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Raiders Ice Hockey launch and season openers make history

Rivier Raiders Ice Hockey teams play to a packed arena at their inaugural season opener.

Rivier Raiders Ice Hockey fansRivier University Raiders Ice Hockey teams hit the ice on Friday, October 29, for their inaugural games. Raiders fans packed the stands at Conway Arena in Nashua to witness the historic events and cheer on the University’s newest NCAA Division III teams.

Kick-off celebrations started early in the day on campus and were followed by a launch party in the Arena parking lot between the women’s and men’s games. The turnout on launch day exceeded expectations. Ice hockey parents, students, alumni, and Rivier community members traveled from near and far to support Raiders Ice Hockey.

Rivier Raiders Ice Hockey Rivier Board Trustee Brad Kreick, a former Division I college hockey player, made the inaugural puck drop to open the women’s game against the Castleton University Spartans. An underdog coming into the match, the Raiders played hard but ultimately fell to the Spartans 6-0. Raiders’ goalie Madelyn Morgan (Riverside, CA) gave a standout performance with a brilliant 53 saves.

“I could not be more proud of our team,” shares Head Coach Chris Czarnota. “We have the youngest women’s team in the country—nearly all freshmen—who have played together for just three weeks. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but we have the right group to climb that mountain together.”

Boston Bruins legend Rick Middleton joined the event to make the ceremonial puck drop at the men’s game. Raiders Ice Hockey’s first-ever goal was scored by Hunter Phillips (Quincy, MA). Gameplay against the veteran SNHU Penmen had the Raiders down 4-1 at the end of the second period. But third period was the charm—in a stunning reverse, the Raiders’ scored four goals to bring home a victory. The first of these goals was scored by Ryan Nolte (Canton, MA), followed by two from Jon Tavella (E. Longmeadow, MA). The final and winning goal, a wrist shot by freshman Milan Breczko (Klasterec, Czech Rep.), rocked the arena.

Rivier Raiders Ice Hockey“The win was amazing,” says Men’s Head Coach Matt Keating. “To advance from behind in the last period with such strength is a testimony to the players’ talents, skills, and deep desire to win. This team has the potential for great success.”

As the Raiders play forward on a full schedule, recruiting student-athletes for next year’s teams is underway. Potential players should contact head coaches Chris Czarnota (W) and Matt Keating (M) to express their interest. Students visiting and applying by December 15 are eligible for the Rivier Early Acceptance Program, which offers a streamlined application process and grants of up to $2,500 in addition to merit-based scholarship packages of up to $80,000.

Watch the opening night video today!