The Union College women’s hockey team won their first game in 55 tries last Saturday against Penn State, and the Dutchwomen hope it was just a taste of what’s to come.
For the players who stuck around after an off-season coaching change, the 4-2 win at their home Messa Rink gave them a sense of excitement they hadn’t felt since December 2014.
“To just see the way they felt after the game, and for our team to have that feeling of winning a hockey game again after just about two years of not feeling that,” said first year Union head coach Josh Sciba in this week’s Inside ECAC Hockey podcast. “Seeing the growth that we’ve seen over the past couple of weeks is great for our program. It’s been a positive change.”
The positivity continued Friday, as they shutout RIT, 2-0, behind freshman goaltender Kate Spooner’s 16 saves.
Spooner is part of a large freshman class who has stepped into game action right off the bat. Haley Shugart was named ECAC Hockey’s rookie of the week after a two goal and assist performance against the Nittany Lions. Not only have they come up big, they have cleansed the negativity of the ominous losing streak.
“Coming in and having 11 freshman is a real positive for our program,” said Sciba. “It’s really helped us create the culture we want to have in the locker room.”
Victories might be hard to come by in the stacked ECAC Hockey this year, but that first has provided a spark to a program in need of one.
After this weekend’s series against RIT, the Dutchwomen face another non-conference opponent in Providence College before opening ECAC play by hosting Colgate and Cornell the weekend of October 28th.