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The Student News Site of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

The Student News Site of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

The Online Beacon

The Online Beacon

The Online Beacon

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Women’s Hockey Recap: Trailblazers Persevere in Inaugural Season Despite Adversity

Womens+Hockey+Recap%3A+Trailblazers+Persevere+in+Inaugural+Season+Despite+Adversity

With their final game played on February 23rd, the MCLA Women’s Hockey team closed out the season. The match was the ECHA Semi-Final, against Worcester State University.  Although they couldn’t manage to stick with the Lancers to advance, the season proved to be a worthy grind filled with positives, learning lessons, and a lot to look forward to.

The Trailblazer’s record was 5-19-1. They may have not gotten the result they were aiming for this season, but it’s only up from here. The 2023-2024 season was their inaugural season, meaning it was the first time MCLA ever sported a Women’s Hockey Team. Head Coach Heath Isaacson had the very difficult task of assembling a team from scratch and building culture in just one season.

This proved to be one of the biggest challenges for the team this season. With a new team it was harder to build on-ice chemistry, implement culture, and compete with programs that have been around for much longer. Despite this being a significant challenge, the team competed in every game, and managed to get several wins on their record. “I think it was very good for being a new team- we managed to get five wins, which is good for a first-year program,” said Katie O’Brien 27’, Freshman goaltender.

The Trailblazers competed with other schools that have had Women’s Hockey for years. Another Freshman on the team, Graci McGee 27’, also commented on this topic… “I think we did pretty well for being a short-handed team, and a first-year program.” Overall, the team persevered despite the challenge of being new. McGee’s comment on being a shorthanded team reflects more adversity the team had to face.

The Trailblazers had eighteen players on their roster, a number many would consider a short-handed team to begin with. Often, MCLA played programs with roster’s filled with around thirty players. At first this didn’t prove itself to be a major issue, though as the season progressed injuries and sickness affected the team’s dynamic. With a lot of players out, coach Heath Isaacson had to adapt and transform the line-ups every game. At one point the shortage of players was so significant, three of the team’s leading scorers were out. “Having such a small team was a weakness for us, because if someone got hurt it was a big dent into our game,” said O’ Brien.

 Despite facing adversity throughout the season, there were a lot of positives that presented themselves. The team had five wins, a very commendable number for a new program. Several players were able to score their first collegiate goal, and almost the entire team got on the scoresheet. For Alexandrea Bednar 25’ who had 6 goals and 9 assists (15 points), one of the positives of the season was getting the honor of ECHA Second-Team All- Conference.

First-year forward Rebekah Ade 27’ and defender Natasha Lozowchuk 27’ were name to the ECHA All-Rookie team. Juliette Barney 25’ was the teams first-string goaltender, with 695 saves this season. “We had a really good bond as a team, and our defense was pretty strong on their end,” said O’ Brien about some positives from the season. “Being a freshman and being able to actually play, because a lot of freshmen don’t get to play in big programs.”

This aspect applied to a lot of the team, because it was a very young roster, with 15 of the players being Freshmen. McGee added on another positive from the season- “Getting to meet everyone and getting to know everybody on the team.” Building a bond was important for on-ice success, especially as a new program.

The 2023-2024 season was filled with ups and downs, and a lot of takeaways that will be implemented next season. “We need to capitalize a little bit more on offense,” said McGee about something the team could improve on. Moving on from this season to the upcoming 2024-2025 season in the Fall, O’ Brien commented- “Having a bigger team will definitely help us next season.”

The bigger roster will help the Trailblazers have increased elasticity when injuries are prevalent. With a lot of excitement surrounding the new program- the players, coaches, and fans are all looking forward to the coming years of Women’s Hockey at MCLA. We can expect the start of their 2nd ever season in October of 2024.

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Traizen Griffith, Staff Writer

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