Women’s hockey competes in their first Division I NEWHA championship

Benson Furber, Crier Staff

After hosting and beating Stonehill in the NEWHA semifinals, the women’s hockey team punched their ticket to the finals. This solidified a chance to win their first championship as a member of the conference, as well as their first title as a NCAA Division 1 school.

Being the lower seed, the Hawks headed south to the Northwell Health Ice Center, to take on Long Island University. Entering the game, the two teams had mostly been at a deadlock. The lifetime series between the two had resulted in each side winning six games, while dropping six, as well as two ties. 

This meant the finals matchup would likely be a close one. In their series versus LIU, Saint Anselm averaged 2.13 goals a game. 

The game opened exactly the way it was expected to. Neither team could find the back of the net until late in the first period. LIU found the back of the Hawk net, scoring a rebound from an initial save by senior Goalie Allie Kelley at 17:10 of the first period.

Kelley was heavily pressured during period one. However, the Hawk Goalie was able to stop thirteen of the fourteen shots sent on goal in the first twenty minutes of play.

The game stayed gridlocked for the entirety of the second period, as neither side was able to find the back of the net. As time wound down, the period got chippy. Both sides received cross-checking penalties, as well as roughing penalties in the period. 

As the third period began, the score was still LIU 1, Saint Anselm 0. However, as the period had just crossed the halfway point, LIU scored again to extend their lead to 2 goals. When LIU scored, both sides were down a skater due to penalties. During the four on four, an LIU skater made a nice move around the Saint Anselm defense, pocketing a backhand goal.

Saint Anselm would get one more power play, however they were unable to find the back of the net. In a very hard fought effort, the Hawks fell to LIU 2-0, crowning LIU the 2022-2023 champions of the NEWHA.

Saint Anselm finished their season with a record of 18 wins, 17 losses, and 4 ties, receiving 14 of those wins from conference play. Overall, the Hawks were exceptional on the road this season, posting an above .500 record playing outside the Sullivan Arena.

Merely a few years after making the transition to Division One, the Hawks proved that they are worthy of this level of competition. Facing multiple ranked teams throughout the season, like Number 2/5 Yale, the Hawks proved that they can play with the best teams in the nation.

“This season was tough as we continued with our second season with a full D1 schedule. Our team really became closer and played for each other through the hard games. My favorite thing about this team was the leadership we had from our fifth year and our senior class, as well as seeing younger girls grow as hockey players and leaders,” said junior forward Claire Weber. 

And in their first Division 1 run to the conference championship, the Hawks should be nothing but proud of themselves, and the team will be a force to be reckoned with in years to come. 

“Going into next season the only mindset we have is to do whatever it takes to win the championship. We have come close the past two years, and next year we’re going to work right from the beginning of the season to win it all and go to nationals,” said Weber.