DVCHC's second division will begin its year with firsts:
Rowan University, playing the 1st women's hockey game in school history, will line up against Columbia University for the 1st of the division's 39 games.
For most players, it will be their 1st college game.
For some, their 1st hockey game.
Launched in 2007, the DVCHC D2 was designed with these players in mind. "Part of it was preventing newbies from facing national powerhouses, that isn't helpful," says president Bryan Benenati. "More than that, we wanted a place for less-seasoned rosters to play exciting, college games, skate their whole bench & build while having fun."
The division includes a rule that limits individual players to 3 goals a game, preventing 1 or 2 ringers from dominating a season. Teams must grow in depth to compete.
Grow they have. Now in its 7th season, D2 has become less 'sheltered bay' & more 'competitive sea' of exciting hockey. Rivals clash, games are close and talented skaters like UPENN's Brittany Gross (19 pts in 9 games) and IUP's Danielle Eppley (.917 sv%), rank amongst the DVCHC's top stars.
D1 has benefited as well. Of the 8 teams in the league's top tier, 1/2 started in D2. Last season a team that got its 1st start in DVCHC D2, captured a National Championship.
As the next season of D2 hockey looms, no "first" seems out of reach.
HOCKEY GAME... OF THRONES
For the past two years, Rutgers University has claimed the crown. Now the champs are in D1 and the trophy they left behind is up for grabs. Whoever wins the throne this February, will do so for the 1st time.
STRENGTH IN NUMBERS
7 teams make up the largest D2 pool in DVCHC history. (The division now makes up 1/2 of the DVCHC.) More rivals, more games & more excitement for the standings.
NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK (of ice)
Rowan University starts its 1st season of women's hockey with 19 skaters! American University, DVCHC since 2002, plays its 1st D2 season after a big graduation. The Phoenix, made up of college players from North Jersey, take their 1st strides as a team.
THE NEW UNKNOWN
Beyond the obvious ??? that new teams bring, there are also off-season changes. A new goalie? Last year's rookie, now seasoned defensemen? The answers that emerge could carry the difference.
BECAUSE IT'S THE CUP
For 6 years the D2 playoff has been a simple 4 team, 4 game affair. Nice. This year playoff excitement could double as D2 grabs an equal share of DVCHC Championship fever. Nicer!
|The 2014 DVCHC Women's Championship, held Feb 14-16 @ the Delaware State Fairgrounds will feature more D2 games than ever before!|
|The regular season begins Saturday, October 12th as Columbia visits Rowan in southern Jerz. D2's season opener AND Rowan's 1st ever women's ice hockey game. Boomyeow!|
|The 1st women's ice hockey game in NJ Phoenix history will happen on 10/26. Their 1st home game? 11/9. Calendar, marked.|
|The Lady Eagles of American step into D2 territory for the 1st time on October 19th when they host Rowan in MD.|
|IUP hosts their largest home schedule in team history (8)! Crimson Hawk high five!|
|The regular season ends on Feb 9 as 2013's runner-up UPENN hosts IUP, 2012's runner-up. This could be the year for 1st.|
|Saint Joe's gets another crack at Class of '23 bragging rights as they open the season vs neighbor UPENN on 10/19.|
|There is a 100% chance that the team who hoists the trophy will be one who's never held it before.|