Elizabeth Muirhead ’20 | Assistant Sports Editor
As the fall sports season ends and the air starts to bite, we look toward our winter sports teams. How will they fare this season? The Smith College ice hockey team (SCIH) began their season this past weekend with an away game against Keene State College.
To understand how the team looks moving forward, we need to discuss how the team has changed from last season to this season. Last year, Smith placed third of six in the Adirondack-West division, behind Norwich University and Dartmouth College, which put them just shy of a spot in the playoffs. SCIH experienced a lot of early success in the 2017-2018 season and held the top spot in their division for a while. Later in the season, their record started to slip; they experienced three losses at the end of January and February that cost them their playoff spot. The premature end to the season came as a disappointment to the team.
This season, the team is hoping to be competitive and successful again, but it’s going to be an uphill battle. Three seniors graduated last year, including Mackenzie Dreese ’18 and Emily Jackson ’18, who were members of the first and second forward lines. In addition, experienced players Sid Joyce-Farley ’20 and Margie Hemp ’20 will be abroad for the first half of the season. Elizabeth Muirhead ’20 and Sophia Foster ’20 will go abroad in the spring, leaving more gaps in the lines.
Given the rockier foundation of this season’s team, we can expect to see newer players getting more ice time and tougher-earned victories. Their first game on Saturday, November 10, was a loss. This game gave Keene State College their third win and bumps them to the top of the Adirondack-West. Last season, Smith beat Keene both times that they met, but this past weekend, they weren’t able to pull off a win in the fast-paced, aggressive 2-6 game.
Afterward, Captain Kate Ginder ’21 noted, “Keene was a physical team and a great way to start the season. We were able to see where we need to improve as a team, and I’m excited for the rest of the season.” SCIH can use the loss to guide practices and workouts moving forward. For example, on Tuesday night’s practice, they worked on drills that targeted specific skills like break-out passes and controlled stick-handling.
The loss shouldn’t be too discouraging though; SCIH still has three more games on the schedule for December and many more in January and February. The season is young, and the standings in the league are only representative of a few games. Smith sits in fifth behind Keene State, Norwich, Dartmouth and Union; Mount Holyoke is the only team ranked lower than Smith right now. But there’s lots of time for things to change, and SCIH shouldn’t count themselves out. Their next home game is scheduled for Sunday, December 2nd at 12 p.m. against Norwich University. Grab your friends and come to support the team!