By: Olivia Mittleman
On Nov. 12, the Sacred Heart women’s ice hockey team defeated out-of-conference rival, The College of the Holy Cross, for the first time in 10 years.
“They’re our main rival,” said head coach Thomas O’Malley. “We’ve had some very close games with them in the past, especially in the last two seasons.”
According to Sacred Heart Athletic Communications, senior Taylor Moreland netted the team’s first goal during the first period at the 11:15 mark. Moreland then added another goal during the second period at the 19:42 mark.
“I felt like 4 years of hard work was paying off,” said Moreland.
Holy Cross scored a goal of their own in the third period with 8:42 left to go.
“Once they scored the penalty kill goal, I knew we all had to be dialed in,” said sophomore Jayne Lewis. “In the last few seconds everyone was just trying to fall on the puck. Everything was for the team and for the win.”
Junior goaltender Sarah Erban recorded 27 saves.
“She was the glue that held the team together,” said Lewis.
Moreland and Lewis said there was a lot riding on the Holy Cross matchup because of the history between the teams.
“Last year when we played them we were winning 2-0 going into the third period,” said Moreland. “They came back to win 3-2. So I think we all wanted revenge.”
Sacred Heart fell to Holy Cross 2-1 on Nov. 11, the first game of the two-game series.
“We kept the line-up the same for the second game,” said O’Malley. “We were confident in the players.”
O’Malley said the key to the team’s success was their ability to stick together and believe in each other.
“This year we’re a really family-oriented team,” said Moreland.
Unlike previous years, Moreland said the team focuses on spending time together both on and off the ice.
Prior to games, O’Malley gives the team a game sheet. O’Malley said one of the things on there was to defend together, attack together, win together.
Sacred Heart and Holy Cross will face each other again before the end of the season. Holy Cross will travel to Sacred Heart on Jan. 26 and Jan. 27.
“Our season doesn’t just end with Holy Cross,” said Lewis. “We have about 30 games left to play and we have to play every single one of them to the expectation we played against Holy Cross.”
In the past two years, the team has finished 12-13-2 and 7-15-3. The team has high expectations for this season and puts an emphasis on the Holy Cross win.
“I think it’s a big step moving forward, since Sacred Heart women’s ice hockey hasn’t had the best record in a while,” said Moreland.
Moreland also said it could be the turning point in the season. Now the team knows they can beat Holy Cross and similar adversaries.
“I think it’s a big confidence builder for the whole team, and especially the whole program,” said Lewis.
The team defeated Franklin Pierce University on Nov. 17 and Nov. 18. They also defeated Neumann University on Nov. 21 to go 3-0 heading into Thanksgiving break.
Both wins over Franklin Pierce were by one goal, while the win over Neumann was a 10-0 game.
Next, the Pioneers will play Becker College in a one-on-one series, starting away on Dec. 1 at Becker and at home at The Rinks at Shelton on Dec. 2.