Justin Bishop ’24
The Providence College Women’s Hockey team season has come to an end with a 4–1 loss in the quarterfinal round of the Hockey East Tournament to the University of Vermont.
The team had recently beaten the College of the Holy Cross 3–1 in the opening round of the tournament, success in part as a result of goals from captain Caroline Peterson ’22, Ashley Clark ’25, and the empty-netter from KC Brooks ’24.
However, they could not get past the Catamounts and the Hockey East Scoring Champion, Theresa Schafzahl, who also tallied two goals in the game. The bright spot in this game for the Friars was Lily Hendrikson ’25 scoring the lone goal for the Friars with less than six minutes to go in regulation. The team also outshot the Catamounts 32–27 and went 1-1 on the power play.
The Friars ended the season with an overall record of 16–14–6 and a conference record of 12–12–3 and placed seventh in the conference. The preseason rankings anticipated Providence placing second and predicted the team would compete for the Hockey East title.
With a veteran group such as assistant captain Hunter Barnett ’22, Haley Lunny ’22GS, and Peterson, and with young talent like Lindsay Bochna ’24 and Brooke Becker ’24, the team was poised to dethrone the reigning champs in the Northeastern University Huskies.
PC started out on a tear, beating a professional women’s team, the Boston Pride, in exhibition and then went on to start the season 3-0-2 beating then-ranked no. 2 Northeastern 3–0, earning a no. 9 ranking.
Then the team stalled out and went 1-5-2 over the next eight games. They split wins with most home-and-home series and could not seem to keep a win streak going to propel them in the standings.
The Women’s Hockey team had a head-to-head winning record against two teams in the conference, 4-0-0 against Holy Cross and 3-0-0 against Merrimack College, where both of those schools rank no. 9 and no. 10 respectively in Hockey East.
They struggled on the road going 7-9-3 when away from Schneider Arena along with an 8-14-5 record when not leading after the second period. Paired with a middle of the pack special teams’ units, powerplay and penalty kill, the team relied heavily on scoring first.
The team was riding a 6-1-1 record into the playoffs after taking down Merrimack twice, Holy Cross twice, splitting with the University of Connecticut, and going 1-0-1 against Boston University.
The reason was not because of goaltending, as both Sandra Abstreiter ’22, an assistant captain, and Mireille Kingsley ’24 did their jobs soundly. Abstreiter was the starter and played 27 games while posting a 1.73 GAA and a .945 SV percent along with three shutouts, making her a semi-finalist for Goaltender of the Year and a Hockey East All-Star goaltender.
Kingsley also had a season to remember as she played in nine games and put up a 1.65 GAA and a .939 SV percent and was the Hockey East Goalie of the Week twice, the week of Nov. 14 and the week of Dec. 5.
Amongst other nominations and awards, Sara Hjalmarsson ’22 was named to the Swedish Olympic Hockey team where they finished in 8th place.
Providence’s associate head coach Ali Domenico was chosen to be an assistant for the Canadian Olympic Hockey team where they edged the U.S.A 3-2 to win Gold.
The PC Women’s Hockey team will look to rebound next year with a lot of the younger players taking this year to learn from the older girls.
Seeing names like Barnett, Abstreiter, Peterson, and Lunny depart at the end of this year will have head coach Matt Kelly searching for his next leaders. It seems he has already found his next goalie in Kingsley, but he will have to look for his next top scorers.
Bochna was the second leading scorer on the team as a sophomore, scoring 19 points, nine goals, and 10 assists, and the next closest non-senior was fellow sophomore Brooke Becker as the defenseman with 12 points, two goals, and 10 assists.
Other than Becker and Bochna, the rest of the team will have to step up if the Friars want to stay relevant in a jam-packed Hockey East conference that houses two top-10 teams in no. 3 Northeastern and no. 10 Vermont.