Men’s and Women’s Hockey Ready for Second Half of Play
Friar Hockey Looks to End Season on High Note
Luke Sweeney ’24
The Providence College Men and Women’s Hockey Teams have been fighting through the cold winter months as they both sit at the 17th rank in the nation in their respective seasons.
All of Hockey East would enjoy a few weeks off before the grind of the rest of the season came back underway. For the Friars, after the Christmas holiday, they would head out to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to play in the Kwik Trip Holiday Faceoff.
In their first game, the Friars played Bowling Green State University, and coach Nate Leaman’s team picked up where they left off before the break. They would defeat Bowling Green 6-2 behind Jamie Engelbert’s ’23 natural hat trick and Patrick Moynihan’s ’23 four-point night.
The following night, the Friars battled against Wisconsin University in a tight contest. The game officially ended in a 2-2 tie, but the Badgers claimed the Holiday Faceoff title with a 2-1 win in the shootout.
Jaxson Stauber ’23 made 37 saves in the contest.
The Men’s team has their work cut out for them heading into the final stretch of the season, going 2-2 in the month of January so far. The boys finished up last week with two wins against the Boston College Eagles.
Great goaltending and goal scoring alike contributed to the past two wins over BC, as their first matchup on Jan. 21st ended in a 7-0 blowout with the Friars dominating all corners of the ice. Nick Poisson ’23 racked up two goals and an assist after four shots on goal during the game. Although coming off a few tough losses from the 19th ranked Merrimack College, the Friars were able to overcome their issues and collect themselves for a positive win and tie against Boston College the next week.
The Friars will be on the road this weekend with games at #9 University of Massachusetts Amherst on Friday and Boston University on Sunday.
In recent news for the Providence College Women’s Hockey Team, the girls suffered two hard-fought losses to the powerful 12th ranked University of Vermont this past week.
On New Year’s Eve, the Catamounts and Friars faced off at Schneider Arena where the Friars picked up a 3-1 victory. Sara Hjalmarsson ’22 scored a pair in the second period and Lily Martinson ’25 netted her first collegiate goal to secure the win for the Friars.
Although it has been a tough season for the women Friars this year, they have earned big wins scattered throughout the season that has allowed them to remain in the top 20 teams in the country, including wins against Boston College, University of New Hampshire, and University of Vermont.
Additionally, the girl’s season has been riddled with cancellations and postponements due to the recent outbreak of the new COVID-19 strain. Four of their seven games over the winter break were postponed due to COVID-19. All said and done, the Friars have played extremely well given the hard conditions of playing in a COVID-19 season.
This week, the girls played Boston College on Tuesday in Chestnut Hill. After taking an early 1-0 lead heading into the second period thanks to Hayley Lunny ’22GS, the Friars were not able to hold on and after three third period goals from the Golden Eagles, the team fell to 8-10-5 on the season.
Their season continues this coming weekend with two home games at Schneider Arena against the University of Maine for a Hockey East battle.
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!
PCI: Who is the Greatest Coach in PC History?
By Meaghan Cahill ’20
There have been a number of coaches at Providence College who have contributed to forming the school’s reputation for having a top Division I athletic program. From former basketball coach Joe Mullaney to current hockey coach Nate Leaman, there have been many great coaches at PC. However, when weighing them against one another, it can be argued that Ray Treacy ’82 has been the greatest PC coach thus far.
The director of cross country and track, Treacy has been coaching at the College for the past 33 years. A member of the men’s cross country team during his time as a student at PC, Treacy has an extensive list of both champion runners and championship teams under his belt and is considered one of the nation’s most successful coaches.
Treacy has coached 65 All-American runners, who together have received a total of 176 All-American accolades and seven NCAA individual championships. Treacy’s coaching has led to 15 NCAA individual titles and 45 Big East individual champions, who combined for 117 Big East titles. He has also coached 11 Olympians.
Under Treacy, the women’s cross country team has won two NCAA Cross Country Championships (1995 and 2013), 14 NCAA Northeast Regional Cross Country Championships, 22 Big East Cross Country titles, and 20 New England Championships.
Under Treacy, the cross country teams have won the most championships of all of the teams on PC’s campus and the women’s cross country team is the only team besides the 2015 men’s ice hockey team to win a NCAA Championship title.
While only the women’s cross country team has been able to win the NCAA Championship, Treacy has successfully coached both the men’s and women’s programs to make seven NCAA Championship appearances; four of the seven appearances were back-to-back.
In addition to coaching successful men’s and women’s cross country teams, Treacy has also found tremendous success as a track coach. Throughout his career, Treacy has coached nine athletes to individual NCAA track titles and coached a team to setting the world record in the 4X1500 meter relay in 1991.
In addition to his success as a coach at PC, many of Treacy’s runners have gone on to compete internationally. To date, he has had more than 10 runners compete in the 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2012 Olympics. Treacy himself has also reached an international level; at the U.S. national level, three of the top five athletes in the women’s 10,000 meters at the USA World Championship Trials were coached by Treacy.
