Ben Lepper ’25
It’s been fun at the Hart lately. Both Holy Cross hockey teams have enjoyed successes after a much needed break in December. Last we checked in, things weren’t going so great for the Crusaders. But both teams have reached a new gear in their play recently, and have begun to flash incredible potential.
After a brutal start, Holy Cross women’s hockey has gone 4-4 since the break, highlighted by a 5-1 thrashing of Merrimack in North Andover. After falling behind 1-0 in the first, the Crusaders rattled off five unanswered goals, including two power play goals from Bryn Saarela. The Crusaders have also defeated Maine and Boston University, downing the latter twice. For a fairly new addition to the murderer’s row that is Hockey East, this is extremely impressive. The potential is starting to break out.
One of the wins against BU made national headlines, as Holy Cross took them down at a national landmark: Fenway Park. Casey Borgiel, Darci Johal, and Alexia Moreau all scored en route to a 3-2 victory over the Terriers. After Holy Cross scored first, BU did everything in their power to shake the feisty Crusaders, resulting in some pretty ugly penalties. Terrier defenseman Alex Allan received a game misconduct and a five minute major penalty for an ugly hit from behind, and BU was never able to retake control of the game.
Sophomore Emilie Fortunato was featured heavily in promotional material for the Frozen Fenway matchup, and for her, this game was a dream come true. “I had chills as soon as I stepped onto the field,” she tells The Spire. “All of us couldn’t help but stop and look around in awe throughout the game; seeing friends and family supporting us at Fenway was simply unreal. There’s nothing like playing hockey outside, and winning at Fenway with my best friends took it to another level.”
Switching gears to the men, they have gotten hot. After dropping their first post-break game, the Crusaders have gone 5-2-2. They have been particularly dominant in-league, sweeping back-to-back games against Air Force and Bentley. Perhaps their most interesting feature is their ability to give the fans free hockey: four of their last nine needed overtime or a shootout to decide a victor. They’ve won two in overtime, but have lost two in the shootout. Regardless, a point is a point.
Their biggest win recently took place in late January, when they met RIT at the Hart. RIT has been strong this season; at press time, they currently have a 19-8-1 record, winning 15 of those games in-league. Coming into this matchup, they were looking for the sweep against Holy Cross, having won their prior three matchups, including one the night before. The Crusaders had other plans.
After letting a goal in early, the Crusaders responded late in the first period with a goal from Nick Hale, and would take the lead late in the second thanks to a Tyler Ghiradosi’s efforts. RIT’s Carter Wilkie would tie it up in the third, and after a poorly timed cross-check from Tiger forward Evan Miller, Holy Cross’ Devin Phillips would reclaim the lead with a power play goal. But, the Crusaders let a late goal in, forcing the game to overtime.
Knowing their recent performances in shootouts, the Crusaders likely knew they needed to end things quickly. Junior Jack Ricketts answered the call by taking matters into his own hands. He pounced on a loose puck, took it across the neutral zone, and netted the OT winner. His efforts earned him Crusader of the Week and Player of the Month honors. He has started to make a habit of it, too; he scored another OT winner at Bentley on February 4th.
When asked about the moment, Ricketts told The Spire that “It was a great win and moment for the guys. I just created a turnover, beat their guy down the ice, and went high blocker. It was great to get this win in our rink in front of our school — there was so much energy there and we could really feel all of the support from everyone.”
The energy is sure to continue with the next slate of games. The women will travel to Providence for a match against the Friars on February 10, while the men’s next contest will be on the same day in West Point to take on Army. When the Crusaders eventually do return to the Hart, make sure to come and support them!
Featured image courtesy of Holy Cross Athletics
Leave a Reply