Justin Bishop ’24
The Providence College Men’s Hockey team fell 4-2 against No. 11 University of Massachusetts Amherst on Saturday, March 12 in the Hockey East Tournament Quarterfinal after beating the University of Vermont 2-1 on Wednesday, March 9. The team entered the third period down 3-1 after Riley Duran ’25 scored his 10th goal of the year late in the second, but UMass put one in the empty net before Matt Koopman ‘21 potted his fifth of the year to cut the deficit to two with only 1:30 left. The Friars’ season comes to a disappointing end, and it seems they will just miss out on the NCAA Tournament again. Last year they were a COVID-19 bubble team but ended up not playing despite two teams dropping out due to positive tests. The team ended this season with a respectable record of 22-14-2 but finished 12-11-1 in conference play, putting them in seventh out of eleven in the Hockey East Conference. The Friars finished with the second most wins (22) in the conference next to Northeastern University which finished with 25 and were ranked first in the conference and No. 10 in the country. To put it simply, the Friars did not have a bad season; other teams in conference play just did better.
Bright spots this season for the team included winning 22 games. The Friars finished the season with both a top-10 Power-Play Percentage (PP%) and top 15 Penalty-Kill Percentage (PK%). Sophomore Brett Berard ’24 led the team in Goals (18), Points (38), and Penalty Minutes (37). Five Friars scored at least 10 goals this year, and 13 Friars had points in double digits. Jaxson Stauber ’23 had a stellar year and posted a 21-14-2 record while having a 2.10 Goals Against Average (GAA) along with a .921 Save Percentage (SV%) and put up four shutouts. The team defended Schneider Arena well with a 14-4-1 at home record.
However, the biggest news came out on Sunday, March 13, night as the Boston Bruins signed the captain of the Friars, Michael Callahan ’22, to a two-year entry-level contract. Callahan, who grew up in Franklin, MA, was a three-year captain of Providence and finished his college career with 73 points in 138 games. He was selected back in the 2018 Entry Draft where the Arizona Coyotes originally drafted him in the fifth round. The local kid will spend time in the Bruins American Hockey League affiliate, the Providence Bruins, so he does not have to get acclimated to a new city just yet.
This team has a bright future with a young core in Berard, Duran, Nick Poisson ‘24, Cody Monds ’25, Guillaume Richard ’25, and Chase Yoder ’24, who all were major pieces this past season. They will look to veteran leadership in Patrick Moynihan ’23, Jaxson Stauber, and Parker Ford ’23. The Friars will have at least eight drafted players on the team next year, and possibly more with the NHL Entry Draft occurring this summer. The Cowl will highlight the newcomers for next year’s season next fall, but names to keep an eye on this summer are Brady Berard, brother of current Friar Brett Berard from East Greenwich, RI; Chase DaFoe from Beverley, MA; and Cole Pelc out of Buffalo, NY. With a mix of experience from the current players along with the incoming talent, the team is preparing for a deep run next year to establish themselves as not only a Hockey East powerhouse, but also have a national presence.