My college hockey career is officially over. It still feels weird saying it and I’m not sure my heart truly believes it yet. At the risk of sounding cliché, it’s the most bittersweet thing I’ve ever experienced.
We finished the season with a rather unimpressive record of 6-15-7. It would be easy to make excuses as to what happened this year, but I think we simply lacked the fire and intensity necessary to succeed at this level. We had flashes of great play but were unable to consistently put together a full 60 minutes on the ice. I obviously wish things had turned out differently, but it was simply a rough patch that I know this program will be able to overcome.
Despite the overall record, I have to say the season ended on a high note. In the ECAC Open Tournament, we lost an extremely hard-fought game to Holy Cross and followed it up with a win against St. Michael’s the next day. Not only was this one of our few cherished wins this season, but it was also one of the most memorable games of my entire life.
I had a good feeling about the game when I woke up that morning. Maybe I was in complete denial that it was likely my last competitive game ever, but regardless, I was focused and at ease. During warm-ups and throughout the game, I felt totally solid and confident in goal and fortunately my team arrived ready for a battle.
I got sniped from the high slot in the second period, but we equalized the score early in the third and held on from there. Tied 1-1 after regulation and overtime, we went into a shootout which remained scoreless through three rounds. The saves I made varied with my body, glove, stick, and pads, almost like one final test. Then my teammate, Melissa Robbins, scored a beautiful goal in the fourth round to decide the win. One of our sophomore goalies, Amanda Fontaine, was the first person to get to me as my team stormed the ice in celebration, and when she hugged me, I couldn’t help but burst out crying. I was so unspeakably sad that it was over, but it could not have ended better. I was even nominated to the all-tournament team and it was the best possible way to finish out my career as a student athlete.
A few days after the big win, I went to Georgia for an academic conference before going home for spring break to finally breathe and relax. Now I’m back on campus suffering from serious hockey withdraws… maybe someday I’ll get used to the concept of “free time.” Senior year is wrapping up quickly as we have our team awards banquet next week, and I’m still debating the ultimate question of what happens after graduation.
The past four years have completely changed me, inside and out, and I could easily write a novel about all of the things I’ve learned. Instead, I’ll condense it into a few words from Winston Churchill:
Never, never, never give up.