WORCESTER, Mass. - The Holy Cross women's hockey team fell to Providence, 3-0, Friday night at the Hart Center. It was both Senior Night and head coach Peter Van Buskirk's final game.
The loss wraps up the Crusaders' season at 1-29-3 and 1-25-1 in Hockey East play. Providence improves to 21-10-2 and 15-9-2 within the conference. The Friars will be the four-seed in the Hockey East playoffs and host Merrimack in the quarterfinals.
Seniors Jackie Gellner, Tori Messina, Amanda Kewer, Danielle Doherty, Sam Girard, Julie Matthias, and Maeve Reilly all suited up for the last time as Crusaders.
It was apparent from the very beginning how much this game meant to everyone involved and how much they wanted a good result for the seniors and Van Buskirk. The Crusaders opened the game strong by outshooting Providence in the opening period, 11-10. Holy Cross' power play looked good, generating eight shots on the night, but none found the back of the net.
The Friars took the lead halfway through the first on a Kate Friesen goal, but were held scoreless in the second frame. Trailing, 1-0, heading into the third is a marked improvement by the Crusaders compared to earlier in the season. In the first two matchups, both in Providence, Holy Cross gave up three goals over the first two periods of both games.
The Friars added two more goals in the first half of the third to take a 3-0 lead, but no one in purple and white was giving up. The play that perfectly epitomized the Crusaders' effort on the night came with just five minutes left in the final frame. Matthias got the puck at center ice and headed straight for Madison Myers in Providence's goal. The entire way, she battled two defenders who were trying to strip her of the puck. Matthias kept fighting, was knocked to her knees twice, but never lost the puck, and ended up getting two shots off, both of which were saved by Myers.
The Crusaders' 28 shots on goal was their most since Nov. 10 against Merrimack. Jada Brenon played well in net, making 31 saves on the night.
The team's fight tonight showed that the Crusaders will be back. The 20 remaining underclassmen and the coaching staff, led by soon-to-be head coach Katie Lachapelle, will set their sights on next season. Hockey East won't get any easier, but next time around, they'll have a full season of playing against the country's toughest competition under their belts.
Notes & Numbers
- Van Buskirk retires with a career 295-176-33 record as the women's coach. Including his time with the men's team, his 462 career wins puts him as the third winningest coach in Holy Cross' history.
- Girard's eight career game-winning goals are tied for 10th all-time in program history.
- Matthias' 45 career goals are tied for eighth, her eight game-winning goals are tied for 10th, and her five short-handed goals are third all-time in program history.