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From Pittsburgh Elite to Ivy League

Monday, 11.14.2011 / 1:37 PM / Pittsburgh Youth Hockey Network
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From Pittsburgh Elite to Ivy League
By Mark Boyle

Last Friday, two former Pittsburgh Penguins Elite goaltenders lined up at opposite ends of the ice as Cornell University and Katelyn Pippy took on Lindsay Holdcroft and the Dartmouth Big Green at Cornell’s home in Ithaca, New York.
Lindsay Holdcroft

Freshman Pippy and sophomore Holdcroft had skated together for years before being recruited onto two Ivy League teams.

Both players have impressive resumes to back up their experience. Holdcroft was named Goaltender of the Week by the ECAC, was honored as WTAE’s Athlete of the Week, and is currently breaking all sorts of records at Dartmouth.

Pippy’s credits extend beyond her hockey career, which she began at age six and was able to display her skills through Elite and USA Hockey National Selection Camps. Pippy is majoring in theatre and currently stars in Lifetime’s Army Wives.

“It’s fun,” Pippy says. “But I’m working on school right now.”
Katelyn Pippy

She plans to shoot a few scenes over Christmas break.

School is a big priority for Holdcroft as well as she is double majoring in biology and psychology in hopes of going on to medical school. Although the work keeps her busy, Holdcroft has been working hard since age two, which is when she first got on the ice. It was her brother Jake who inspired her to pursue hockey, as he was a talented player himself.

“Jake was always playing at a higher level with older kids,” Holdcroft says. “I think that really inspired me to push myself and strive to reach that level and compete with him.”

Holdcroft also credits her father, who coached her and her brother, for a lot of her ambition in the rink.

“My dad taught me so much on the ice as a coach, but more than just hockey skills,” she says. “He always impressed upon me the importance of confidence and composure, while embracing the fact that hockey is just a game, and the skills you acquire span far beyond your time on the ice.”

Pippy has also been around the rink for years.

“Pittsburgh is a big hockey town,” she says. “I think it’s the hardest sport in the world. It’s training your body to do a completely new thing that you aren’t meant to do. You are meant to run and jump, and people who improve on that are impressive, but this is a whole new skill set.”

This is something Holdcroft agrees with.

“I feel like it is one of the most dynamic and fast-paced sports you can play, and that’s what really drew me to it,” she says.

Pippy has put her skills to work protecting the net as a goaltender. It is no surprise that she looks up to Marc-Andre Fleury as a role model. But Pippy hasn’t always played this position.

“The first year I played I was a left wing,” Pippy says. “It was absolutely brutal. That could have been because I was six-years-old, so that’s a possibility.”

One of Pippy’s coaches suggested she give goaltending a shot.

“I loved it,” she admits. “It’s hard to know if you make one little mistake, it’s a goal. It was hard to get used to that, but if you play a long time, you learn to get over it and handle it and go to a certain place where you don’t worry about the past.”

Holdcroft loves the responsibilities and pressure of being a goalie.

“It’s nice having such a big responsibility on the team, but still knowing that you have your teammates to rely on,” Holdcroft says.

The combination of individual responsibility and teamwork is another reason Holdcroft loves the sport.

“In order to play well and win games, each player must be responsible for his or her own position, but without everyone working together, you won’t accomplish anything,” she says. “I think the importance of relying on your teammates is pretty incredible.”

One of those Dartmouth teammates Holdcroft relies on is Erica Dobos, a former player for Bethel Park.

“Erica is a great player,” Holdcroft says. “She is without a doubt the hardest working player on the team, in both the weight room and on the ice. She is an incredibly smart player and never gets overworked. Erica is the kind of player that the younger girls on the team can really look up to.”

Both Holdcroft and Dobos will be put to work this Friday as they prepare for their game against Cornell.

Pippy is not sure that she will be the goalie in the net this Friday, as Cornell has two other goaltenders, a senior and a sophomore. Nevertheless, Pippy is excited to be teamed up against her former teammate.

“It’s exciting,” she says. “Lindsay is awesome. She makes me want to be a better player.”

Holdcroft is also excited for this matchup.

“It’s going to be really fun to see her, but definitely weird being on the opposite side of the ice,” Holdcroft says.

In fact, Holdcroft inspired Pippy to push herself during practices.

“She is somebody who always goes very hard and gives her absolute best all the time,” Pippy says of Holdcroft. “Sometimes goalies can be competitive. We were like a team.”

This was a team that liked to have fun.

“It was always a lot of fun playing with Katelyn,” Holdcroft says. “She’s so much fun to be around, both on and off the ice, and she’s a great athlete.”

The two have remained close over the past few years and even train at the same gym, Finish First Training Center, with Jeremy Hoy. Their parents remain close as well and will be coming up to tailgate together before Friday’s game.

Neither player has a lot of free time what with their demanding school load and hockey schedule, but when they do get a break, they both like to relax.

“I try to hang out and rest up with other freshmen,” Pippy says. “We like to watch movies.”

Holdcroft likes to go on long runs and rollerblade.

“Things like that give me a chance to relax and don’t require me to think too much, which is really nice,” Holdcroft says.

Chances are there will be little relaxing Friday night as the two come head to head in Ithaca.

“I’m excited to see her in action in college,” Pippy says.

“When we play Cornell, it is always a really exciting and tough game because they have so much depth and talent,” Holdcroft says. “We can always expect a great game from them.”

Holdcroft earned her second career shutout defeating Cornell 2-0.

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