It has been 51 days since the last time Adrian College women's hockey teammates Nicole Guagliardo and Kelly O'Sullivan have been on the ice.
The last time was the team's final practice before heading out to Elmira, New York to play in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Women's Ice Hockey Tournament. Of course, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bulldogs never made it to New York and for most of the team's eight seniors it brought an abrupt end to their careers.
For O'Sullivan and Guagliardo, their careers are actually only beginning as the two were selected in the National Women's Hockey League Draft on Wednesday.
"For me, as the coach, it's a humbling time," said Bulldogs' head coach Shawn Skelly. "Seeing a couple get drafted in a league that's growing immensely over the last couple of years, it's a great day for Nicole and Kelly. They both expressed that wanted to continue their careers and (Wednesday) was the start of that."
O'Sullivan was the first of the two to hear her named called on Twitter by Kevin Weekes, who spent 12 seasons in the NHL as a goalie and is now an analyst on NHL Network's On the Fly and NHL Tonight.
She was selected by the Buffalo Beauts with the 20th overall pick.
"I'm super excited to go out there and experience something that only so many people have been able to do," O'Sullivan said. "It was pretty cool to have my name announced by someone who is pretty popular in the hockey world. All of the social media surrounding it and the good energy coming from it, I'm super excited and couldn't be happier."
O'Sullivan will be joining a team that went 8-15-1 last season, which has yet to be concluded with the championship still to be played between the Minnesota Whitecaps and Boston Pride.
She will have at least one familiar face in Buffalo as another former Bulldog, Kristin Lewicki, is currently on the team.
In fact, O'Sullivan and Guagliardo will be the fifth and sixth Adrian College women's hockey alumni to make it to the NWHL and of those six, five have played for the Beauts including current AC assistant coach Kaylyn Schroka.
"Schroka has been the one I ask all my questions to," O'Sullivan said. "On her experience playing there, moving there and not only the hockey area with playing for the Beauts, but also being in a new area. She had nothing but good things to say and I know my former teammates had a good experience there."
O'Sullivan, who plays defense, was the captain for Adrian this season and earned Northern Collegiate Hockey Association Player of the Year, was a finalist for the Laura Hurd Award (Division III Player of the Year) and was named an American Hockey Coaches Association All-American.
Her 114 points is fourth all-time in program history.
"Kelly's IQ and mindset when it comes to the game of hockey is above anyone I've ever coached in my life," Skelly said. "She thinks the game two or three steps ahead of everybody. She's a Division I athlete who fell through the cracks."
Guagliardo, a forward, was selected by the Connecticut Whale with the 25th overall pick. Her selection was announced by Dr. Lindsey Migliore who hosts NWHL Open Ice, a weekly show that can be streamed live on Twitch.
"She actually pronounced my last name right, I was surprised," Guagliardo said. "I had verbally committed ahead of time, so I knew when I was going to get announced. It was still pretty cool to hear my name."
Unlike O'Sullivan, Guagliardo played her first three NCAA seasons at the Division I level with Mercyhurst for two seasons and then Lindenwood before transferring to Adrian for one season.
"With the lower Division I schools, I think any of the top Division III schools can compete with them," Guagliardo said. "It's really not much different."
While the jump from Division I and III might be not be huge, Division III to the pros will be. Also add the fact both O'Sullivan and Guagliardo have been off the ice for almost two months.
"It's really hard because the gyms aren't open and I don't have a whole lot at home," Guagliardo said. "I've been running, biking and rollerblading because that's the closest I can get to the ice right now."
When the two are able to get back on the ice and the next season begins, it'll be an interesting sight when the Beauts and Whales face off.
O'Sullivan and Guagliardo grew up 15 minutes apart in the Chicago area and both played for the Chicago Mission Youth Hockey Club.
It was O'Sullivan who brought Guagliardo to coach Skelly's attention when a spot opened up on the Bulldogs' roster.
"We needed a forward to replace what we were missing the year before," O'Sullivan said. "I knew from playing with her she would be able to come in and help our team. She's super outing and friendly, so I knew it wouldn't be hard for her to adapt to our team dynamic. It was easy to bring her in."
Guagliardo didn't disappoint in her one season.
She also earned ACHA All-American status and led the team with 33 points with 17 assists and 16 goals.
"She's got a fantastic ability to get to the net," Skelly said. "She's a strong skater, not one to be knocked off the puck. She's going to work her butt off.
"Coming from Division III, in the NWHL there is very limited Division III players, so you have to make your mark early and show you can withstand those Division I players who have scholarship offers the last four years."