to her arrival at Yale, McDevitt was a standout at Milton Academy in Boston. Her senior year, she was awarded the John Carlton Memorial Trophy, which is given annually by the Boston Bruins to eastern Massachusetts’ outstanding scholar-athlete. She also played on the highly touted Assabet Valley club team with current Eli teammate Sara Wood ’02.
McDevitt’s decision to come to Yale exemplified her dedication to both her academics and athletics.
“I looked at schools where I could play hockey and also get a good education,” the psychology major said. “On my visit, the team was really friendly and made me feel comfortable right away.”
Now, as a junior, McDevitt is helping younger teammates adjust to life at the collegiate level.
“She was definitely a player that when I came to the team sat me down and was like, ‘This is what we expect from you,'” said forward Erin Duggan ’05, who has been linemates with McDevitt for much of the season.
Her presence in the Bulldogs’ lineup and locker room has had a marked impact on the team’s success. This is the first year that the Yale women’s hockey team has made the playoffs, and a large part of that has been the collaboration between McDevitt and her teammates.
“One of the reasons why Deanna has begun to show her true potential is because we’ve surrounded her with some good players,” Marchetti said. “She’s made some players better, too.”
One of these players is Duggan, who has enjoyed success of her own, trailing McDevitt by only three points on the scoring list.
“I think she’s a good team leader,” Duggan said. “She has a nose for the net and she’s a quick player. She works hard in the corners and she has a great work ethic at practice — she leads by example.”
McDevitt feels that the playing alongside talented players has elevated her game as well.
“My teammates have challenged me to work hard and continue to become a better hockey player,” she said.
Despite McDevitt’s success this season, both she and Marchetti agree that the already solid forward can still improve.
“She’s very, very good as an offensive player and plays well in her defensive zone,” Marchetti said. “Deanna would probably tell you she’d like to play even better defensively, but you know, we don’t have her there as a defender — we need her to keep scoring goals.”
With her proven scoring drive and ability to convert goals of any type, whether slap shots, rebounds or deflections, it seems apparent to anyone watching the Bulldog hockey games that the offensive zone is where she works best.