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February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Women’s hockey aims to snipe top spot in New England Hockey Conference

Women’s hockey forward Allie Reifer controlls the puck during the first game of the 2023-2024 season. Photo by Eliza Nuestro / Beacons Athletics.

It’s hockey night in Columbia Point once again! UMass Boston’s Women’s Hockey team is stepping foot on the ice and are ready to pick apart the defenses of every New England Hockey Conference opponent that comes their way. The team is hopeful to sharpen their play that stems from last season, as their underwhelming 2022 campaign saw them fall to Southern Maine in the first round of last year’s NEHC tournament; the Beacons’ average regular season play led to their succumbing to the Huskies after finishing their season at 10–14–2. [1] 

Much of the Beacons’ shortcomings came from their lackadaisical play on home ice, which ultimately proved costly in the long run. Their 3–8–2 record at Barry Ice Rink plummeted their record, and in turn, helped the Beacons find their identity as road warriors last year given they finished 7–6 in games they traveled. 

However, what the record doesn’t show is that this team—despite some inconsistencies—showed promise with spurts of greatness, one example of which was a 6–1 rampage on Salem State and their Vikings Jan. 21. However, one of the biggest concerns the Beacons presented last season was their inability to get out of some ruts, as multiple losing streaks throughout the year gave way to their season being plagued with losses, as presented with their schedule that is provided by Beacons Athletics. [1]

There’s not much to mull over from last season, and the stats prove that. Granted, there may be some fine tuning on offense, given they averaged a dismal 1.8 goals per game. But maintaining a .500 record in conference play at 8–8–2, while being outscored a considerable amount, is still a laudable feat. If anything, it shows that no matter what, the Beacons always found a way to keep themselves in the game at all times, and on the record, 10 of the goals scored against the Beacons came in a single game. With that in mind, if you take their 10–0 loss against Norwich University out of the occasion, opponents netted 62 goals on 798 shots, which equates to an absurd .922 save percentage between the Beacons’ net-minders. Even with their loss to Norwich, a .914 save percentage is truly remarkable. 

The Beacons’ goaltenders are without a doubt the biggest strong suit in the women’s style of play, but in order to take a great leap this year, the team must rely on scoring more, and their exhibition game against Endicott College Saturday, Oct. 21, was a telltale sign that there’s a bright future ahead for the program. The Gulls are just two years removed from a conference title, and are flying into this year with high hopes after finishing 2022 with a 2–1 loss in the Commonwealth Coast Conference Championship; their final mark being an impressive 17–8–2 record, according to ecgulls.com. [2]

 The Beacons looked to prove themselves as a sleeper team in the NEHC, and their performance against Endicott now has teams on the lookout. The game was deadlocked at 2–2 entering overtime, and given their offensive humdrum of years past, UMass Boston’s ability to hang with an overwhelmingly proficient opponent in Endicott generated a raise in optimism—and eyebrows—about how great this team may be. Better yet, the Beacons discovered their clutch gene, and pulled through with a 3–2 thriller in a shootout; Emily Hansen buried a forehand shot glove side to gut the Gulls.

Women’s hockey conquered their demons with their win over Endicott and flaunted their vast improvements in the process. Truth be told, their goal scoring abilities coming out of their exhibition shows the amount of hard work and dedication they put into revamping their offense, and if they manage to stick with their game plan, they’ll make it out of the NEHC with a top finish in the standings. Women’s hockey travels north to face Plymouth State University and Vermont State University – Castleton on back-to-back days Nov. 3 and 4. Here’s to hoping their season starts on the right track, and their new identity as underdogs meshes with their old as a team that’s not to be messed with when playing far away from Beaconville. 

[1] UMass Boston. 2022-2023 Women’s Ice Hockey Schedule. Beacons Athletics. https://beaconsathletics.com/sports/womens-ice-hockey/schedule/2022-23

[2] EC Gulls. 2022-2023 Endicott Women’s IceHockey Schedule. Endicott Athletics and Recreation. https://www.ecgulls.com/sports/wice/2022-23/schedule

[3] UMass Boston. 2023-2024 Women’s Ice Hockey. Beacons Athletics. https://beaconsathletics.com/sports/womens-ice-hockey/schedule

About the Contributor
Nick Collins, Sports Editor