By Sam Scanlon ’19
As the final buzzer sounded and the Northeastern University Huskies flooded the ice in celebration, the Providence College Women’s Ice Hockey Team’s incredibly successful season came to a disheartening end in the Women’s Hockey East Semifinals.
The #3 Huskies defeated the Friars by a score of 3-2 and eventually went on to take the Hockey East Championship. This was the first time since 2013 that Providence College was represented in the Women’s Hockey East Championship weekend.
A brand new coaching staff this season led the squad to a 24-11-2 record, an incredible feat given that the program has not had a 20-win season since 2010-2011. Unfortunately, the Friars fell just short of reaching the NCAA Tournament and their historic run came to an end.
This season was pivotal for the future success of the program. Under new leadership the bar has been set higher than ever for this talented group. Christina Putigna ’19 is certainly leaving her mark on Friartown as she became the 27th player in program history to eclipse the 100-point milestone in her career as of Feb. 8. The senior was a critical player this season as she registered a career high of 30 points on 15 goals and 15 assists.
Although this season was the program’s best in over a decade, the future is incredibly bright for this young group. Star forward Maureen Murphy ’21 has two more seasons to skate for the Friars at her already incredible rate. The Buffalo, New York native, who was invited to the U.S. Women’s National Team Winter Camp earlier this season, led the Friars in both goals (22) and points (43). She was named to the Hockey East All-Star Second Team.
Other accolades for this group included another young-gun, Sara Hjalmarsson ’22, who was named to the Hockey East All-Rookie Team. The freshman from Sweden tallied 11 goals and 12 assists this season.
Goaltender Maddie Myers ’19 and defenseman Avery Fransoo ’20 also had fantastic seasons, good enough to earn Hockey East All-Star Honorable Mentions. Myers finished the season with a 1.72 Goals Against Average and a .929 Save Percentage. Fransoo tallied her career high in points with 18, while also being one of the Friars’ best defensemen as she recorded an impressive +10 on the season.
Although the hopes of reaching the NCAA Tournament fell just short, there were many highlights for this squad over the season. The Friars recorded wins over the #3 Northeastern Huskies, #5 Boston College Eagles, and #8 Boston University Terriers, proving that their program has become a top team in the country. A 24-win season has not been accomplished since 2002, so this season will be marked as a historic one even though no championships were won.
This year proved to be a massive turning point and stepping stone for the Friars who are loaded with young talent and a bright future. Matt Kelly and his coaching staff have now laid the groundwork and set the bar high for Friars women’s hockey going forward, so it will be no surprise if a Hockey East Championship is captured soon.