By Sarah DeWolfe | Staff Writer

Winter is coming, and with the cold comes the memorable chill of the ice hockey rink where the Salve Regina Men and Women’s Ice Hockey teams will be playing all season long. Both teams have skated into their respective seasons, learning from their early mistakes to improve each day. Here’s how they’ve performed so far.

The Seahawks took the ice in a 3-2 win over Western New England University. (Photo by Ed Habershaw)

The Salve Regina Men’s Ice Hockey team catapulted into their season in one of the most rewarding ways yet. In their first game played against Norwich University, the Seahawks dominated the national champions on their own home rink in a 3-2 win. The conditions could not have been better for the Seahawk underdogs. Not only were they a nationally ranked team, but this loss ends a 25 game win streak and a 22 game streak at home. And on top of that, this was the game they raised their championship banner. Three Salve players scored unanswered to put the visiting team up 3-0 in the third period as they then tried to play the defense of their lives and hold off the Cadets until the final buzzer rang. Sophomore Jack Billings, Senior Evan Schmidbauer, and Freshman Danny Eruzione all netted one in for the fantastic upset. Junior Goalie Blake Wojtala made 37 saves, only letting two slip by him.

The Seahawks had 3 games go into overtime, shut out three teams in both of their double matchups, and held a 5 game win steak this season so far. One of those teams unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of these games was the University of New England, who lost twice-once 8 to 3 and shortly after 6-4-to Salve. In the first game the Seahawks scored three times in the first and four times in the third period (three of them within 62 seconds of each other) to clinch the lead. Billings had 2 scores, while Freshman Timothy Sweey scored his first two collegiate goals. Wjotala made 19 saves on the night to become the all-time leader in wins with 30 Ws under his belt. The second meetup was just as impressive, with Billings recording a hat trick and Wojtala making a career-high 61 saves.

The season has also seen frustration as team tied Wentworth twice in back to back overtime games and just couldn’t bring home a win. Things were looking up for the Seahawks as a pulled goalie with just minutes left in the 3rd period while down by one payed off, helping Senior Colin Clapton force OT with just under 2 minutes left in the game. Although they slammed the Leopard’s goalie with slapshots, they overtime period was scoreless on both sides. In the second meeting, Salve had plenty more shots on net, but only one found the back of it when Eruzione tied the game in the 2nd period. This was the first game of the season that the Seahawks had been losing after the 1st period. The game saw great defensive play on both teams, but Salve had to ward off several power plays that could have resulted in a very different outcome.

Junior goalie Jennifer O’Connell made 46 saves in a loss against Norwich University. (Photo by Rob McGulnness)

This team has a lot of first year players that are stepping up to the plate and making game-deciding plays. Like Ulysses Lalor who made 16 saves in his first game and first win against Becker. In the same game freshmen Edward Hirka scored a goal off a powerplay to give the Seahawks a 2-1 lead. The

combination of experienced players and fresh-off-the-bench legs ready to continue to play hard will be a winning one, and with two tournaments and 8 conference match ups left they have time to prove it.

The next home game for the Seahawks will be Saturday January 20th at 7:05 pm against Curry College.

The Salve Regina Women’s Ice Hockey team hasn’t had the season of their dreams just yet, currently 2-12 and 1-5 in the NEHC. They were shut out in their first two games against William, but “Hero of the Week” winner Jennifer O’Connell made an astounding 109 saves between the two games. Their first win of the season came against the University of New England in a 3-2 fight. After rallying back from a 2-0 deficit with goals from Sophomore Maddy McCann and Junior Taylor Chrisholm, Sophomore Alexandra Anderson netted the game winner halfway through the 3rd period after a give and go from Junior Angela Augusta.

What followed was a five game losing streak, broken by a riveting 6-3 victory against Johnson and Wales. Senior Meredith Peppes had two goals, one on a powerplay, while Sophomore and former conference player of the week Amanda Fantasia also netted two of her own. Not long after a Wildcat powerplay, McCann stole the puck in the offensive end and scored. Chrisholm also scored this game-her 4th this year thanks to two unassisted goals in a loss against New England College-recording a team high for goals this season.

This season has been full of highs and lows for the Seahawks, but there’s still time for them to rally back with 8 remaining conference games on their schedule. They won’t be able to rely on O’Connell for defense, so they’ll have to work to minimize the shots allowed on net each game. On that note, they get outshot in much of their games, so working on their offensive strategies is a must. They have had around 60 powerplay opportunities and scored on 3 of them, so it’s going to be important in the coming games to take advantage of an advantage. They have excellent scorers on this squad, it’s just a matter of setting them up for the perfect shot.

The next time the Seahawks play at home is Saturday January 13th at 7 pm against the Nichols College Bison.

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