Women's ice hockey picked second in NEWHA Preseason Poll

WINTHROP, Mass. – The Saint Anselm College women's ice hockey team was selected as the second-ranked team in the New England Women's Hockey Alliance Preseason Coaches' Poll on Thursday.

PDF: NEWHA Preseason Coaches' Poll

Saint Anselm received two first-place votes and 14 total points, trailing preseason favorite Sacred Heart by a single point and a first-place vote. Franklin Pierce, Saint Michael's and Post rounded out the five-team poll.

Thursday's announcement from the NEWHA is the second in as many days as, on Wednesday, the league formally announced its intent to be recognized as an NCAA National Collegiate women's ice hockey conference. In addition, it was revealed earlier this month that Long Island University Brooklyn is slated to join the league as its sixth member in 2019-20.

The Hawks wrapped up the 2017-18 season with an impressive 21-4-4 overall record while racking up a league mark of 15-2-3 to claim the league's regular-season championship. Saint Anselm would fall to Sacred Heart in the NEWHA Tournament championship game on Sunday, Feb. 25 by a narrow 3-1 margin.

Head Coach Kerstin Matthews enters her 11th season with the program, racking up an outstanding overall record of 196-57-18 (.756). Last year, Matthews led the Hawks to their 10th season of 20-plus victories after sprinting out to a 13-1-1 record in the team's first 15 games. She also coached six All-Conference student-athletes.

Saint Anselm will play a total of 30 games this winter, highlighted by a trip to Minnesota in early January that includes a game at TRIA Rink, the new practice facility of the National Hockey League's Minnesota Wild. The Hawks will play 14 times on their home ice at Sullivan Arena, where they are 53-7-6 (.849) over the last five seasons.

The 2019 NEWHA postseason semifinal and championship games are scheduled for Feb. 23-24 and will be played at Sullivan Arena on campus at Saint Anselm.