The NEC women’s ice hockey team finished the 2019-2020 season with an overall record of 3-21-1, a NEHC record of 0-15-1, and was not eligible for the postseason.
“We wanted to continue to rebuild our team culture this year while also winning more games,” said sophomore forward Cortney Reyes. “Unfortunately, we had the same record as last season, but our team atmosphere greatly improved.”
The Pilgrims are still looking to reshape their program, as their roster only featured four upperclassmen.
“To say that the season did not go our way is kind of an understatement, we dealt with a ton of injuries and that hurt our play,” said Assistant Coach Kevin Salinas. “It was definitely a disappointing end to the season, but we are looking forward to having an outstanding next year.”
In the 25 games played, when the Grims lost it was only by an average of about three goals; in nine of those games the score was decided by one or two goals.
“As I said last year, next season, I hope our team improves not only on our scoring but on our overall record,” noted Reyes. “Improving our ability to finish will be huge for us coming away with more wins in the future.”
The returning young core for the Pilgrims were essential to keeping them in close games this season.
“Sophomore Cianna Weir was as solid as a rock back there in [the] net, our best player throughout the year and keeping us in every game and even breaking school records in the process,” stated Coach Salinas. “Sophomore Cortney Reyes and senior Tara Turcotte led the force up front, carrying top line minutes and contributing offensively in every aspect of our games.”
Out of the 999 saves made by the goaltending crew, Weir accounted for 805, which also set a new program record for saves in a single season. Weir also set the program record for saves in a game with 85 against Suffolk. Reyes blocked 28 shots for the Pilgrims while also taking a team high 544 faceoffs and winning 297 of them.
“Personally, I’m going to miss playing with Tara the most. We got put on a line together my freshman year and have worked well together ever since,” said Reyes, “so it will definitely be a change to not have her to play with anymore.”
Turcotte led the team in overall points with 13, a combination of nine goals and four assists.
“Senior Julia Radcliffe, sophomore Kaylee Cross and sophomore Sidney Capolino contributed to the back end and they carried a ton of minutes each game for us,” added Coach Salinas.
The Pilgrims blocked 252 shots on defense this season, 48 by Cross, 28 by Reyes, 28 by Radcliffe and 20 by Capolino.
“Some of the freshman up front were huge for us as Tatiana Fedeneva was in a top line role right away and ran with it, being a contributor to the offense. Madison Nipper was second in goals on the team and has a cannon of a shot on the powerplay,” noted Coach Salinas. “Mikayla Vincent helped kill off penalties this year while also providing some offensive upside later on in the year. Also, we had two freshmen on defense that played [in] a ton of critical situations toward the end of the season and really stepped up and those two are Steph Leger and Cassie Kelly. All of the freshman have an excellent future here at New England College and we are excited to see them make a huge jump next year.”
While this season wasn’t exactly what the Pilgrims were hoping for, Reyes noted there were some highs as well as lows that they will carry with them as they look to take another step forward next year.
“One high of the season was when we had our first win streak since the 2016-2017 season. Although only two wins, it was nice to win a few games and prove to ourselves we were capable of coming out on top,” stated Reyes. “We faced a few lows of the season with injuries. We had a lot of girls battle injuries all throughout the season and had to play a few games with a very short bench.”
Coach Salinas noted that another high of the season was having the upperclassmen “keep the team on the right path when things got tough”, especially when the team was playing well facing some of their top opponents.
The graduating seniors will be missed by this year’s team but the Pilgrims are looking to shake up the NEHC in the 2020-2021 season.