Making History: Men’s and Women’s Hockey Teams Advance to NCAA Tournament
This is the first-ever conference championship for women’s hockey, while men’s hockey last won a conference title in 1982.
The Beacons learned Monday which opponents they’ll face in their first-ever appearances in the national tournament.
The women (16-12-0), who won the NEHC title on Saturday with a 2-0 upset win over top-seeded Norwich University, will travel to Middlebury College (20-4-3) this Saturday for a 4 p.m. NCAA quarterfinal matchup against the Panthers.
Lindsay Berman took over as interim head coach in August.
"I don’t think it has even really set in yet, but what our girls accomplished is nothing short of amazing," Berman said. "Their hard work, commitment, relentlessness, and love for one another paid off more than ever this past weekend. Each and every one of our players believed in what we were there to do, and we walked away with a hard-fought championship trophy."
Sophomore goalie Rachel Myette of Pembroke earned her fourth shutout of the season on Saturday.
"Looking up at the seconds counting down, knowing your team just made history shutting out a rival to win the league championship, it felt great to prove people wrong and win as the underdogs," Myette said. "There was no doubt in my mind that we couldn't do it, but the fact that we actually did it was beyond belief. It took an all-around team effort and I'm so proud of my teammates."
Myette earned Most Valuable Player of the Tournament honors after putting together the best three-game run of her career. Senior Jenny Currie of Chelmsford, sophomore Alli Bianchini of Detroit, and freshman Arielle Gallucci of Warren, New Jersey joined Myette on the NEHC All-Tournament Team.
Fresh off their 3-2 championship win over Babson College, men’s hockey (21-4-3) will travel to Trinity College (21-5-1) on Saturday for a 7 p.m. NCAA first-round matchup against the Bantams.
"I'm so grateful to our team, our players, our administration, the other coaches who have been so supportive of me and the team, and our fans and our families," said head coach Peter Belisle, who was named the NEHC's Coach of the Year at the end of the regular season. "It was just an incredible night. To [win] on our campus in overtime in that dramatic fashion is something we'll never forget. Hopefully we can keep this ride going."
Team captain Albee Daley, a junior forward from Averill Park, New York, echoed the coach's sentiments.
"Being able to represent the decades of Beacons who have and continue to support our university and program makes this really special for us all," Daley said.
Daley was named to the NEHC All-Tournament Team along with senior Andrew Crawford of Medford and sophomore Colin Larkin of Waterford, Michigan, who scored the overtime goal and was named the MVP of the tournament.
UMass Boston Athletics have now won four conference champions this academic year (men’s soccer, volleyball, women’s hockey, men’s hockey) — a school record. The Beacons had never won more than three championships before this year.
Last month, the men’s hockey team won the regular season NEHC title, so they won both the regular season and the conference tournament titles this season. The women’s volleyball team also won the regular season title in addition to the conference tournament title this academic year.