1996-97 Season in Review
20-8-2, 17-4-1, 2nd ECAC
Coach: Jackie Barto
Captains: Catherine Hanson, Jen Wagner
The 1996-97 Providence College Lady Friars finished the
season with an impressive 20-8-2 record. It marked the
ninth time in 23 seasons that the Lady Friars posted 20 or
more wins. In league action, Head Coach Jackie Barto's
squad finished second with a 17-4-1 record and advanced to
the ECAC Semifinals.
In addition to the team's success, several players had
outstanding seasons. Sophomore forward Laurie Baker
(Concord, Mass.) earned her second consecutive First Team
ECAC All-Star honor while freshman goaltender Sara DeCosta
(Warwick, R.I.), sophomore defenseman Katie Lachapelle
(Lewiston, Maine), junior defenseman Catherine Hanson
(Marquette, Mich.) and senior forward Alison Wheeler
(Waterbury, Vt.) each earned ECAC Honorable Mention honors.
Baker led the team in scoring for the second consecutive
season. The sophomore forward tallied 43 goals and 28
assists in 30 games. One of the most exciting players in
college hockey, Baker registered five hat tricks and 13
multiple-goal games in 1996-97. Her 43 goals is the second
highest single season total in PC history. In just two
seasons at Providence, Baker has recorded 119 points (75
goals, 44 assists).
Sophomore Myia Yates (St. Paul, Minn.) and senior Alison
Wheeler (Waterbury, Vt.) each had a strong season for the
Lady Friars. Yates finished tied for the team lead in
assists (28) and was second in scoring (42 points). Wheeler
led the team in power-play goals (eight), was second in
goals (18) and finished third in scoring (39 points).
In goal, freshman Sara DeCosta (Warwick, R.I.) backstopped
the squad with a 18-7-2 record, a 2.66 goals against average
and a .919 save percentage. DeCosta had a spectacular
freshman season which included two shutouts and two 50-save
perfomances. She also was named ECAC Rookie of the Week
twice in 1996-97.
The Lady Friars started the season with a flurry winning
their first six games and ending the month of November with
a perfect 6-0 mark, which included ECAC wins against Boston
College, Dartmouth, St. Lawrence and Cornell.
PC suffered its first defeat of the season when the team
failed to hold a 2-0 lead and fell to Canadian powerhouse
Concordia, 4-2, at the Princeton Invitational on December 1.
PC rebounded from the Concordia loss with consecutive
league wins against Yale and Dartmouth and entered the
holiday season with an 8-1 record.
Although the Lady Friars defeated New Hampshire, 4-3, on
January 11 and handed the Wildcats their first loss ever at
the Whittemore Center, PC's young squad struggled in
January. After starting the new year with a loss to
Northeastern, PC reeled off three straight wins, including
the victory at UNH. Despite a 0-3-1 record in its last four
games in January, the Lady Friars showed signs of rebounding
from their skid as they posted a 4-4 tie against Concordia
on January 18 at Schneider Arena.
PC entered February with a two-game losing streak, but
quickly changed its fortunes. The Lady Friars registered a
7-1-1 mark and asserted themselves as one of the top teams
in the league. Highlighting the team's impressive month was
a 2-1 win against Northeastern at Matthews Arena on February
8 and a 2-2 tie against New Hampshire at Schneider Arena on
In March the Lady Friars split their final two games of the
regular season and earned a second-place finish in league
standings with a 17-4-1 mark. PC defeated Cornell, 3-1, in
the ECAC Quarterfinals at Schneider Arena on March 8,
improving its all-time ECAC Tournament mark to 24-7. In the
Semifinals, PC was matched against New Hampshire, the third
seeded team. In a rematch of the 1996 ECAC Finals, a game
which lasted five overtimes, UNH defeated the Lady Friars,
4-3, in overtime.