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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Leah Bosch leads women’s hockey to sixth straight victory

Forward+Katie+Wilbert+shoots+the+puck+against+Salem+State+University+at+a+home+game+on+Jan.+26.+Photo+by+Dong+Woo+Im+%2F+Mass+Media+Staff.
Dong Woo Im
Forward Katie Wilbert shoots the puck against Salem State University at a home game on Jan. 26. Photo by Dong Woo Im / Mass Media Staff.

Make it six! The Beacons turned their season around, thrashing through their New England Hockey Conference opponents. UMass Boston has now jumped into the fourth seed of the NEHC, per uscho.com (1), leaping over the University of Southern Maine. 

Over the weekend of Friday, Jan. 26, the Beacons collected wins against Salem State University, and the new fifth seed, the Southern Maine Huskies. The Huskies are likely still their first round adversary, and if the season ended after their game—a 2–1 home win with Leah Bosch stopping 16 of the 17 shots made—the two would play in Boston, at the Barry, after securing home ice advantage.

At home this year, UMass Boston has looked sharper than ever, mustering up a 6–5–0 record after their win against the Huskies, scoring 19 goals to go along with their dominance. A lackluster 3–4–3 record on the road, posting just 13 goals, is what’s kept them from catching the final three seeds, according to Beacons Athletics (2). The Beacons need all the help they can get offensively—it hasn’t been their game—so home ice could go a long way for this team.

That being said, scoring is up. Since beginning their winning streak, the Beacons potted 16 goals and are getting some impressive contributions, such as senior forward Katie Wilbert. [2] Wilbert’s scored four times on this win streak, which prior to, she was scoreless. Wilbert’s four goals lead her team, as well as her, 10 total points. [2] Star goaltender Leah Bosch says Wilbert’s recent games have “been amazing to see… just the sort of thing we need going into playoff games.” Bosch is encouraged with the team’s recent offensive uptick.

Bosch has also been at the center of UMass Boston’s success. Allowing just five goals during their win streak, they’re now fourth in NEHC goals allowed. [2] The sophomore puckstopper hasn’t given up more than one goal since Jan. 5, the team’s last loss as of their win over the Huskies. Bosch’s team hasn’t always played at a high level this year, and now that wins have come, she won’t hesitate to credit her teammates.

Bosch spoke of her 35-save performance in a win against #8 Norwich: “Sure, I made 35 saves in net, but that win was a result of the hard work of every UMass player on the ice. Our win against Norwich has proved that we can put up a fight against those top-ranked teams.”

Women’s hockey, who was booed before upsetting the Norwich crowd, has a lot of confidence. “We know our game and how to execute it,” said Bosch. UMass Boston has found the brand of hockey they want to play, and it’s working. 

Still, their lack of sustained scoring pays no optimism. Of the NEHC playoff teams, UMass Boston ranks sixth in scoring, eighth counting the rest of the conference (1). But if the Beacons’ recent production is here to stay, chances are that come playoff time against the NEHC, brass won’t look so bleak. 

It’s not like the talent isn’t there, but in fact, talent is often unavailable. Wilbert, the team’s leading scorer, is also their penalty minute leader. Liz Cramp, their best skater and talented forward is second. And their top point-getting defenseman, Margeaux Butters, rounds out the third spot. [1] UMass Boston needs their best players on the ice down the stretch, more so than higher seeds with more scoring options.

A high offensive production is no end all be all; it’s not their game. And if enough production stays, that could be no problem. The Beacons’ strong team defense and outstanding goaltending has been the path, and it will remain the path. They’re fast, physical and well coached by Moe Bradley—it’s no secret that her success as one of the greatest UMass Boston netminders of all time has rubbed off on Bosch, her accolades shown on her Beacons Athletics profile. Her leadership to the team has brought forward a winning mentality, and after all, defense wins games. Importantly, their ability to hang with high-ranked teams is proven, and it could be necessary to prove it again in the playoffs. 

It’s possible for UMass Boston to meet #8 Norwich again in the playoffs, and #11 Elmira College. The Eagles, of Elmira, New York, already beat UMass Boston this year, 3–1 (2). They’ve doubled the Beacons’ scoring total on the year, and then some (76–32) (1). However, that’s not going to scare the Beacons, and hey, Norwich beat them first, too. In the words of Leah Bosch, “Elmira is no different.”

 

  1. https://www.uscho.com/standings/division-iii-women/
  2. https://beaconsathletics.com/sports/womens-ice-hockey/schedule
  3. Moe Bradley – Head Women’s Ice Hockey Coach – Women’s Ice Hockey Coaches – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)

 

About the Contributor
Dong Woo Im, Photographer