NCAA D-I postseason preview — Jordan Santalucia talks specialty jerseys — Must-click women’s hockey links

The IX: Hockey Friday with Anne Tokarski, February 25, 2022

Happy Hockey Friday! It’s the most wonderful time of the year in the NCAA — postseason tournament time. As each NCAA Division I women’s college hockey conference’s respective postseason gets underway, we’ve got previews and predictions for each one.

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College Hockey America

RIT def. Lindenwood, 6-4

With only five teams in the conference after the dissolution of the Robert Morris women’s hockey program back in 2021, a play-in round was necessary for the semifinals. The two lowest-seeded teams, RIT and Lindenwood, competed for a spot in the semis at Syracuse, where the rest of the tournament will take place. RIT topped their opponents in a barn-burner, with Abby Davies scoring a hat trick.

To kick Friday off at 12 p.m. ETT, RIT will take on the top-seeded Syracuse, while Mercyhurst and Penn State will duke it out at 4 p.m. Both games are available on Stretch Internet ($).

College Hockey America Quarterfinal Predictions:

Syracuse def. RIT
Penn State def. Mercyhurst

Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC)

The top eight teams in the ECAC qualify for the postseason, with the rest of the league’s seasons having concluded this past weekend. All games, which start Friday at 3 p.m. when Clarkson and Colgate meet in Hamilton, will be broadcasted on ESPN+, home of the PHF.

Harvard and Yale, the conference’s top two teams, are separated by a single point in the standings, making the future of the tournament a whole lot more interesting. They won’t face each other for a while, though, given that the seeding of the quarterfinals sees Harvard square off against Princeton, St. Lawrence against Yale, Cornell against Quinnipiac, and Clarkson against Colgate in a best-of-three series beginning today.

ECAC Quarterfinal Predictions:

Harvard def. Princeton
Yale def. St. Lawrence
Quinnipiac def. Cornell
Colgate def. Clarkson

Hockey East

Merrimack def. New Hampshire, 4-1
Providence def. Holy Cross, 3-1

The above results correlate with the play-in round to the Hockey East tournament, where the bottom four teams in the conference compete for a spot in the quarterfinals. In a dramatic upset, Merrimack College defeated UNH by a score of 4-1 for their first ever playoff win in program history, and advanced to the quarters — they’ll play Northeastern on Saturday.

Friday, we have Boston College taking on Maine in a single-elimination game. You can catch it at 1:00 p.m. EST on CollegeSportsLive (free) if you’re outside of the New England area, or on NESN if you’re in the region.

Saturday, Providence will take on Vermont, BU and UConn will go head-to-head, and and Merrimack will, as aforementioned, battle with Northeastern. All games will be broadcast on CollegeSportsLive (free) and NESN.

Hockey East Quarterfinal Predictions:

Boston College def. Maine
Vermont def. Providence
UConn def. BU
Northeastern def. Merrimack

Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA)

Now with eight teams for the first time instead of seven due to the addition of the University of St. Thomas, each member institution of the WCHA gets the chance to compete in the quarterfinals. While Minnesota won the Julianne Bye Cup this past weekend as regular season champions, their path to the postseason title means they’ll have to get through Wisconsin and/or Ohio State.

The first round should be a breeze for most of the WCHA’s squads, with Minnesota State taking on Minnesota Duluth, St. Cloud State battling Ohio State, Wisconsin and Bemidji State going head to head, and Minnesota taking on St. Thomas, each in a best-of-three series beginning Friday. The only series I foresee being a bit of a toss-up is the Minnesota State-Minnesota Duluth one — Minnesota State has had some dominant performances this season, but Duluth has been a perennial contender.

WCHA Quarterfinal Predictions:

Minnesota Duluth def. Minnesota State (prediction: three-game series)
Ohio State def. St. Cloud State
Wisconsin def. Bemidji State
Minnesota def. St. Thomas

This Week in Women’s Hockey

Hockey Commissioners Association announces Goaltender of the Year semifinalists (HCA)

PHF announces roster expansion, salary cap details (The Ice Garden)

NCAA D-I Women’s Hockey: Postseason, Pairwise, Predictions (+ Part 2) (USCHO)

Tyler Tumminia’s departure raises more questions about the PHF (The Hockey News)

Around the Rink in the PHF: Week 11 (The Ice Garden)

Five at the IX: Jordan Santalucia

Jordan Santalucia is a graphic designer working with the PHF’s Buffalo Beauts. Most recently, he designed the organization’s specialty jerseys for their outdoor game, the Buffalo Believes Classic.

Question: How long have you been working with the Beauts, and what is the scope of your position?

Jordan Santalucia: I started as an intern in September 2019 for season 5. So this has been my third season with the Beauts. I’m the graphic designer, so basically anything the team needs graphic wise, is a job for me. Making graphics for social media is probably the thing I do most often. But my first opportunity for jersey designing came this year, when I was able to design the Buffalo Wing fashion jerseys, and the Hockey Fights Cancer, Pride Night, and Buffalo Believes Classic jerseys. Otherwise some other things I’ve done include graphics for the Beauts website, credential badges, game programs, t-shirt designs, and signs for the locker room. So it’s a good variety of things. I love it. 

Q: Who came up with the idea for a specialty jersey for the Buffalo Believes Classic — was it you, or was it something the organization had always planned on doing this season?

Santalucia: I believe it was [Beauts general manager] Nate Oliver’s idea. This has been a long process so I actually don’t totally remember. But the idea started during the off-season after Lake Placid. Nate and I shared the idea of making them retro looking. I think I made about 10 concepts. Nate and Ksenia Selemon, the art and marketing director for the league, gave me feedback about what they liked best about them, and then we worked with K1 Sportswear on the final design. Ultimately we ended up with what the team wore for the game. It was a fun process and I was really happy with how they looked.

Q: Tell me a little bit about where you drew inspiration from for the jersey design.

Santalucia: I tried to dig deep into Buffalo hockey history and women’s hockey history. I had a few different options in mind. I ultimately narrowed in on the Buffalo Bisons jersey from 1932. That look is pretty recognizable, and it’s something we haven’t seen a team try to replicate yet for a heritage type jersey. I recreated the logo from that jersey and tweaked it slightly. To get an old time jersey feel I used a creamier white color to go with the Beauts blue and black. The stars on the shoulders were inspired from the Beauts jerseys from 2017-2018 where they had stars going down the arms. Most of the Beauts jerseys have featured stars though, so it’s just something that fit good with the team’s identity. 

Q: Fans online loved the jersey — is there any possibility of making it or any associated designs available to fans for purchase?

Santalucia: It’s definitely possible. I think our management is really good about listening to fans. So if the fans ask for it enough, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it again. But I’m not sure. I hope so.

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Written by Anne Tokarski