By Victoria Saporito
The Sacred Heart University Pioneers women’s ice hockey team kicked off their season in October claiming a 6-0 victory over Rhode Island and now stand with a record of
The Pioneers currently have 83 goals to go along with 105 assists, while averaging 3.46 goals and 36.5 shots per game under Head Coach Thomas O’Malley..
O’Malley entered his thirteenth season with Sacred Heart this year, furthering his long-term career as a college coach. Prior to Sacred Heart, he was the head coach for Wayne State University for four seasons, and also coached at Boston College for 15 seasons. He led Sacred Heart to the final round of the ECAC Championship for three consecutive seasons between 2004-06, and the Pioneers gave their head coach his hundredth win with a 4-0 victory over SUNY Canton.
With their top-notch coaching duo, the team is more than confident in their potential to make it to a title this year.
”At this point in the season, with only five guaranteed games left, what we are trying to improve on as a team is getting better at understanding the various game situations in order to excel in the playoffs,” said Assistant Coach Katherine Pauletti.
Pauletti played for Concordia University and served as captain for both hockey and lacrosse teams. She was also named to the NCHA All-Academic Team, and was selected to the All-Conference Team three times.
“With this being my first season at Sacred Heart, I really didn’t know what to expect coming in,” said Pauletti. “Talking to Coach O’Malley about this team prior to arriving in Connecticut, I knew that I would be working with a really good bunch of girls.”
The work ethic of each player on and off the ice has been a major key in the team’s success.
“I knew that not only did we have a talented group athlete-wise, but that the girls put in work as students in the classroom as well,” said Pauletti. “Since the start of the season in September, the team has definitely exceeded all of my expectations. They come to the rink each day to work and learn and I’m lucky to work with such a great group.”
Being a new member of the team, Pauletti has been committed to passing down her talent and knowledge involved in the ice hockey.
“As a coach, I am always looking to improve upon learning the intricacies of the
recruiting process, which is something new for me,” said Pauletti.
Among the 30 talented women that make up this squad, most comes from young players, which will serve the Pioneers well in seasons to come.
One major game technique that the Pioneers are striving to improve on is their
“At times we struggle with getting off to a fast start,” said Pauletti. “When we stay consistent with our play, our returners do a good job of getting us where we need to be in order to succeed and play our best game”.
In just a few more weeks, the women are set to host the NEHC Tournament, competing against teams they have already seen throughout the year.
“They are really good competition,” said Pauletti. “It is going to take a lot of hard work and focus to get there, but it is something that definitely can be accomplished.”