The Montclair State University women’s ice hockey team triumphed over the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) 7-6 in the Delaware Valley Collegiate Hockey Conference (DVCHC) Sunday night.
The Red Hawks’ had a first-round bye in the conference playoffs and took advantage of it by defeating their semi-final opponent Loyola University 10-5 Saturday afternoon.
That win set them up to play the UPenn in the final, which was far from a cake walk for the Red Hawks who were down by two goals late in the third period.
The Red Hawks struggled to keep their penalties down all year long and that almost cost them the conference title. However, the Red Hawks won this game by doing what they have done best all year long: scoring goals at even strength.
Head coach Dave Solomon described how his defense helped his team seal the victory after his team surrendered all five of their goals on the penalty kill.
“When other teams are looking at our team, [they can see] Brittany [Meneghin is] our leading scorer, and they over-shadow her only to realize there are three of our leading scorers on that line,” Solomon said.
Senior forward Brittany Meneghin scored the go-ahead goal for Montclair State late in the third period, which was the lead the Red Hawks would hold on to.
Solomon stressed how crucial it was for his team to play well defensively, when the UPenn threw everything they could at the Red Hawks’ defense.
“[UPenn] had a much deeper bench than we have,” Solomon said. “We got a lot of timely saves from Kay [Kawanne Ferguson] and our defense blocked a ton of shots and really kept play to the outside.”
The Red Hawks held on to win 7-5 to obtain the women’s ice hockey program’s first ever DVCHC Championship and an invitation to the Atlantic Hockey Conference Association (ACHA) National Tournament.
After winning their conference title, the Red Hawks are now guaranteed at least the sixth-place ranking in the national tournament for ACHA Division II ice hockey that will take place this March.