Every day when the members of the St. Lawrence University women’s hockey team arrive for practice they walk through a hallway that is lined with posters of the greatest players and achievements in the program’s history.
The Saints see former players like Sabrina Harbec, Carson Duggan, Annie Guay as well as photos marking regular-season conference championships as well as the five Frozen Fours the program has participated in during the past 11 years.
But last Saturday the current SLU team did something that none of their predecessors had done when they upset regular-season champion Cornell 3-1 in Lynah Rink in the ECAC Hockey championship game to win the program’s first postseason title.
Getting the trophy
“Honestly, to say that we wrote history, it’s really amazing,” senior defenseman Josee Belanger said. “You see all the people on the posts in there. They’ve got so many points, been in so many Frozen Four tournaments, and they’ve never won that.”
The reward for the Saints (24-9-4 overall) is a trip to the Boston area Saturday to play No. 4 Boston College (23-9-3) in an NCAA Quarterfinal game at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Conte Forum in Newtown, Mass.
“We know what to expect,” Saints coach Chris Wells said. “We are very evenly-matched teams and we play very similarly. All the games over the last couple years have been up and down, very exciting games, and we’re going to expect the same thing.”
SLU went just 16-18-2 last year and got off to a 6-7-3 overall record this season.
But since Dec. 2, the Saints have gone 18-2-1, with the only two losses coming against Cornell.
A turning point for SLU came in the third and fourth games of the current run, when the Saints went to Boston on Jan. 5-6 and faced Boston College and Northeastern on consecutive days, beating the Eagles 2-1 and then knocking off Northeastern 3-2.
Saints coach Chris Wells
The weekend sweep of the Hockey East schools came after SLU had not played for over a month. Prior to those games the Saints last contest had been a 6-3 win over Rensselaer on Dec. 3.
Senior defenseman Josee Belanger
SLU was the No. 5 seed in the ECAC Hockey playoffs and has not had one postseason game in Appleton Arena. The Saints swept No. 4 Dartmouth in a road quarterfinal series and then upset No. 2 Harvard 2-1 with an overtime goal from Kelly Sabatine.
Sabatine's OT Goal
By the time SLU faced Cornell in the title game the 6-4 and 3-2 losses to the Big Red during the season did not intimidate the Saints.
Senior forward Alley Bero
Now SLU is one win away from reaching the program’s sixth Frozen Four in 12 years and hoping to make Wells have to order some new posters for the hallway.
Junior forward Kelly Sabatine
NOTES: If you aren’t making the trip to Boston you can still watch SLU’s game with Boston College for free on the Internet. It will be live streamed at the following link: http://ulive.cbssports.com/index-ncaa.html?media=307686 . SLU’s Chris Wells was named the women’s ECAC Hockey Coach of the Year last weekend and Saints goalie Carmen MacDonald was the women’s ECAC Hockey rookie and goalie of the month.