Holy Cross’ Women’s Hockey team opened their historic inaugural season as a Division 1 program in the Hockey East league. Last year, Holy Cross went 16-9-3 in their transition season as an independent Division 1 program and fell to Franklin Pierce 4-3 in overtime in the NEWHA championship game. This year, the Crusaders face a daunting schedule against some of the best competition in the world. Holy Cross should anticipate and prepare for more intense and fast paced game play as they embark on their new season in one of the most prestigious and storied leagues in hockey history: the Hockey East. The opponents the Crusaders will face are not just talented players —they are the most high-caliber competition in the country. Case in point—eight of the 23 members of the gold-medal winning U.S. women’s hockey team in the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics were either current players or alumni of Hockey East, and three members of the Canadian women’s hockey team had Hockey East ties as well. Although Holy Cross has dominated NEHC play the past three seasons—tallying 48 wins and only 6 losses—Hockey East is a different animal and undoubtedly full of elite competition. Only time will tell how Holy Cross stacks up. The Crusaders’ first test in their new league comes October 12 in an away game against Providence.
This past weekend, Holy Cross began their historic season in a two-game non-conference series against RIT (2-0-0). The Crusaders traveled home from Rochester with a loss and a tie from their two meetings. They dropped the season opener 2-0 after giving up two quick goals in the first period, despite outshooting RIT 15-14 in the remainder of the game. One of the RIT goals was a result of a power-play, and history would repeat itself the next afternoon when RIT would take advantage of yet another power-play opportunity. Sophomore goalie Julia Pelletier, one of the four netminders battling it out for the starting position, made 27 saves in the game.
Saturday afternoon, Holy Cross earned their first tie of the season. Freshman Carlie Magier scored the first goal of her collegiate career in the first period after finishing a rebound from senior Danielle Doherty. Amanda Kewer also picked up an assist on the play to help put the Crusaders on the board. However, Holy Cross did not find the back of the net again in the game; RIT capitalized on a power-play late in the first period to equalize the match and seal the fate of the game. Goaltending continues to be a positive aspect of Holy Cross’ defense. Freshman goalie Jada Brenon made an impressive first start in between the pipes; Brenon logged 29 saves and was named the first star of the game.
The Crusaders have a week of downtime before they head back to upstate New York this weekend for a match against RPI. They continue their six-game away match streak until a late October 19 home opener against Brown.
Photo by Mark Seliger