Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Women’s hockey prepares for CCC championship defense

Goaltender+Lily+ONeil+at+practice+on+Oct.+13.
Leo Woods
Goaltender Lily O’Neil at practice on Oct. 13.

After a banner-raising season last year, it’s time to see what new look Suffolk University women’s hockey team has for an encore.

The Rams are coming off a program-defining 2022-23 season where they finished 18-8-2, captured their first Commonwealth Coast Conference championship and appeared in their first NCAA tournament.

The team was dominant in the CCC, finishing with a .883 winning percentage against conference opponents. They also led the CCC in goals, assists, shots, face-offs and power play goals.

Suddenly, there was a shock to the program, as now-former head coach Taylor Wasylk stepped down and accepted a head coaching position at Lindenwood University.

After a meticulous hiring process, Suffolk hired Boston University assistant coach Abby Ostrom for the head coaching position.

Ostrom was an accomplished player at Trinity College and later coached there until she joined the BU staff in 2019. This is her first head coaching position.

Ostrom says she’s gained valuable experience from numerous coaches and teammates over the years that have helped her prepare for this position.

“I learned a lot and kind of absorbed what I could from each coach and tried to take the best aspects from each of them. There’s nothing crazy new in this world so it’s all about meshing the things that worked best for me as a player and assistant and putting it into my new role at Suffolk,” said Ostrom.

Coaching isn’t the only change the Rams have seen this offseason, as the roster features a mix of 12 new transfers and freshmen.

Starting goaltender Lily O’Neil thinks this kind of turnover creates a great opportunity for the team.

“I think the change is good. It was kinda like we hit a refresh button. It’s nice to further the program and build on what we have while still growing as a team,” said O’Neil.

Goaltending will be vital to Suffolk’s success this season as O’Neil is as good as it gets in the CCC. Last season she finished with a stellar 558 total saves and 1.61 goals against average, good for first and second in the CCC, respectively.

O’Neil was named captain for this season and is eager to step into that leadership role while furthering her on-ice success.

“I don’t wanna put too much pressure on myself but I know that I’m capable. Especially in that leadership role as a captain. I wanna be that person that the younger girls on the team can look up to and know what it means to play for Suffolk women’s hockey,” said O’Neil.

O’Neil is one of four captains selected by Ostrom this offseason. Vanessa Stuart serves as the team’s other captain, with Elise Wainwright and Sammy Lassman serving as alternate captains.

The relationship between Ostrom, the captains and the other four returning players from last season’s championship team has been vital for maintaining the direction of the program.

“I think it’s been a complement of taking some of their standards and the things they care about and implementing some new stuff,” said Ostrom. She added a lot of what she emphasized going into the season was controlling the defensive zone and executing offensively.

O’Neil commended Ostrom for her ability to recognize some of the things that could be tweaked to make the team better.

“One of the things that we appreciate as captains and returners is that she is willing to work with us. [And] she keeps the things that have worked and adjusted some things here or there that weren’t working for us,” said O’Neil.

Despite the newness of the team, O’Neil has been impressed with the grit this group has shown early.

“That determination, that grit in the locker room. What we say and how we work together and how we use that grit as our fuel to win the little battles and do the little things. And that’s not necessarily seen by everyone else or other teams,” said O’Neil.

O’Neil also said the taste of success from last season has only left the returners on this year’s team hungrier for more.

Ostrom has her own hunger for success and is looking to achieve two things Suffolk women’s hockey hasn’t done in team history.

“I’ve done a little bit of research since taking over the program and they haven’t been able to hit that 20-win mark so I think it would be pretty cool to hit that,” said Ostrom. Ostrom is also hoping to take the Rams back to the NCAA tournament so they can secure their first tournament win.

As much as she would like to reach this feat, Ostrom recognizes those goals aren’t the only barometer of success for the team this year

As the season draws closer each day, it is exciting to picture the things this talented and dedicated group can achieve.

The Rams begin their regular season on the road at the Utica University Kickoff Tournament Oct. 27-28.

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About the Contributors
Liam McCall, Staff Writer | he/him
Liam is a print/web journalism major from Melrose, Mass. Originally a marketing major, he switched to journalism to follow his joy for writing. He is a big sports fan and roots for all New England teams, especially the Red Sox and the Patriots. In his free time, he loves going on runs, listening to music and going golfing with his friends.
Leo Woods, Photo Editor | he/him

Leo is a senior political science major with a minor in journalism from Clinton, Conn. He has photographed political events, protests, performing arts groups and documented Boston Pride for the People for the History Project. Outside of Suffolk, Leo is an avid Dungeons and Dragons player and podcast listener. After graduation, he plans on attending law school and working in politics.

Follow Leo on Twitter @leowoods108

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