Ohio State redshirt junior goalie Kassidy Sauve has had plenty of downs in her hockey career, but this upcoming season looks to be filled with more ups than ever.
Sauve is entering into her third season as the goaltender for Ohio State’s women’s hockey team, and while the 14-17-5 record she posted last season might seem like nothing special, her sophomore season quickly became one for the record books, and one with a tale of redemption.
Sauve underwent a double hip surgery, causing her to miss half her freshman season and take a medical redshirt during the 2015-16 campaign While the 581 days Sauve missed were never easy, Sauve said that her parents were a major factor in her recovery.
“There were a lot of times where I thought that I didn’t even know if I could do this, I didn’t know if I can come back from injuries this severe, but knowing that my parents thought I could do it… They were behind me all the way,” Sauve said.
In her first season back from the injury, Sauve posted a .942 save percentage, led the NCAA in saves with 1,135 and brought her career shutout total to 12. The save percentage and save totals are both single-season Ohio State records, while the career shutouts are tied for the all-time school record.
“It was easy to come back in a way because I had so much to prove,” Sauve said. “There were a lot of people saying that I wasn’t going to be able to make the comeback and that I wasn’t going to be able to play, and I just wanted to prove to myself and prove to other people that an injury wasn’t going to stop me.”
Off the ice, Sauve makes an impact, as well.
“[Sauve]’s automatically, without a ‘C’ on her chest, a leader on the team just because of the talent that she brings on the ice, and because of that, people are listening to her,” head coach Nadine Muzerall said. “When you’re such a standout in your field, like for her being an All-American goalie, you just automatically ooze that into the locker room, people are looking to you, so any time you talk people are listening.”
Sauve’s accolades did not go unnoticed, as this offseason she was invited to Team Canada’s summer strength and conditioning camp. She was also named preseason player of the year in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
“Going to Calgary, where the Olympic center is for the hockey teams, it’s always a really exciting experience, I get chills every time I walk into that building,” Sauve said.
Sauve, who was born in Whitby, Ontario, hopes to be a part of the Olympic program in the near future.
While last year was a breakout return for Sauve, and one that made her a second-team All-American, Muzerall said she is looking even better coming into this season.
“[Sauve] really was dialed in and disciplined this summer,” Muzerall said. “She has matured a lot as a player, and her mental toughness has improved immensely since the beginning of last year, and as a goalie that goes a long way.”
Sauve said she knows she can still improve, and also understands there could be added pressure on her to perform in this upcoming season.
“I think pressure is a privilege,” Sauve said. “I really like pressure, those games are the easiest games to win and if this whole season is considered a pressure season, then I am comfortable with it.”