Treacy’s record alone speaks to the fact that he is the greatest coach PC has had to date. His ability to put together teams that continuously compete and win at the highest level is a job that not many coaches on campus have been able to do. His collegiate and international success demonstrates that he not only knows his craft, but that he is the best of the best and the College is lucky to have him.
By Joseph Quirk ’23
Providence College has been very fortunate to be the home of a plethora of talented and famous coaches over the years. Picking just one as the greatest coach in school history has proven to be quite a difficult task. However, in the entire history of Providence athletics, no coach as had a more dominate run than current Friars men’s hockey coach Nate Leaman.
Coach Leaman took over the Friars bench in 2011 and since then there have been only two seasons (his first two) that the Friars did not qualify for the NCAA tournament. And in both those seasons, 2011-12 and 2012-13, the Friars made it to the semifinal round of the Big East Tournament. In addition, every year that Leaman’s squad has qualified for the national tournament, they have not been eliminated before the regional semis, which includes a 2014-15 National Championship and a 2018-19 trip to the Frozen Four.
Leaman’s team this year also looks strong as they beat the University of Maine 7-0 in the home opener this past weekend. In addition, this year’s squad features eight players who currently have their draft rights owned by NHL teams.
Leaman’s stretch of success with the men’s hockey program goes unmatched by any other coach in the school’s history.
The first coach to make a conference or NCAA tournament appearance (a semifinals loss) was Tom Eccleston in 1961-64. It would be another 13 years before the Friars made another NCAA tournament.
Before Nate Leaman, no team placed better than third in the tournament. Leaman won the first hockey national championship in school history. He stacks up well with coaches from other sports too.
The first notable name that could be thrown in is Joe Mullaney for basketball, but he coached in the ’50s and ’60s and only had two NCAA tournament appearances. Dave Gavitt had five, including trips to the final four and sweet sixteen, but again that was in the 1970s and Gavitt never placed higher than fourth. Rick Pitino had a short but memorable stint as the Friars leader but only served as coach for two years. Ed Cooley has also made the NCAA tournament five times but unfortunately has never made it past the second round.
There are many others as well, but I think the point is evident: Nate Leaman and what he has accomplished as a strategist, recruitor, and coach as well as what he looks to accomplish in the future establishes him at the greatest coach in PC history.
Hockey Coach Nate Leaman Nominated for Award
Fifth Time Coach Leaman Has Been a Finalist for Coach of the Year
By Cam Smith ’21
Providence College Men’s Hockey Coach Nate Leaman was one of 10 coaches to be nominated for the Spencer Penrose Award, given to the top coach in NCAA Division I ice hockey. Nominees consisted of coaches selected as winners of the Coach of the Year award for their respective conferences, as well as the four coaches who led their teams to the tournament semifinals.
Leaman earned his nomination by taking the Friars to the Frozen Four after the squad snuck into the playoffs. The fourth seed in the East region of the bracket, PC clinched their trip to Buffalo by dazzling the hometown crowd inside the Dunkin’ Donuts Center during two upset victories.
In the NCAA East Regional Semifinal, the Friars came back from a 3-0 deficit to stun top-seeded Minnesota State University. The team caught fire after going down early, hammering home six unanswered goals to pull out the 6-3 victory. Facing Cornell University the following day in the East Regional final proved to be a far less stressful task. The Friars blanked the third-seeded Big Red en route to a 4-0 win, punching their ticket to the Frozen Four and securing their coach a spot in the Spencer Penrose Award conversation.
Leaman is no stranger to being nominated for the prestigious award, as he has now been named a finalist on five separate occasions. Twice (2010, 2011) it was as head coach of Union College, a program he found success with prior to taking the job at PC in April of 2011. He won the award in 2011 with the Dutchmen after leading them to their first NCAA Division I tournament appearance in program history.
Following the game against Cornell, Leaman showed little interest in his own personal accomplishments, instead focusing on what the win meant to a team who had been through a lot over the past year. “I’m happy for the players. I think the guys have been waiting to get back to this point all year long,” he said, referring to last year’s loss in the East Regional final to the University of Notre Dame. “I think there was a lot of ache in our team from losing last year in this game the way we did, with a minute left.’’
Unfortunately, the one-time Penrose Award recipient will have to wait a little longer to win his second, as on Tuesday April 9th the American Hockey Coaches Association announced Greg Carvel of the University of Massachusetts as the 2019 winner. Carvel has led UMass to its first Frozen Four appearance in school history, smashing school records along the way.
One can only assume that Leaman did not bat an eye as the award was announced, for the coach and his players are zeroed in on their ultimate goal: a second national championship in the past five years. Leaman and PC face off against the defending champions from the University of Minnesota Duluth on April 11 in Buffalo with a trip to the title game on the line.