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Stonehill defender Hannah Squires making big saves, on and off the ice

Stonehill defender Hannah Squires didn't look out of place in net, backstopping the Skyhawks to two wins in early November.Mary Gettens

Like many college hockey players, Stonehill’s Hannah Squires describes herself as “really competitive.” But when she had to miss four games in October, she did not give it a second thought.

A while back, the Skyhawks’ sophomore defender signed up for the Be The Match registry, a national organization that connects patients suffering from a blood cancer such as leukemia or lymphoma to donors for possible life-saving stem cell or bone marrow transplants. Most registrants never are called to donate.

“It is pretty rare for people that are on the registry to find a match because it’s just so hard to find that perfect match for someone who needs stem cells,” said Squires, a Lawrence Academy graduate and Mattapoisett native.

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But Squires was that perfect match for someone in need. When called on to donate stem cells, she took off two weekends of games against New England Women’s Hockey Alliance opponents Post and St. Anselm.

While the donation process is short, side effects kept Squires off the ice for those four games.

“It’s all based on how you feel,” said Squires. “They say that you have to take some time off because there is a possibility that your spleen could be enlarged. So you have to be careful with that. Plus, you just don’t feel too great.”

Squires returned for two victories against Assumption the last weekend in October. After those games, the Skyhawks faced a problem. The team, in its second year in Division 1, has just two goalies. However, Hanna Zukow and Eve Stone were both injured and unable to play the next weekend against St. Michael’s.

The coaches and players thought back to last spring. In one postseason practice, Stone wanted to spend time skating out, which meant someone needed to step into the net. Enter Squires.

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“I switched gear with Eve just for fun,” said Squires, who last played goalie as a 10-year-old. “People thought that I did pretty well. It was fun.”

When first-year Stonehill coach Lee-J Mirasolo entered the locker room three days before the St. Michael’s series and asked for a player to step up, Squires and her teammates remembered that spring practice.

“I said I would and everyone was saying, ‘Oh my God, Hannah can!’” laughed Squires.

And did she ever. Making 25 saves over two games, Squires backstopped 6-1 and 6-5 victories, extending Stonehill’s winning streak to five games.

“My team really made it easy,” said Squires. “They were blocking shots and playing their hearts out. They made me feel calm. They really supported me.”

It has been a fall filled with Squires making saves, both for a stranger suffering from cancer and her team. Squires is back playing defense for the 7-11 Skyhawks as they continue their NEWHA schedule with games this weekend against Franklin Pierce.

Squires hopes her story encourages others, especially about registering with Be The Match.

“I try to tell everyone to [register], because the more people that are on the registry and in the program, the more people can find matches,” said Squires. “It’s really hard to find that perfect match and this is a lifesaving opportunity for the patient.”

Starting from scratch

Robert Lavin is building a team in a hurry.

Lavin, announced in October as Framingham State’s first women’s hockey coach, is hitting the recruiting trail to build a roster to begin play next fall.

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“I’ve been crazy recruiting and watching hockey,” said Lavin last week.

The Rams will be in Division 3 and play in the MASCAC, which begins sponsoring women’s hockey next season. It adds another local opportunity, especially for those looking for the balance between academics and athletics that Division 3 schools provide.

“There are a lot of club and high school teams around here, and a lot of girls playing hockey in general,” said Lavin. “There are a lot of girls attracted to D3 teams. It’s a small, intimate campus and I think it’s an easy sell.”

Lavin, who coached Framingham State’s men’s team from 2001-03 and was most recently the boys’ hockey coach at Worcester Academy, is pounding the pavement to drum up interest in the team. He hopes to hire assistant coaches soon. Until then, when he gets recruits to visit, he enlists the help of other Framingham State teams.

“The other female athletes have been helping out, which has been huge,” said Lavin. “When we get someone on campus, they help tour them around and talk to them about campus life.”

Janecke ties record

Tessa Janecke, an Illinois native who played her final year of high school hockey at Wellesley’s North American Hockey Academy, tied a College Hockey America record with 7 points in a game (three goals, four assists) in Penn State’s 8-2 win over Dartmouth on Saturday. The sophomore forward finished with four goals and six assists in the two-game weekend series … Northeastern forward Allie Lalonde, who earned Hockey East co-Rookie of the Week honors, is on a three-game point streak. She is tied for second among league rookies with 11 points.

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Kat Cornetta can be reached at sportsgirlkat@gmail.com.