Cetacean Nation had the opportunity recently to chat with another of our amazing rookie goaltenders, #33 Cassandra Goyette. In terms of hockey, Cassie was late to the game. But on the ice she is what we refer to in sports as a truel gamer.And interesting enough, she can claim the same status off ice the as well. More on that in a bit, but let’s get to know Cassie on the ice first. Cassie hails from Norton, Massachusetts, about an hour south of Boston. It is an area that followers of this site have seen us refer to as real hockey country. So we would have guessed little Cassandra was out there skating in station drills from the time she could walk. We would have guessed wrong
We found that out quickly, as we inquired about Cassie”s start in hockey. She surprised us, explaining “As a kid growing up in Norton, I played all the kind of sports that kids play soccer basketball, etc but never hockey. My younger cousin who lived in Brockton, always played hockey, and continued all through high school and I always wanted to try it. At one point I had actually stopped playing sports. But then in middle school I decided I wanted to play hockey, So I did the learn to learn skate and joined a team. When I started playing hockey I was a forward but I was not too great a scorer going into high school playing forward, and sometime around my sophomore year in high school I started playing goalie. I just decided I wanted to try goalie, and lo and behold I loved it. And here I am:)”
Cassie continued “In Norton when I started playing hockey, there was no hockey team at the high school. So I was playing in recreational leagues out of Taunton, and that was for other boys programs. There wasn’t really a lot of girls hockey then, but now it’s really taking off. So as I’m going into my junior year Norton, they established a varsity boys program but they didn’t have a girls program. So I played with the boys team for two years before I went to college, and I liked it. Once I started playing hockey I pretty much stuck with that. I did try lacrosse but I didn’t really like that. I just didn’t fall in love with it like I did with hockey.”
She further explained ”As a senior in high school, I also started playing with the Massachusetts Spitfires out of Foxboro. It was my goalie coach, Mark Hanson, who got me affiliated with them. The Spitfires were one of the only girls programs, and the closest one to me. My Mom wanted me to get get some exposure playing girls hockey there. A lot of the girls come from prep school programs, so when high school seasons started they went back playing with their girls teams and I went back to playing on our boys team. I did a half year with the Spitfires and a half year with the Taunton Brewins, who were also a boys team.Their seasons conflicted, so I was playing for the Spitfires and the Brewins at the same time so after both those ended, the prep & high school,seasons started so we all went to our respective places. Mine was to my high school” We asked Cassie if she had run into any of her current Whale teammates while playing for the Spitfires. Cassie thought, and said “None of my current teammates from the Whale played on the Spitfire,not that I know of but then I don't know any off them :) so I I don’t really know a lot of other female hockey players because of my background playing with boys team all through high school. i know more now but I still don’t know a lot of players. I am pretty sure I played against Jane Morrisette in college, because Nichols plays UMass-Boston” Cetacean Nation diss a little research and discovered Cassie also faced future Whale Tess Adams at Suffolk, Kim Tiberi and Sarah Schwenzfier at Norwich, and Erin Hall at Holy Cross as well. Two very important trends developed with Cassie at Norton. She won a Most Improved Player Award her senior year, and continual improvement is a trait she has demonstrated from that time on. And, she helped lead her team to it’s first ever play-off appearance, in the 2015 MIAA Ice Hockey - Boys South Division 3. And she then accomplished some team firsts again on a much bigger stage at Nichols as we’ll see.
