By Liam Tormey ’22
Sports Assistant Editor
The Providence College Women’s Hockey Team held a record of 5-0-1 when the fall semester ended in mid-December. At the start of the new semester, the Friars are ranked 10th in the country with a 9-4-1 record.
Due to COVID-19 concerns, the Friars played only eight games while classes were out of session. Series against Boston University and the University of New Hampshire were both canceled. In the eight games that they did play, PC went 4-4-0.
To begin the winter break, the Friars hosted the University of Maine for two games on Dec. 18 and 19, 2020. The team split the weekend series against the Black Bears with a 4-0 victory and a 2-1 loss. In the victory, Sara Hjalmarsson ’22 and Annelise Rice ’21 led the way. Hjalmarsson recorded three assists while Rice scored two goals. Goaltender Sandra Abstreiter ’21 finished the night with a shutout, 23 saves, and her second shutout game of the year.
In the loss, Maine grabbed a goal in the first period before the Friars tied it up in the second, but an early third-period goal by the Bears sealed a victory and a split of the weekend series.
After a break due to the holiday season, PC was scheduled to play Boston University in a home-and-home series on Jan. 8 and 9, but due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols, the weekend series was postponed and has yet to be rescheduled.
Instead, the Friars traveled to the College of the Holy Cross on Jan. 9 to start off the new year against the 3-7-0 Crusaders. After falling in a 2-1 hole, the Friars would tie things up in the second with a goal from Hayley Lunny ’21. The Friars then exploded offensively in the third, as Lindsay Bochna ’24, Bailey Burton ’23, and Lauren DeBlois ’23 all netted goals to secure a 5-2 victory. The Friars ended with 48 shots on net and improved their record to 7-1-1.
Three of the Friars’ four losses since the winter break have come against a very strong Northeastern University squad. PC traveled to Boston for the first time this season on Jan. 12 to take on the Huskies. Unfortunately, the play of Huskies goalie Aerin Frankel and her 32-save shutout led to a Friar defeat.
Before their most recent games against Northeastern, the Friars got back on the winning track in a home-and-home with Merrimack University. The first period would remain scoreless, but Hjalmarsson got the Friars on the board in the second period. Ciare Barone ’22 would build the lead with a goal right before the end of the second, and Bochna would seal the deal with an empty netter to secure a 3-0 victory. Abstreiter made 22 saves in the shutout victory.
On Sunday, Jan. 17, the team again handled business against the Warriors. Isabelle Hardy ’23 put one in the net just 51 seconds into the contest. However, Merrimack would tie things up before the period ended and took the lead in the second. This proved to be of little issue to PC, as they rode another three-goal third to a 4-2 victory. Peterson, Burton, and Claire Tyo ’24, were the heroes in the third this time, as they helped push the Friars to an impressive 9-2-1 record.
The Friars’ most recent series was during the weekend of Jan. 22 in a home-and-home against Northeastern. Unfortunately for the Friars, the results were much of the same from the previous meeting. Prior to the game, the Huskies ranked fourth in the country. PC cut the lead down in the second period to make it a 2-1 game, but two goals in the third period lifted Northeastern to a 4-1 victory.
Saturday’s game was not much better. Northeastern jumped on PC from the start, riding three powerplay goals to a 5-0 win.
These results would bump the Friars down to No. 10 in the nation, the position in which they currently sit. Last weekend’s meeting against UNH was canceled due to COVID-related issues within the program. Like many teams in this altered season, the Friars will have to now wait and see when they are scheduled to play next.
Nevertheless, the Friars have enjoyed a tremendous start to their season. Hjalmarsson has been a major factor in the team’s success so far. She leads the team in points this season with 14 and has tallied five goals and nine assists. Additionally, Rice is tied for first in the nation with three game-winning goals this season.
Abstreiter, the senior goaltender from Freising, Germany, has appeared in every game for the Friars. She currently has a save percentage of .930 and a goals against average of 1.91, and is ranked 12th in the nation.
Another major part of the Friars’ success over the first 14 games of the season has been the power-play. The team is fourth in the country in power-play percentage at 24 percent with 12 power-play goals overall.
PC currently sits third in the Hockey East standings just behind Boston College and Northeastern with a strong 9-4-1 record and will look to continue to climb even higher in the rankings.