WOMEN'S HOCKEY: Ready For Revenge
The Eagles Are Excited To Be Back On The Ice, Steeped In Talent, And Seeking Redemption
Published: Thursday, October 10, 2013
Updated: Friday, December 27, 2013 00:12
When a hockey team prepares for the start of a season, a familiar recipe is usually followed. Practices are held, conditioning is endured, plays are learned, lines are formed, and team bonding is encouraged. This year, to facilitate the relationship-building process, the Boston College women’s hockey team added helpings of water, sunshine, barbeque sauce, and fresh apples.
“We had the whole team over for a day, and we hung out on the water and had some barbecue, and hung out and got to know each other,” said junior forward Emily Field.
“And then, we also went apple picking.”
So far, the extra ingredients seem to be work- ing, because the Eagles are focused, excited to be out on the ice, and 1-0.
“This is the first year that I’ve wanted to be around the team all the time, and I think a lot of people feel that way,” Field said. “We all have fun together, and I think we have a very good sense of community on our team, and I think that says a lot about the leaders on the team.”
Coming off of a 27-7-3 season and a trip to the Frozen Four, the Eagles are seated near the top of most national preseason rankings and are rated neck and neck with Minnesota, the undefeated (41-0) national champions that ended their sea- son last year. According to head coach Katie King Crowley, this BC team has even more talent than last season’s squad.
“I think our team overall, I think we’re deeper than we were last year,” Crowley said. “Offensively I think we have a lot of kids that can put pucks in the net. I think our goal scoring will probably be spread out a little more than it even was last year and we had a decent spread last year. I think our kids are ready to go.”
If the Eagles are going to be as successful as last season, depth will be key. In 2012-13, junior forward Alex Carpenter scored 32 goals and had 38 assists, a total that accounted for 70 of the Eagles’ 410 points. This season, Carpenter is off playing for the U.S. Women’s National Team in the Olympics.
“I think it’s really difficult obviously to replace 70-plus points, but I do think we can do it by com- mittee a little bit and we’ll see kind of who steps up and wants to take the reins of having more points,” Crowley said. “And I think we have that in some of our younger freshmen forwards and obviously we have Skarupa and Fields and [Dana Trivigno] back, who I think can do big things.”
In the 2012-13 season, sophomore forward Haley Skarupa scored the second-most points on the team with 24 goals and 53 points. Field finished just behind her with 16 goals and 45 points, and Trivigno had 13 goals and 29 points.
Skarupa and Field are excited by the team’s outlook this season.
“I think our practices have been really sharp, I think the freshmen bring a lot of energy and [so do] the defense and forwards and everyone,” Skarupa said. “It’s going to be a very fun year. I’m excited.”
“I think right now we’re working together pretty well and you can start to see the lines coming together,” Field said.
She then pointed out what she considers the team’s biggest strength.
“We’re pretty quick, I think. We’ve always been fast, but I think this year we’re four-lines fast, as opposed to just one or two lines, and including the defensemen as well.”
Some of the new additions to the offense will be freshmen forwards Steph Lemieux, daughter of NHL Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux; Kristyn Capizzano, captain of Canada’s Under-18 gold medal-winning team at the 2013 IIHF Women’s World Championships; and Haley McLean, scorer of the game-winning goal against Western Uni- versity in the Eagles’ preseason game.
At the other end of the ice, defensive rock and senior goaltender Corinne Boyles said she feels confident about the squad.
“I think the team looks great,” Boyles said. “Everybody is still getting to know each other, but I think the lines are starting to flow and you see passes and connections being made that are great.
“I think our strength is our speed this year,” she said, echoing Field’s sentiments. “They’re kind of cracking down on the rules as far as how the game is played and there is not going to be as much clutch and grab, so our speed will certainly help us draw penalties and big opportunities from that. And being fast is always an advantage.”
This past season, Boyles led the Hockey East with a 1.83 goals-against average (GAA) and a .927 save percentage. Her .804 win percentage was the fourth highest in the nation.
With some young defenders in the mix, a goal- tender as experienced and talented as Boyles will be paramount for the Eagles.
“I think now the big difference is I’ve stopped worrying about the little stuff,” Boyles said. “Fresh- man year, everything was a concern, you wanted to make everyone happy and just do everything right... But at this point it’s like a level of comfort where I know what I have to do, and that allows me to be that much more confident, and I certainly feel like my teammates have my back, which is huge.”
One of the players watching her back—and anchoring the blue line in front of her—is senior defenseman Meagan Mangene.
“Practices have been good with the defense, [assistant coach Courtney Kennedy] has been working us hard, and it’s just getting to know, especially with the freshmen, getting to know our style of play in the defensive zone,” Mangene said.
The Eagles play a difficult-to-master, man- on-man defensive scheme, but Mangene said its upside is worth the learning curve.
“It’s a pretty hard style, but once you get it down it works,” she said.