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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Women’s hockey finishes fourth as regular season wraps

Forward+Jenna+Majewski+travels+with+the+puck+at+a+previous+home+game.+Photo+by+Dong+Woo+Im+%2F+Mass+Media+Staff.
Dong Woo Im
Forward Jenna Majewski travels with the puck at a previous home game. Photo by Dong Woo Im / Mass Media Staff.

The Beacons failed to finish above .500 as they dropped their regular season finale to Johnson & Wales University, 2–1, according to Beacons Athletics [1]. UMass Boston’s 2023-24 regular season is final at 11–11–3, ending at exactly .500. [1]

Regardless of the even record across the board, it’s a strong start to Moe Bradley’s coaching career; she was named interim head coach in April 2023 [1]. Under her leadership, the team beat its own record a year prior, 10–14–2, a group led by Danielle Blanchard, who left UMass Boston to join Division I Merrimack’s coaching staff, says Merrimack Athletics [2]. 

Neither season under Blanchard’s two year tenure featured a .500 finish or above. 

UMass Boston’s new bench boss kicked off her career winning the New England Hockey Conference’s Women’s Coach of the Year award for the 2023–24 season [1]. The Beacons finally have the right coach.

Bradley’s Beacons, when at their best, have shut down opponents. Her star goaltender, Leah Bosch, was named a member of the NEHC Women’s All-Conference Third Team [1]. The sophomore netminder has posted a 2.55 goals against average this year, alongside a .920 save percentage [1]. An emphasis has been put between the pipes by the Beacon legend, and it seems that Bradley’s expertise in the crease has helped Bosch flourish. 

Bradley was the back-end of the first Codfish Bowl Championship team in program history in 2014 [1]. She sits in UMass Boston record books, and aims to get Bosch there as well. 

A plentiful amount of positives stuck out for the Beacons this year, including freshman defenseman Gianna Skrelj. The young defensive stalwart earned a spot on the NEHC Women’s All-Rookie team [1].

As a group, they tied their longest winning streak since 2019-2020 with six consecutive heaters. This came after taking time adjusting to Coach Bradley and her system, starting out at just 3–9–3 through their first 15 games [1]. They withstood a seven-game losing streak to ultimately bounce back and make the playoffs, with home-ice advantage nonetheless. 

This strong and physical team is resilient—certainly spending a lot of time in the box, but staying true to their game. Not being the most talented or flashy, this team makes it extremely difficult on the opposition defensively. Up and down the lineup, tough hockey is played. Five foot two forward Liz Kramp is at the center of it; fans wouldn’t know checking isn’t allowed watching her play.

They’re playing a style of hockey implemented by Bradley that’s very complimentary to her strong puck-stopper. Withstanding their scarce offensive production, as a group, has been extremely impressive.

UMass Boston sat at just a goal and a half scored per game, while giving up just over two [1]. Their leading point getter, Katie Wilbert, finished with only four goals, totaling 14 points [1]. A measly five goals was good to lead the team, held by Emily Hansen, Allie Reifer and Jenna Majewski.

Cynics will say that’s the real story of the 2023-2024 Beacons. But that can’t be, not for this young team—led by a first-year head coach—who, to repeat, holds the fourth seed. 

Resilience is the story. Overcoming their own flaws, and a huge hole they dug for themselves. 

And while UMass Boston dropped the last one on the road, a win on senior night is another bright spot of an up-and-down year—a proper send off at the Barry for seniors Katie Wilbert, Victoria Kennedy and graduate student Hannah MacDougall.

MacDougall tied for fourth on the team with nine points. She was also tied for first in plus/minus for the Beacons. A total of 100 regular season games played for the graduate, she put up 30 career points [1]. 

As mentioned, Wilbert stood alone at the top with 14 points, scoring all four of her goals during their season-shifting six-game streak. Her one plus tied MacDougall’s lead, and a stat line of 21 goals, 25 assists and 46 points were her totals over 75 career regular season games [1]. 

Victoria Kennedy was a perfect 3–0 in the net this year, making eight appearances. Kennedy only allowed six goals in those eight, which is good for a 1.64 goals allowed average. She totals a career .925 save percentage [1].

It was a promising first year under the leadership of Coach Bradley. Home playoff dates should never be taken for granted, by fans and programs. If anything, people now know she has the team bought in. They never rolled over.

 

[1] https://beaconsathletics.com/sports/womens-ice-hockey/schedule

[2] https://merrimackathletics.com/news/2023/8/16/womens-ice-hockey-womens-hockey-welcomes-blanchard-to-staff.aspx

 

About the Contributor
Dong Woo Im, Photographer