BY Will Pesek
After losing the first four games, the Sacred Heart University Women’s Ice Hockey team got its first two wins after sweeping St. Anselm on Oct. 18 and Oct. 19. SHU got swept two weekends in a row by Mercyhurst and Maine University, but with belief from head coach Tom O’Malley and in themselves, they won both weekend games on the road.
“We knew we were going to have a tough first month of October. We played Maine and Mercyhurst, which are two outstanding programs. We were fired up to play those top tier teams. Playing the top rivals elevates our game,” said O’Malley.
O’Malley said that he builds a family, team-oriented culture around his program. Although they lost their first four games, he kept stressing to his team that success was bound to come.
The Pioneers got their first win on Friday, Oct. 18, with a close 2-1 victory. Sophomore Anna Klein got the Pioneer’s first goal of the game assisted from co-captain Maddie Bishop. Although Klein was held without a point in the series finale on Oct. 19, she did, however, lead the team in shots with six. Klein has two goals this season and centers her line, with seniors Maddie Bishop and Jayne Lewis on the left and right wing.
“We have been lucky to start all six games to open the season. The thing I have always loved about hockey is the ability to clear my mind of anything stressful in life,” said Klein. “Every time I am practicing or playing in a game, my mind is entirely focused on hockey and nothing else. Also, I am extremely competitive and I love being able to have the opportunity to be challenged athletically by others.”
Bishop got credit for an assist on Anna Klein’s goal. Bishop has a huge role as the team’s captain.
“Being a leader definitely comes with responsibilities that need to be brought every day. When I go to the rink, I try to bring a positive attitude, commitment to effort, and motivation,” said Bishop. “These three skills stick out as extremely important to our team. A positive attitude can go a long way for sports, whether you’re a great player on the team or not.”
Bishop plays with Anna Klein and Jayne Lewis on her line.
“I would best describe our line as playmakers, as each of us keep our heads up to find each other in front of the net. Another key element is speed,” said Bishop. “As soon as that puck breaks loose, all three of us will be the first players to jump at it. Finally, all of us are very competitive and never want an opponent to win a puck battle.”
This past weekend, the Pioneers dropped two games to in-state rival Qunnipiac. The team continues play this upcoming weekend as they have a home-and-home with Long Island University on Oct. 8 and Oct. 9.