Since she laced up her skates for the first time as a member of the St. F.X. X-Women, Lindsey Donovan has been a game-changer.
The sophomore player has been a key ingredient in a winning recipe for the Blue and White, one that has them perched in first place in Atlantic University Sport (AUS).
“It’s the best decision that I have ever made,” the Miramichi, New Brunswick native said of making the Antigonish campus her hockey and academic home.
Donovan added she “really liked the culture,” at St F.X., noting she attended a “very small” prep school [Rothesay Netherwood] in her own province.
“I enjoyed that. I enjoyed knowing that – just walking from home to the rink – I [would] meet people that I can talk to,” she said.
“If I went to a bigger school, I wouldn’t be able to do that. It is just more of a friendly environment.”
The 5’9” defender, who earned an AUS all-rookie team nod last season, has continued her stellar play. This season, she has collected 17 points in 16 regular season games, while putting up a plus-16 rating.
Head coach Ben Berthiaume said the arts student “brings an overall confidence” to the X-Women.
“If you watch her, you can see how she – as a ‘D’ – is able to control the game. She can speed the game up and she can slow the game down,” he added.
Berthiaume noted Donovan makes plays that an X-Women defender hasn’t made, probably, since Antigonish native Jenna Pitts patrolled the blue line.
“Lindsey is just a really steady ‘D’ that is almost on a different level at times,” the former X-Men defenseman said.
When asked about strengths in her game, Donovan said she thinks she “sees the ice pretty well,” before quickly turning the conversation to her teammates, including defense partner Santana Gravelle.
“We work really well together,” Donovan said, noting how the Lumsden, Saskatchewan native has helped her with on-ice communication.
As for her strong performance, especially during key points of the game, she said “I wouldn’t be able to do it without the other people on the ice,” in offering further praise for her teammates.
Donovan credited Berthiaume and former X-Women defender and current assistant coach Jenna Downey for their contributions to her ongoing development.
“She helps a lot with the mental side of the game, which I feel has been important,” she said of Downey.
Berthiaume agreed Donovan is a consummate team player.
“We are going to look to her to be a leader, in the future. She looks out for her teammates and she is one of those types of players who have a very good and positive attitude,” he said.
“She is the kind or person and player that we want to recruit into our program.”
Donovan said a key to success – now and moving forward – for the X-Women is their “team-first mentality.”
“We are playing for each other,” she added.
Donovan described positivity, including during games, as a “big factor.”
“We just have to keep building each other up, which really helps us a lot. We know that we can’t get down or else it is going to affect our game,” she said.
Between periods, Donovan noted, the team talks about what they need to improve upon.
“We discuss what we are doing right and what we are doing wrong, which I think is important,” she said.
Donovan added the X-Women have “to continue to work hard.”
“Every practice – we are improving – and, after practice, individuals are working on little things, which – I think – are going to help us win an AUS championship,” she said.
A conference crown, she agreed, would be special, especially for the fifth-year players.
“But, who doesn’t want to win an AUS championship,” Donovan said, in illustrating what it would mean to everyone with the program.
“I think we have the heart and work ethic – all of that – to be an AUS champion.”