UMass Minutemen women's ice hockey

UMass Minutemen Women's Ice Hockey athletic logo
UMass women's hockey jerseys.png
The UMass Minutemen women's ice hockey team represents the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) in Women's Division 1 of the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) and in the Eastern Collegiate Women's Hockey League (ECWHL). The Minutemen are one of the ACHA's premier programs, having qualified for 15 of the 18 ACHA National Tournaments held for women's teams (within 16 years of total ACHA membership), a number tied with Michigan State for the all-time lead. Additionally, UMass has won four ECWHL playoff titles (a conference championship total that trails only rival Rhode Island nationally) and has been the home of two Zoë M. Harris Award winners (Maura Grainger in 2008–09 and Brittani Lanzilli in 2015–16), one of four ACHA D1 programs to produce multiple recipients of the honor.

Bill Wright has been the team's head coach since 2012 and has led the Minutemen to their only ACHA championship game appearance (2014).

UMass began play in the ACHA for the 2002–03 season and almost immediately joined soon-to-be archrival Rhode Island as one of the northeastern United States' two dominant ACHA programs, a status that has continued to the present day with only rare interruption.

Under head coach Bill Finn, and featuring early stars like three-time All-American Aleta Mills, Jacqui Phillips, Samatha Louras and goalie Becky Trudel, the Minutemen finished second in the East Region and received an autobid to the third-ever ACHA National Tournament, in Muskegon, Michigan. UMass performed well at nationals, finishing second in their four-team group after wins over Northern Michigan and St. Cloud State. While that outcome would have meant a trip to the semifinals under subsequent formats, in 2003 it meant that the Minutemen were dumped in the third-place game, where they dropped a decision to West Los Angeles College. Despite the disappointing finish, the program had announced its arrival in a way few have, before or since.

The 2003–04 season saw UMass contribute to two notable pieces of history. That season, the program helped start the Eastern Collegiate Women's Hockey League, with Rhode Island, Penn State, Buffalo and Boston University as the other founding members. From January 16–19, 2004, UMass hosted an event dubbed the "UMass White Out Tournament," the first mid-season showcase event held within the ACHA's women's divisions. Invited teams included new conference opponents Rhode Island and Buffalo, along with West LA College, Robert Morris (IL) (the eventual champion) and Colorado. Louras, meanwhile, finished that year with 37 points, good enough to place ninth on the ACHA's top scorers list and become the first documented Minuteman to rank in the top ten.

The Minutemen made it to the ECWHL championship game to close each of the league's first three seasons, but as was the pattern of the time, lost each to URI (the Rams were the circuit's dominant team early on and would not lose an ECWHL playoff game until 2011). The maroon and white did, however, fire off back-to-back ACHA National Tournament bids in 2005 and 2006. The first was the stronger of the two runs, thanks to a 3–1 pool win over Michigan, powered by Emily Slotnick's game-winning goal and two assists, that sent UMass through to the quarterfinals. The Great Lakes State got the best of the Bay State when given another chance though, as Michigan State upended the Minutemen 2–1 on the way to a second-place finish.

This page was last edited on 16 May 2018, at 04:08.
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