A Look at Friar Hockey Before Break
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.
Men’s Hockey Update
No. 8 Ranked Friars Staying in the Moment
The Providence College Men’s Hockey Team began their 2021-22 campaign on an upswing, defeating Army West Point 7-0 in their season opener. Since this victory, they haven’t turned back.
The Providence Friars have an overall record of 5-2 with a conference record of 2-0. Their impressive record has rewarded them with being ranked No. 8 overall in the country.
There have been many positives in the short season, most recently when the Providence Friars took on the No. 8-ranked Denver Pioneers.
The matchup against Denver has been the highlight of PC’s young season. The Friars defeated Denver 6-5 in a late night thriller. In the first period, goalie Jaxson Stauber ’23 was the star of the show. He stopped all 19 shots he faced, including several shots that came during a two-minute, five-on-three power play for the Pioneers. Stauber ended his night with an impressive 39 saves.
The Denver Pioneers scored early and often in the second period. Justin Lee and Cole Guttman gave the Pioneers a quick and early 2-0 lead. The lone highlight from the second period came when Max Crozier ’23 appeared in his first game of the 2021-22 season and scored. Unfortunately for the Friars, Denver scored two more goals in the second period, making it a 4-1 game.
The third period of the game is when things really got exciting. In the first five minutes of the third period, Providence exploded with three goals, including two from Nick Poisson ’24 and one from Jamie Engelbert ’23, who recorded his first goal of the season. Poisson and Engelbert made it a 4-4 game not long into the third period. It had turned into a shootout. Not long after, Denver’s Carter Savoie made it a 5-4 game on a Pioneers power play. Luckily for the Friars, Poisson responded with his own power play goal, tying the game at 5-5.
Brett Berard ’24 scored the game-winning goal with only 1:01 left on the clock. Berard’s sixth goal in six games capped off an amazing PC comeback victory.
Poisson was named the Hockey East Player of the Week on Oct. 25. A native of Vancouver, B.C., Poisson is one of the main reasons Providence was able to make a comeback against Denver. His third period rally against the No. 8-ranked opponent on Friday, Oct. 22 was by far his most impressive game of the season; Poisson had a hat trick and an assist. Poisson leads the Friars in scoring with 10 points, which ranks him second among all Hockey East players.
Another Friars honor was given to Men’s Hockey head coach Nate Leaman and Friar Director of Hockey Operations Theresa Feaster, who were both selected to be a part of the 2022 U.S. National Junior Team. Coach Leaman will return as the head coach of the team while Feaster returns as a video coach. The U.S. National Junior Team will take part in the 2022 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship on Dec. 26 to Jan. 5. Team USA looks to collect their sixth medal in seven years.
Looking back at the Men’s Hockey Team, the Friars currently sit in second place in the Hockey East Standings, only behind the University of Connecticut. The Friars look to move up in the standings this upcoming week as they have three matchups against the University of New Hampshire, followed by matchups against University of Massachusetts Amherst and the University of Connecticut.
Boston University and the University of Connecticut look to be Providence College’s toughest opponents early in the season. UConn is currently 2-1 and Boston University is right behind PC with a record of 2-2.
PC takes on UConn on Saturday, Nov. 13 at Schneider Arena. In order to keep the Huskies at bay, PC will have to keep senior forward Jachym Kondelik under control. Kondelik leads the Huskies with six points. He has two goals and four assists on the season. Another player to keep an eye on is UConn’s rising talent, sophomore forward Ryan Tverberg. The Ontario native sits right behind Kondelik with five points, including three goals and two assists.
The Huskies should not be too much of a challenge for the Friars. When looking at the statistics, one can gather that PC has the advantage. On average, the Friars are scoring four goals per game while the Huskies are only scoring three. The Friars are also well adapting to capitalize during power plays. When given the opportunity to use a power play, the Friars are 10-29 in goal opportunities, while limiting opponents to only three goals in 25 opportunities.
For PC to defeat the University of Connecticut and all other tough opponents, they will have to stick to their game plan and continue to do what they do well. They will most definitely have to continue to capitalize during power plays. Goalie Jaxson Stauber has been performing extremely well all season. The Friars can look to Stauber and a well-rounded defense to limit opposing goals. If the defense does their job, Providence’s top scorers Bernard, Poisson, and Parker Ford ’23 will do their best to give the Friars the advantage.
Make sure to keep up with the PC Men’s Hockey Team; do not miss the great season that awaits!