Womens Hockey Playoff Preview

by Joe Quirk '23 on March 2, 2023
Sports Co-Editor

Friar Sports

The 2022-23 season has been a tremendous one for the Providence College women’s ice hockey program. The Friars finished off a spectacular regular season with an overall record of 20–10–4 and a Hockey East record of 14–8–4. That was good enough for them to close out the season at No. 14 in the nation according to the USCHO poll. They ended the season third in the deep Hockey East conference, trailing only the University of Vermont and Northeastern University. 

The Friars ended the season hot, winning two of their last three games and ending their season with a 3–0 shutout win on the road against Boston College. They hoped that their recent hot streak would continue into Hockey East tournament play, and that is exactly what happened. Hosting the University of Maine on Saturday, Feb. 25, the Friars easily won by a score of 5–2. Led by superb offensive play by Brooke Becker ’24, who tallied four assists, and Caroline Peterson ’23GS, who had two goals, the Friars easily willed themselves past the Black Bears. Veteran Sara Hjalmarsson ’23GS also tallied a goal as the Friars never lost a single period of play.

The Friars have a tough road ahead following the uplifting victory. Their next matchup is the Hockey East semifinals, which will see the Friars head to Burlington, VT on Wednesday, March 1st to face the University of Vermont. Vermont finished second in the conference and currently sits at No. 11 in the nation. If the Friars can surpass the Catamounts, then the Hockey East championship game awaits them on Saturday, March 4. If they make it to the title game, it will be the program’s first time back in the Hockey East championship since the 2020-21 season. The Friars are 3–4 historically in the big game, last time falling to Northeastern. 

Even if the Friars don’t make it to the championship, they have positioned themselves nicely to earn an at-large bid for the NCAA tournament. The tournament is not only the hope, but the expectation for a Friar squad that has been among the best in the nation all season. An NCAA tournament bid would represent just the third appearance for the Friars in the women’s NCAA ice hockey tournament, their first appearance since 2021, and the second in the tenure of head coach Matt Kelly. Despite how short it has been, Kelly’s tenure as the head man for the Friars has been one of the most successful in program history. Kelly has helped turn the Friars into a program that consistently fights for NCAA tournament bids and has had more success making the national bracket in recent years than his counterparts on the men’s team.