BOSTON — As the Quinnipiac and Harvard women’s hockey teams lined up in the dugouts, ready to take the ice for the first game of a Frozen Fenway doubleheader on Friday, the rain overhead shifted to blustery snow.
The elements, which persisted throughout the contest, created a unique environment and only enhanced a special experience for all four teams at the venerable ballpark.
“As you can imagine, just a magical event for our players, our program and fans,” said Harvard coach Katey Stone following the Crimson’s 3-1 loss to the Bobcats. “In some ways, the weather could have been better if there was no snow, but it actually added an incredible element to the game.”
The snow falling gave Quinnipiac and Harvard even something that the 2023 NHL Winter Classic didn’t have, as temperatures hovered in the low 50s at the start of the matchup between the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins earlier this week.
And Quinnipiac goalie Logan Angers, who finished with 20 saves and called playing at Fenway the top moment in her career, made sure to take in her historic surroundings.
“When we were coming out through the dugout, and we all saw the snow, it was like, ‘This is really cool,'” Angers said. “It didn’t really even cross our minds that is this going to be tough to play in? I think we all just thought it was really cool.”
The snow stopped just before the start of the night cap, which pitted Boston University against Holy Cross, but it didn’t lessen anything one bit.
Assistant coach Meredith Roth guided the Crusaders to a memorable 3-2 win with head coach Katie Lachapelle away from the team. And playing outdoors certainly brought Roth back to her hockey roots, with one discernable difference.
“You feel pretty small when the building’s big. There’s no roof,” Roth joked. “It was incredible. You walk in, the other game’s going on, which is pretty neat. Kind of reminds you of going to the outdoor rink and someone’s already playing and you have to wait your turn. And I thought our players did a really good job of taking it in, watching the snowflakes fall.”
BU top-line forward Julia Nearis, who grew up not far away from Fenway in Beverly, Mass., took a business-like approach to the game, but even with that mindset, it still was an unforgettable experience.
“My sister did it a couple years ago for her prep school, and now that I got to be a part of it, it’s really cool,” Nearis said. “The weather, even though it made it difficult, was definitely cool to have it snowing, have that full atmosphere.
“I’m just thankful for the opportunity. Everybody that pitched in really made this a special night for a lot of us.”
Here are more notes from the Frozen Fenway doubleheader:
— Quinnipiac’s Nina Steigauf scored the goal of the night when she batted in a puck out of midair in the second period. It certainly was a fitting way to score when playing at a ballpark and Angers wasn’t surprised by the skill Steigauf showed to find the back of the net.
“I think it was just Nina goes hard to the net and she really finishes up on things and she gets that one in,” Angers said. “It looks good for her.”
— It has been a rough season for Holy Cross, as it came into the contest riding a 13-game losing streak. The weight of that sat with the players over the extended holiday break, so in the Crusaders’ first game in about a month, they wanted to make a change.
“Clearly we came back with an attitude that we all wanted to win and doing it for our seniors and our juniors that don’t have that much games in front of them anymore,” said Alexia Moreau, who netted the decisive goal for Holy Cross. “We all wanted to make a difference from the bottom to the top. We want to turn this program up, starting right now, and I think we proved this with this game today.”
— The ice conditions were an issue for all teams, especially due to the early precipitation. Teams curtailed their game plan due to the choppy ice that frequently received treatment along with the weather impacting things as well.
“We played a lot different,” Quinnipiac coach Cassandra Turner said. “After the first period and pretty much from that first timeout, we were trying to make some adjustments to play a lot more simple, make a lot less passes, keep the puck away from the front of our net as much as we possibly could and just be OK to get pucks out.”