By Eileen Flynn ’20
While most of us spent Christmas break catching up on sleep and spending time with family and friends, the Providence College Men’s Hockey Team had quite a busy month. The Friars participated in two different tournaments, the 2019 Catamount Cup and the 2020 Fortress Invitational.
Just a few days after Christmas, the Friars laced up against the Lakers from Lake Superior State University to kick off the Catamount Cup. Ranked at No. 13/15, PC set the tone for the game from the start, outshooting the Lakers 9-7 in the first 20 minutes. Co-captain Spenser Young ’20 tallied his first goal of the season, finishing a pass from Jamie Engelbert ’23. The majority of the second period was spent in the Friar’s offensive zone, testing Lake Superior State’s defense. The score remained 1-0 at the end of the second despite both Jack Dugan’s ’22 and Patrick Moynihan’s ’23 prime opportunities. The Lakers were able to capitalize on their power play at 6:25 in the third period, keeping both teams on the ice a little bit longer for overtime. Greg Printz ’21 ended the game with a rebound goal, finalizing the first win of the break for the Friars as well as Coach Leaman’s 186th team win as head coach.
The Friars brought a similar energy to their next matchup. In their second game of the tournament against Union College, Tyce Thompson ’22 scored the first goal for PC. On a power play in the first period, Thompson netted his NCAA-leading 14th goal of the season. PC more than doubled the amount of Union’s shots on net, but could only put one goal in before the end of the first period. The Friars let Union finish a rebound with 5:11 left in regulation, ending the game in a tie.
The Friars were off to their next tournament, the Fortress Invitational, a week later, this time just a little bit further away. PC played Army West Point in Las Vegas, NV at the T-Mobile Arena on Jan. 3. The bigger the venue, the better the Friars played, securing the 3-1 win. Dugan found the back of the net first, quick to follow was Luke Johnson ’23 and Matt Koopman ’22. The Friars remain unbeaten now in their past four games, scoring first in every match-up.
Young discussed the team’s positive experience in Las Vegas, saying, “It’s cool to do trips like these. It gives the team a regional type feel and allows us to play against competitive teams.” The Fortress Invitational hosted 4 out of the top 20 teams. “Since we have such a young team, it is good to get an idea of how we need to prepare for the future.”
The Friars advanced to the championship game against Cornell University after their win against Army West Point. In yet another intense game, PC came out strong, scoring the first goal about 6:35 into the first period. Thompson scored, bringing his impressive goal count to 15. The game went back and forth, until the third period ended in a stalemate. Although the teams played more hockey in overtime, the game was eventually resolved in a shootout. Michael Lackey ’20GS protected the Friars’ net while Dugan scored the winning goal, a fitting performance from the Vegas Golden Knights draft pick.
“We knew Cornell and Army were both skilled but hard working gritty teams so it took a complete team effort to come out of the tournament with the trophy,” Young reflects on the team’s win over break. “We stuck to our game plan and our best players stepped up and scored some big goals.”
Although the Friars had a busy month, their winning momentum has already helped them beat the American International College Yellow Jackets on Jan. 9, as well as fellow Hockey East opponent the University of Connecticut on Jan. 11. Young is looking forward to the rest of the season, especially the upcoming games against the University of New Hampshire from his home state. With more Hockey East teams to face, the competition does not get easier. However, the Friars are in a good position to take on the second half of their season as they continue to move up in the NCAA rankings all while looking to build upon their seven-game win-streak.