Cassie matriculated at Nichols College in Dudley, Massachusetts on her way to the Whale, and we asked her to tell us about that. She revealed “I didn’t know if I wanted to play after high school, since I had relatively limited experience. But my mom helped me to check out literally every D3 school around me. I contacted them, made a recruiting video, and got to talking with Nichols. I made an overnight visit, loved the school, and the campus, and committed on May 1st. I had actually told UNE that I was going to go to school there and play hockey for them, But I had kind of a mid life crisis about school, and decided to go to Nichols:)” Cassie almost had reason to regret that decision, as she explained “ So the first two years we won maybe about three games. It was really tough the first two seasons there. But then we had a whole new coaching staff come in for for my junior year, and that turned it around. And then senior year Sam came in as the goalie coach.” That Sam is someone very familiar to all of Cetacean Nation, our former goaltender #70 Samantha Walther, now a member of the Riveters. Cassie singled our Sam’s influence, saying “I am really glad Sam was there, she was great! She was a really good coach and a good person too! I was really glad she was a part of my senior season, she made it that much better. Before Sam came to Nichols, our goalie coaches weren’t around that much. When Sam came in she was around a lot, which was super helpful. We had a ton of fun at practice! Maybe too much fun sometimes:)”
Cetacean Nation reached out to Sam Walther for some insights on her former player, and Sam was more than happy to offer these words “ I had an awesome time working with her last year as one of my players. Her and her family have become really close to me. I didn’t know this until the end of our season last year, and most people don’t realize, that Cassie didn’t start playing until her sophomore year of high school. For her to be able to close that skill gap, be that determined and to work that hard to reach her goal of playing college hockey after starting later than most of us, it really proves her commitment and drive. I think it’s pretty unbelievable and something she should be proud of. She’s just one of those athletes that’ll do everything and anything to get better and I know she’s gonna do that in the NWHL this year. I hope she gets her chance, she’ll turn heads for sure. She was the backbone to our team on and off the ice too. She just had fun with hockey and sometimes a team needs that refresher. I think she’s a great addition for the Whale and I’m pretty pumped to hopefully get to play against her!” Awesome comments by Samantha, and when that match-up occurs, it will be one of the highlight moments of the season.
Cassie had an amazing career in the crease the for Bison at Nichols, leading them to the most successful seasons in program history during her last two years. And remember the “Most Improved Player Award” at Norton we mentioned? That trend upwards continued at Nichols, as her statistics tell the story of clear improvement in all the metrics each season. She finished as their carrier leader in wins, ties, shutouts, saves, save percentage,and goals against average. As a senior, she posted a 1.42 GAA and four shutouts, and her .952 save percentage was tied for fourth in the NCAA. Among her numerous awards and accomplishments, she was a four time Academic All Conference honoree. That last led us to ask Cassie about her degree at Nichols and she told us “ I studied general business and received BS/BA degree. At Nichols the way that kind of works is it’s set up so that you have three areas of focus within the the general business major. You get a little taste of three different subjects so you have kind of a semi minor in each one. Mine were accounting, marketing and management.”
Cassie will be wearing #33 for the Pod, her new coach Laura Brennen’s number through last season with the Whale, a fact that did not come up when the two first spoke. Cassie said “ I spoke to Laura right after I signed, but I did not realize #33 was Laura’s number:)” While on the subject, Cetacean Nation asked about how Cassie herself had become associated with the number 33. And her answer, opened up a whole new realm in the Whale-verse. Cassie explained “I am a gamer, and my opinion, in order to be called a gamer I would say you would have to play at least a a few times a week and become really familiar with one game. Really, just play the video games and fall in love with them. I am not sure which NHL version we had, but it was an old one which was fun, because we got really good at it. And you can make players on it and I would like to make goalies sometimes. And I would give them different numbers. So when I started playing goalie, I went on the game to pick a number. I tested how the numbers looked on the jerseys and I kind of liked the way 43 looked. So I picked that. I started wearing 43, and it was my number in high school. In college I asked for that jersey but they only offered numbers 1 through 33. Another goalie had 33, but i offered her my #1 and we switched.”
Cetacean Nation asked if Cassie would model the players she created after a certain player or herself and she said “Neither, really. I just kind of made the players. My favorite goalie is Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers though. I am a big Rangers fan, so being from the Boston area, when I tell people I’m a Rangers fan, “What?” I am a huge Pats fan and my dad has season tickets but when people talk to me about the Bruins I’m like ahh, I’m a Rangers fan. I just started watching hockey when I started playing it, and I really like Henrik Lundqvist’s style of play and who he is as a person. He’s got great style and I just really like the way he plays the game. He is a notable person in the NHL, and in my opinion he deserves his name on the Stanley Cup so badly. If there is one player that you could just put on the Cuo, I would put him on the Cup. I really thought the Rangers were going to do it a couple years ago. They had a really good run at it, and I’m really hoping that with the rebuild they’re going through it gets a little better”