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.
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.
Women’s Ice Hockey Preview
Friars with High Hopes Starting the Season
Stephen Foster ’22
The Providence College Women’s Ice Hockey Team began the 2021-22 season on a high note with an exhibition win over the Boston Pride on Friday, Oct. 1, setting the tone for what looks to be a successful season.
They hope to build off of a 2020-21 season that saw them finish with a 12-8-1 record while spending 14 consecutive weeks in the top 10 for national rankings.
The Friars are currently ranked No. 11 in the USCHO Division I Women’s National Collegiate PairWise Rankings and have started the season with four wins, one loss, and two ties. They have collected wins over No. 27 University of New Hampshire, No. 16 Northeastern University, and No. 26 Union College, while tying No. 6 Quinnipiac University twice and losing to No. 15 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Women’s hockey has some major talent this year, with many of last year’s most influential players returning again for the 2021-22 season. The players with the top two most points (total goals and assists) last year are returning as seniors this year, hoping to cap off their senior season on a high note. The Friars also added six new players to the team for the 2021-22 season.
Forward Sara Hjalmarsson ’22 led PC in points last season with five goals and 12 assists. She is no stranger to competition, having played for Sweden in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang and winning bronze in the Women’s World U18 Tournament in 2016. Forward Caroline Peterson ’22 finished second in points for PC Women’s Hockey last season.
Her 15 points, with a team high of eight goals, trailed only Hjalmarsson. Peterson was awarded the Friars’ Offensive Player of the Year Award for her efforts. She is also experienced in competitive play, having won four state championships across high school and club women’s ice hockey before attending Providence College.
Forward Hayley Lunny ’21GS is coming off a season where she totaled nine points on four goals and five assists, as well as 31 blocked shots, the second most on the team. She has scored four game winning goals and two game winning assists during her time at Providence College.
On the defensive side, the Friars are anchored by Brooke Becker ’24 and Claire Tyo ’24. Becker totaled 14 points on three goals and 11 assists in the 2020-21 season, ranking first on the team in points scored by a defenseman and second on the team in assists.
Tyo picked up the Rookie of the Year Award last year for PC. She had eleven points on three goals and eight assists. As the two defensemen are only sophomores this year, they should have much room to grow even better throughout the season.
Women’s Ice Hockey is happy to have last year’s goalkeeper Sandra Abstreiter ’21GS returning to net again for the 2021-22 season.
Abstreiter is a graduate student who has consistently manned the goal for the Friars since her junior year in 2019-20. Last year she had a breakout season, totaling a career high 526 saves. Abstreiter is also used to performing well under the pressure of post-season hockey.
In the last two games against No. 1 Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament on Mar. 16 and No. 2 Northeastern in the Hockey East Championship Game on Mar. 6, she recorded a career high 41 saves. Furthermore, the goalkeeper was awarded the team’s Defensive Player of the Year Award and the Providence College athletic department’s Female Athlete of the Year Award for the 2020-21 season.
PC’s impressive lineup had them ranked high on preseason polls. In the Hockey East Preseason poll, the Friars were one of only two teams to receive a vote to finish first place in the Hockey East.
They finished second in the poll and are projected to finish behind Northeastern University, who lost in the NCAA Championship game last year. In National Polls, the Friars received three votes in the USCHO poll and 10 votes in the USA Hockey Poll.
So far this season, the team has been putting up impressive numbers. Lunny, Becker, and Lindsay Bochna ’24 are currently leading the team in points with five each, and Tyo is right behind with four points. Lunny leads the team with three goals, while Becker, Bochna, and Tyo lead the team in assists with three each.
Lunny also leads the Friars in blocks so far with 12. Goaltender Albstreiter has been locked down in the net, winning the Hockey East Goaltender of the Week on Oct. 11 for her shutout performance over No. 16 Northeastern University. She recorded a combined 56 saves that weekend against Northeastern and No. 27 University of New Hampshire.
PC Women’s Ice Hockey combines seasoned, experienced players with new players ready to step up and fill the spots vacated by graduates.
The returners have significant experience playing competitive, post-season hockey. Their success in clutch moments should translate well to a Hockey East league that is ready for some top-tier competition in the 2021-22 season.