By Luke Sweeney ’24
The Providence College hockey teams have started their 2021-2022 season off extremely well. Both the Men’s and Women’s Hockey teams find themselves securely ranked within the top 20 teams in the nation. PC has been a hotspot for top hockey recruits for decades now, and the first two seasons of the 2020s have been no different. The men’s team, led by NHL draftees Brett Berard ’24 and Patrick Moynihan ’23, have started the season off with a 12-7-0 record.
On Dec. 3 and Dec. 4, the men’s hockey team suffered two losses in a row to No. 16 team, Northeastern University. This loss came as the only smudge on the Friars’ record, since their double-header loss to the also top-ranked No. 12 University of Massachusetts back in early November.
In their most recent face-off against Northeastern, the men’s team lost 4-1 with the only Friars goal coming from Garrett Devine ’23. This was Devine’s first career goal with Providence, coming from a rebound off a Berard shot in the second period.
Before the Huskies made the most of a scoring opportunity and went up 2-0 in the second, the Friars dominated the pace of play for most of the period. Although the final score says otherwise, PC played hard and kept up with their opposition for the entire contest but could not capitalize when it mattered most.
PC outshot Northeastern 35-19, but the Huskies’ goaltender was able to stop 19 attempts. Center Parker Ford ’23 also had a big night by going 17-of-22 on faceoffs.
The middle pack of the men’s NCAA hockey ranking has been wildly competitive recently, with many moving spots and nothing set in stone. Schools such as University of Massachusetts Amherst, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Northeastern University, and Denver University are all battling for the same spots with neck-and-neck records.
The Women’s Hockey team has been successful in their 2021 campaign as well.
In an extremely tough conference, the women’s team started out 7-5-5 with a 4-4-2 in-conference record. With a solid ranking of 11 in the nation currently, the Friars hope to slip past the University of Connecticut, Clarkson University, and Colgate University in the coming weeks to break into the top 10.
Recently, the Women’s team played two tough games against Princeton University, both resulting in a tie. This was following a dominant home game shutout against Merrimack College in which they won 3-0.
In the first bout against Princeton, Sara Hjalmarsson ’22 scored the single and deciding goal of the game on a power play. The play came off an assist from Hayley Lunny ’22GS on a power play with three minutes and 33 seconds remaining in the second period. Another notable moment from the game came from goaltender Sandra Abstreiter ’22GS. She achieved her second shutout of the season with 34 saves and no goals allowed. This was Abstreiter’s eighth shutout of her career.
The second game in a double-header against Princeton on Saturday resulted in a 1-1 draw. In the first period, no goals were scored, but the Princeton Tigers were able to outscore the Friars 10-6.
Princeton took the first lead in the second period and was able to maintain the advantage until there were just 51 seconds left in the game. When it mattered most, the Friars pulled their goaltender, and Caroline Peterson ’22 was able to punch one in the back of the net to force overtime. Goaltender Mireille Kingsley ’24 was able to make four huge saves while a woman down in overtime to save the tie.
It is safe to say that if both the men’s and women’s hockey teams continue to play as they have been this year, neither of the teams should have any trouble making a run in the postseason.