Hockey: Turners Falls’ Cassidhe Wozniak has freshman season to remember at Becker College

  • Turners Falls graduate Cassidhe Wozniak advances the puck for the Becker College against New England College in  Worcester on Jan. 11.   COURTESY/BRIAN FOLEY/BECKER ATHLETICS

  • Turners Falls graduate Cassidhe Wozniak playing for Becker College against Nichols College this season in Burrillville, Rhode Island.  COURTESY/BRIAN FOLEY/BECKER ATHLETICS

Staff Writer
Published: 3/6/2020 8:44:16 PM

Cassidhe Wozniak’s hockey career began to help alleviate a case of youthful boredom. 

As a child, Wozniak would spend a lot of time at Collins/Moylan Arena while her older brother was practicing. 

After a while, she began complaining that there was nothing to do at the rink. The complaining had to end, and her mother had the perfect solution: sign her young daughter up for hockey as a first-grader. 

Wozniak, a former dancer, had negative feelings initially regarding the sport she would eventually fall in love with as time passed. 

“I hated it,” Wozniak said. “Absolutely hated it. For the first year, I did not like it at all. I just wasn’t good at it, so I didn’t want to play.”

Wozniak, of Turners Falls, admittedly was an average skater when her skills were blossoming in the early stages.  Then as her experience grew, so did her ability on the ice playing for the Franklin County Hockey Association. 

“The next year, I started doing travel,” Wozniak said. “That’s when I really fell in love with it. Being on a team I thought was the best thing.”

It turns out her mother made a great decision.

Wozniak just finished her freshman season playing for the Becker College women’s hockey team, where she was awarded the Colonial Hockey Conference Rookie of the Week on three occasions. 

Wozniak led the conference in Rookie of the Week awards.

“I thank my teammates for that,” Wozniak said. “This is the closest team I have ever been on. I can’t do it without them. They set me up for goals and push me.”

The forward played in 26 games for the Hawks, with 11 goals and eight assists for 19 points, which was good for third on the team. 

Wozniak scored a game-winning goal against Southern Maine on Jan. 17 in Worcester. 

Becker is a Division 3 college in Worcester. The women’s hockey team is in its fifth season. 

Becker’s (7-16-3) season ended with a 3-2 loss in double-overtime in Middletown, Rhode Island, in the conference semifinals. 

“That was very, very tough,” Wozniak said. “We had a lot of potential. Sometimes, we just didn’t get the outcomes we wanted. It helps us work harder for next year. We want to win and make it to the championship.”

Before her high school years, Wozniak played against boys exclusively during her youth hockey career. 

As a freshman in high school Wozniak started playing for the Marlboro Minutemen Lady Flames which is a girls’ travel team.

There was a learning curve when pivoting to girls hockey. 

“The rules are different,” Wozniak said. “There’s no hitting. You can’t check anyone.”

Several trips to the penalty box ensued for Wozniak.

“I would just go hit someone,” Wozniak said. “They would say ‘you can’t do that’.  That’s just always how I played.”

She would play for both her travel team and her high school teams. Her sophomore season she played for the Turners Falls hockey team before moving on to the Greenfield co-op the next two seasons.

“I got to play with all of my friends,” Wozniak said. “I really enjoyed that. I got along with all the boys on my team. They all believed in me. We were all really close, we played together forever.”

Wozniak returned for spring break too late in the evening to witness some of her old Greenfield teammates winning a Western Mass. Division 3A championship on Thursday night at the Olympia Ice Center in West Springfield. 

“I was very proud,” Wozniak said.

Wozniak was a dominant field hockey player for the Thunder, scoring over 100 goals during her high school career.

The freshman elected to focus on ice hockey during her collegiate career.

“When I got recruited to Becker it was just best for me to play hockey,” Wozniak said. “Field hockey and hockey overlap. It wouldn’t be fair to miss hockey, especially when I was recruited for hockey.”

Greenfield coach Adam Bouchard coached Wozniak during her time with the Green Wave.

“She was a competitor,” Bouchard said. “She was the best athlete coming out of this area of that age. She had a killer year (at Becker). Seeing how she was able to manage herself against 18 and 19 year old boys. I think she landed her freshman year exactly how she would expect to."

The loss to Salve Regina has Wozniak in the gym getting ready for next season.

“One of the reasons I haven’t played another sport is I want to spend time in the gym,” Wozniak said. “Getting faster and getting better and being a better asset for my team.”

Even now, Wozniak and her family will reminisce about her initial reaction to the sport of hockey. 

“They will always talk about how I hated it,” Wozniak said. 

Her mother, Aracelis Sanchez, played a huge role in  not only signing her up for hockey, but pushing her to play in more competitive leagues.

“She always believed in me and knew I had potential,” Wozniak said. 

With three more years left in her collegiate hockey career, the Wozniak and hockey story still has plenty of chapters yet to be written.

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