The Union Women’s Ice Hockey team hosted its first home weekend of ECAC competition last weekend when the Dutchwomen took on No. 4-ranked Clarkson and St. Lawrence at Messa Rink.
The weekend kicked off with a Friday evening affair against one of the best women’s teams in the country, the Clarkson Golden Knights. The Golden Knights blitzed the Dutchwomen, outshooting them 56-8 en route to a 6-0 victory.
Kelly Mariani started the scoring for Clarkson, tipping in a shot from the left point 5:10 into the first period.
Amanda Titus would net a pair for the Golden Knights in the first period, as well, making it 3-0 after the first 20 minutes of play.
In the second period, it was another point shot that created trouble for the Union defense, but this time a rebound was slammed home by Lauren Lefler, who extended the Clarkson lead to four.
In the final period of play, Mariani tallied another when she collected her own rebound and put it by Union goalie Melissa Black ’19 with just under six minutes of play left in the game. Shortly thereafter, Rhyen McGill scored the sixth and final goal for the Golden Knights on a shot between the circles.
Less than 24 hours later, Union was back at it with a late Saturday afternoon affair versus the St. Lawrence Saints. This battle turned out to be a much fairer fight and a much more competitive game.
The Dutchwomen were, once again, dominated in the possession game, allowing 56 shots on net by the opponent in consecutive games, and only putting 15 shots on net themselves. However, Black played even better on Saturday, saving an astounding 54 of 56 shots.
About halfway through the first period, St. Lawrence forward Brooke Webster opened the scoring when she capitalized on a rebound opportunity created by fellow forward Kennedy Marchment.
The Saints took an early 1-0 lead, but late in the first, Union finally broke through for its first goal of the weekend. Forward Jamie Smith ’16 scored on a one-timer from forward Jessica Kaminsky ’16.
The game was tied entering the second period, but did not remain that way for long. It was Kailee Heidersbach who regained the St. Lawrence lead, as she put home a puck that had trickled away from the pads of the Dutchwomen’s goalie.
The score remained 2-1 into the third period, where Union had a number of chances. With 8:50 left in regulation, Emily Erickson ’17 had a chance in front of the net but just missed wide.
Fourteen seconds later, St. Lawrence goalie Brooke Wolejko made her biggest save of the day when she stopped a Kathryn Davis ’17 one-timer.
St. Lawrence held on to pick up its sixth victory of the season, with a final score of 2-1.
Union fell to 0-7-4 after the loss, and 0-2-2 in ECAC play.
In other news around the hockey world, a new women’s professional league, the National Women’s Hockey League, started up last month. The NWHL is the United States’ first paid professional league for women’s ice hockey.
However, the salary cap, or the maximum payroll for a team in this league, is only $270,000, less than half of the minimum salary required for just one NHL player, at $550,000. Rosters for the four teams in the NWHL are capped at 22, and the minimum salary is a lowly $10,000.
Despite the inequalities in pay, a professional women’s hockey league offers hope for female athletes everywhere, including Union’s own. “It gives us a chance to be role models to the young female players who share the same dreams that we had and fulfilled,” said Jacyn Reeves ’19, a Union player.