The 2022-2023 hockey season is right around the corner as exhibition games for both teams ended this past week. The men’s hockey team was ranked No. 15 in the nation by USA Today going into the season, which is five spots higher than the ranking the Friars earned at the end of last season. The team was also pegged to finish No. 4 in the Hockey East conference, one spot higher than where they were predicted to finish last year. In the offseason, head coach Nate Leman signed a multi-year contract extension and the exact details have not been released at this time. Leman led the Friars to the 2015 national championship, two Frozen Four appearances, and six-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances throughout his 11 year tenure at Providence. This upcoming season, Leman is bringing in high level recruits including Brady Berard ’25 of the U.S. National Development Program, Boston Bruins fourth round draft pick Phillip Svedeback ’25, New York Rangers fifth round draft pick Jaroslav Chmelar ’25, and junior transfer from the University of Minnesota Duluth and Chicago Blackhawks draft pick Connor Kelley ’24. These names are ones to keep an eye on as the season progresses as they look to add to the talented Friars roster. Returning stars for the Friars include captains Max Crozier ’23 and Parker Ford ’23, Patrick Moynihan ’23, Brett Berard ’24, and goaltenders Austin Roden ’22 and aforementioned Svedeback.
The men’s team took on Western Ontario this past Saturday and came out on top 5–2 thanks to goals from Cam McDonald ’23, Riley Duran ’25, Parker Ford, and Uula Ruikka ’24. Cody Monds ’25 had two assists in the game and Austin Roden stopped 29 out of 31 shots to help secure the exhibition win. The Friars also had 54 shots on goal through three periods and an 18–7 shot advantage after the first period. The team then traveled down to Hamden, CT to take on No. 7 in the nation, Quinnipiac University. Providence ended up falling 4–2 in a very rough and chippy game where penalties totaled 24 mins for the Friars and 22 for the opposing Bobcats. A third period scrum resulted in ejections of Connor Kelley for Providence and Desi Burgart for Quinnipiac, and a total of seven penalties adding up to 30 minutes combined. Duran and Chmelar added tallies for the Friars and Svedeback stopped 22 out of 26 shots in the losing effort.
The Friars will be a team to watch late in the season and hope to climb in the rankings to make the tournament this year after being the last team out two years in a row. They take on Sacred Heart University on Friday, Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. in Schneider Arena.
As for the women’s team, the outlook is good as head coach Matt Kelley starts his fifth year as the bench boss for the Friars. Just like the men’s team, the Friars are picked to finish No. 4 in the Hockey East conference. The team is loaded with experience with the likes of last season’s all-star Sarah Abstreiter GS ’22 and stud defenseman Sara Hjalmarsson GS ’22 along with young stars that exploded on the scene last year.
The Friars’ season is already underway as they split the opening series with Saint Lawrence University in Schneider Arena two weekends ago on Sept. 23 and 24. The team took the opening game in overtime 3–2 thanks to goals from Caroline Peterson GS ’22, Hjalmarsson, and the overtime winner from freshman Reichen Kirchmair ’26. Kirchmair also notched an assist on the goal by Peterson finishing the game with two points. Abstreiter had 31 saves in the win. The Friars played the Saints again the following day in Schneider and lost 5–2 and currently sit at 1–1–0 for the season. The team put up a fight by going into the second period tied thanks to a goal from Isabelle Hardy ’23. The team fell behind 3–1 in the second but a goal from Peterson put the Friars within one. Saint Lawrence then tallied one in the third and another with 0.2 seconds left, while Abstreiter was pulled for an extra attacker, to make it a final of 5–2. Abstreiter finished the game with 25 saves. The team takes on Union College on Friday, Oct. 7 at 2 p.m. in Schneider Arena.