By Sam Scanlon ’19
As both the Providence College Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey teams wrapped up their regular season play, we said goodbye to the five women and six men graduating who have donned the black and white for the past four years. Arianna Buxman ’17, Ariana Reid ’17, Kendra Goodrich ’17, Lauren Klein ’17, and Cassidy Carels ’17 have all taken their last strides at Schneider Arena, but were honored before the last regular season home game against an outstanding Boston College Eagles squad.
The Friars jumped out to an early lead as Christina Putigna ’19 received a favorable bounce when her shot found the back of the net less than a minute into the contest. Putigna’s goal proved to be a major momentum lift as the Friars kept the pressure on the Eagles for the entire game. Kathleen McHugh ’20 registered two goals during the evening, and was later awarded Hockey East Pro Ambitions Rookie of the Week for her performance. Another offensive weapon, Cassidy MacPherson ’19, slid the puck past the Eagles goaltender with a nifty individual effort. The Friars pulled away with a 4-1 win with a stellar effort to upset the sixth ranked Eagles.
Unfortunately, the Friars were unable to keep rolling into the playoffs and were defeated in a heartbreaking Hockey East Quarterfinals series to the University of Vermont. The excellent leadership of Carels and Klein will be deeply missed as they have led this team for two years together. The veteran experience from Buxman, Reid, and Goodrich will also be missed, as well as the great effect they had on the locker room, but the Friars are loaded with young talent. The Class of 2020 has a skilled group of girls that consistently contributes every weekend. Although the Class of 2017 is going to be missed, the Friars are looking at a promising future and will continue to improve as the journey to the next season begins.
The men’s ice hockey class of 2016 was a very difficult act to follow as last year’s seniors played an integral role in both the program’s rebuild and subsequent National Championship. However, comprised of Brendan Leahy ’17, Kyle McKenzie ’17, Niko Rufo ’17, Anthony Florentino ’17, Josh Monk ’17, and Conor MacPhee ’17, the Class of 2017 has faced a great deal of adversity leading a young team back from a rocky first half of the season to a remarkably successful second half. Not to mention they have enjoyed a great amount of success as they have tallied 95 wins, four consecutive 20-plus win seasons, and three (hopefully four) consecutive NCAA tournament appearances.
Needless to say, this class of seniors is nothing short of impressive. In the regular season finale on senior night, the Friars hosted the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Offensively, the Friars relied on Garrett Gamez ’19 as he collected his third marker of the season. UMass bounced back in the second period to even the scoring at 1-1, but the rest of regulation remained scoreless. In overtime, it was Gamez again redirecting a shot from the blue line that clinched the Friars victory.
Although small in quantity, the Class of 2017 has made an immense impact on this hockey program. They have served as role models and leaders for a young team looking to make a name for themselves. The six seniors will need to display their experience throughout the postseason run as they have three playoff runs under their belt. Under captains Monk and McKenzie, this tight knit squad will battle in a tough Hockey East Tournament, beginning this Friday night at Schneider, and will make a splash in the NCAA tournament as well.