The Montclair State University women’s ice hockey team played it’s final home game of the season when they took on the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) Saturday night at Floyd Hall Arena. Unfortunately, the season struggles continued for the women, as they ultimately lost the game by a final score of 6-3, falling to a 2-10-0 record on the season, 0-4-0 at home.
Montclair State opened the game up very sloppily, particularly on defense. UPenn defenseman Carolyn Watkins opened the game by scoring two minutes into the game when a shot managed to sneak past Montclair State goalkeeper Kawanne Ferguson. UPenn then put another goal on the board when forward Kristen Murray caught Ferguson out of position, then buried the puck to give UPenn the 2-0 lead.
Not long after, Montclair State would actually start to gain some momentum when forward Cameron Marino fired an absolutely perfect laser shot right past UPenn goalkeeper Makenzie Way to get her team on the board. UPenn would score not long after when Murray got on a breakaway. Montclair State would respond quickly when Marino fired another laser shot and made a beautiful pass in front to forward Hope McGivney who buried it to tie the game.
Unfortunately for the Red Hawks, that’s as close as they would’ve gotten to a victory for the rest of the game. UPenn would then go on to score three unanswered goals throughout the rest of the game. Montclair State would continue to get chances, but Way would make multiple big saves to ultimately prevent the Red Hawks from mounting a comeback.
Despite the loss, head coach Dave Solomon was happy with the effort from his team.
“We had a couple breakdowns early in the first and second periods that cost us goals, but I think not having enough bodies and getting tired out was the difference,” Solomon said. “If we had a few more players and a little more jump, we would’ve been a lot more competitive tonight.”
Heading into next season, the Red Hawks will look to address a major issue that plagued them all season, and that is the lack of depth on their roster. With so few players on the team, Montclair State’s players would often get worn out very easily, which opposing teams would take advantage of and pull away late.
“We’ve already started talking to some of the local tier one and tier two hockey league coaches,” said Solomon. “We have about four or five interested players and now it’s just a matter of the process of getting them enrolled, accepted and deciding to come here.”
Solomon said they have a handful of students that are interested, which is promising.
Above all, the Red Hawks will be looking for a replacement goaltender, as Kawanne Ferguson will be leaving the team at season’s end. Solomon commended his goaltender on being willing to take the position despite her lack of experience at it.
Solomon said they’re going to miss Ferguson because she is really special to the team.
“She’s never played goal before two years ago and we didn’t have a goalie and she stepped up and tried to learn it and she’s improved beyond belief for someone who just started playing goalie,” Solomon said. “That’s one area we have to address and try to get a goalie for next year and that’s what we’re working on.”
The Red Hawks will close out the season with two games on the road. They will head to Ice World to face Towson University on Saturday, Feb. 9 before heading to Hollydell Ice Arena to take on Rowan University on Saturday, Feb. 23.