The Men’s Ice Hockey team celebrating during a game. (image courtesy SNHU Penmen)

The week of February 28, women’s basketball and men’s ice hockey took on the pressure of playoff competition as number one seeds and faced off against opponents throughout the NE10.

Pressure has risen as of late for SNHU athletics to remind their competition that they should not be counted out and that they won’t go down easily.

SNHU guard Adriana Timberlake (’23) of Braintree, MA, is averaging the second-highest points-per-game average on the women’s basketball team this season (13.3) and is ecstatic to be part of a championship-caliber team.

“This year has been extremely special; this team is very close and we all mesh very well together. This has made it easy on the court because we have great team chemistry,” said Timberlake.

The team endured a year off due to COVID that seemingly hindered their chances at contention this season, but the squad didn’t let that get to them.

“I feel that many teams had doubted us from the start because we had not been together for over a year due to COVID. This had given us a disadvantage over other teams who were practicing together all last year,” said Timberlake.

Nevertheless, the team has come out making shots when they need to and has continued to stay ready for big games.

“I am very excited to be a part of a team that has won the league championship and hope to continue this success,” said Timberlake. “Playoffs has a cool atmosphere because it’s like the start of a new season. Everyone is now 0-0… We have a giant target on our back since we are in first.”

SNHU women’s basketball was on the attack all season, but their playoff push came to a halt with a loss to Southern Connecticut State University in the NE10 quarterfinals on February 28.

Much like the women’s basketball team, the SNHU men’s ice hockey had an impressive season finishing their campaign as regular season champions.

George Thurston (’23), a forward for the Penmen, has been a critical part of the Penmen’s success. He believes the SNHU hockey program has championship potential.

“Our team feels very calm and confident, but [we] also have a sense of urgency going into the playoffs,” said Thurston.

Being the number one seed comes with many advantages, and Thurston is pleased to take advantage of them.

“It’s a big advantage that we got the first-round by,” said Thurston. “Every team has to come to us, and being at home in front of your home crowd and not being on the bus helps more than people think. It also helps a lot of guys out; we had a lot of guys with little injuries, and everyone can get treated during the week off and come back ready to go and be 100%.”

Championship-caliber teams don’t just appear. They are built from the ground up, and Thurston believes that his team is ready for the challenge.

“We have been waiting for this opportunity for a long time now so we are ready to go,” said Thurston. “We need to play our best game in all aspects.”

The end goal is always a championship, and the hockey team can nearly taste the ring.

“We accomplished what we wanted to in the regular season, but great teams are remembered for winning a championship,” said Thurston. “We have a really special team and a really special opportunity to make history in a lot of ways.”

The team was eliminated from the playoff tournament by Post University in the NE10 semifinals on Tuesday, March 1, but with the momentum they have, their championship push is sure to resume next season.

With high-seeding winter season teams coming out of the SNHU athletics program, fans can only wait another year for basketball and hockey to resume. After a season just short of the finish line, next season should be promising.