Marist club hockey played its annual pink game on Saturday at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in downtown Poughkeepsie, defeating Central Connecticut State 6-5 on a game-winning goal from captain Nick Siciliano 48 seconds into sudden-death overtime.
Marist jumped out to a 4-1 lead less than 12 minutes into the game but Central Connecticut State eventually clawed its way back to tie things at 5 late in the third period to force overtime before Siciliano’s second goal of the game sent scores of pink-clad fans (mostly Marist students) into hysterics.
James Hickman, Jack Casey, and Cole Wahlers were the other Marist players that found their way onto the scoresheet.
“It was an extremely exciting game for a great cause,” Siciliano said afterward. “It was great to have so many people here, and any time we’re playing hockey it’s a blast, but since it was for a cause like breast cancer awareness, it made it more special today.”
A game happened and Marist won, but the real story was what the team was playing for.
Saturday marked the 13th annual “Pink the Rink” game for Marist club hockey, which collaborated with the Tri Sigma sorority to raise funds for Positively Pink, a non-profit organization that raises money to support women fighting breast cancer.
“Positively Pink is great because it’s this group of women that come together to make things for women who are going through breast cancer,” said Ashley Lebit, a member of Tri Sigma at Marist. “They make care packages with gift cards, crossword puzzles, and headbands for women going through chemotherapy.”
Lebit has firsthand experience with Positively Pink, as the organization supported her mother during her fight with breast cancer.
While the club hockey team did the playing, members of Tri Sigma handled many of the logistical aspects of putting the game together.
“The whole sorority came together on this,” said Alice Maldon, another Tri Sigma member. “We designed shirts, got decorations, decorated the rink, and worked with the hockey team and the managers to make this all work.”
“A big shoutout goes to Tri Sigma,” club hockey coach Randall Hurlbert said. “We just happen to be the game that they sponsor but our team really takes hold and advertises for it to make as much money for the cause as we can.”
Breast cancer impacts hundreds of thousands of women each year in the United States. The added emotion of the game was something not lost on the players.
“Unfortunately, [breast cancer] is something that’s impacted our team in the past,” Siciliano said. “A few years ago, one of our former players lost his mother and that really hit close to home for us and made it that much more important to us.”
Even though the game was played off-campus, a sizable student crowd came to support the team and the cause. The fans participated by paying $5 for admission with raffle tickets and merchandise sales also helping to drive up the amount of money raised.
“So many people came to this event, which was amazing,” Maldon said. “The turnout is always awesome and the atmosphere is really cool and people are always willing to join in the fundraising. It’s one of the best events of the semester.”
The win capped an undefeated weekend for the club hockey team, who defeated Eastern Connecticut 6-3 at home on Friday night.
Marist will return to home ice on Oct. 29 when it faces RPI at 4:15 p.m. Hurlbert also mentioned plans for other special games, highlighting a veterans’ night scheduled for Nov. 18.
“We want to keep having great turnouts,” Hurlbert said. “Hopefully, for future games, we see crowds like this one.”
Edited by Andrew Hard
Photo from Jonathan Kinane