What a year. 26-6-4, a second straight appearance at the championship weekend and a return to the NCAA tournament. Picked to finish seventh in the league at the beginning of the year, the 2016-17 SLU women’s hockey team exceeded all expectations.
Brooke Webster had been a consistent scorer for the Saints in her previous three seasons, but she took it to another level this year. She reached the 100-point plateau in her career, and came up short of 150 by a lone point. Perhaps most impressive is that she dominated the game at 5-on-5, scoring only two of her 23 goals on the power play and none were empty-netters. She started the season against Northeastern with a hat trick and just kept rolling.
Kennedy Marchment almost doubled her 29-point output from each of the last two seasons, finishing second on the team with 56 points, which vaulted her over the 100-point mark in her career as well. She’ll have a chance to climb the all-time scoring leaderboard next year for a SLU team that should again contend for titles.
Hannah Miller emerged as the player we knew she could be, posting 48 points in 36 games and rounding out the highest scoring line in the country with Webster and Marchment. She’ll help fill Webster’s void next year along with Marchment.
Kirsten Padalis was a force from the blueline, anchoring one of the best defenses in college hockey and adding 22 points as well. Grace Harrison had six shutouts over an eight game period and nine in total en route to a 23-win season. Rookies like Kalie Grant and Kayla Vespa had immediate, and significant, impacts on the offense and defense for the Saints, and they’ll continue to have growing impacts as their careers progress.
While the Saints didn’t bring any hardware home this season, they had one of the best regular seasons in program history, had two Patty Kazmaier top-ten nominees in Webster and Marchment, and had players nominated for player of the year, defender of the year and goalie of the year in the ECAC, not to mention coach Wells’ nomination for coach of the year.
The Saints also hosted, and won their first playoff series at Appleton Arena since the 2008-09, sweeping Yale by 4-1 and 4-0 scores and held on to the top spot in the PairWise for a significant portion of the season. In all, they won 26 games, more than any single season total under Chris Wells, and the most since Paul Flanagan’s final season in Canton in 2007-2008, when the Scarlet and Brown won 28 for the second straight season.
At the end of the day, the final two losses to Cornell and Boston College were difficult pills to swallow. The Saints were capable of beating both teams, having already beaten Cornell once this year, and matching up well on paper with the Eagles. A bit of bad puck luck and opponents playing well was the demise of a Saints team that had so much promise, but there isn’t a single player or coach on that team who should hang their head. They gave it their all in every game and represented St. Lawrence well on and off the ice, which as all anyone could ask for.
To the three seniors, Kirsten Padalis, Brooke Webster and Alex Moore, who played their hearts out in 428 combined games and recorded 248 combined points: The St. Lawrence hockey community cannot thank you enough for your dedication. You’ve made an indelible mark on the program and will not be forgotten. To the returning 20 skaters and goalies: enjoy your time off. We’ll be patiently waiting for you to take the ice once again in September.