WOMEN'S HOCKEY: Top-10 Matchup Opens Season For BC
Eagles Return Plenty Of Talent For 2012-2013
Published: Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
Hockey fans all over the country are not having the best month. The NHL lockout is in full swing, and there doesn’t seem to be hope for the return of regular season games anytime soon. But on the Heights, it’s a different story, as not one, but two, high-caliber hockey teams are preparing for their return to ice. The No. 4 Boston College women’s hockey team takes on the No. 6 Boston University Terriers on Friday at Conte Forum in a game that will surely set the tone for the rest of the season.
The Eagles had an impressive season last year, with an overall record of 24-10-3, as their Hockey East record of 15-4-2 was good for second place in the conference. BC finished the year as the No. 4 seed in the NCAA tournament, but came up short in the Frozen Four against Wisconsin.
As great as the stats are, what’s even more telling of this upcoming season is the returning players. The Eagles retained 19 players from last season, losing eight to graduation, and adding six freshmen. Last year’s breakout stars Alex Carpenter and Emily Field are returning as sophomores, and senior goaltender Corrine Boyles returns as well.
Head coach Katie King Crowley believes that the example of the older players will have a pronounced impact on the season.
“Hopefully it gives [the freshmen] something to shoot for—our kids, from senior to freshman, are so competitive right now, and they want to see this program get to that next level,” Crowley said. “They’ll strive to have great seasons.”
BC also has the momentum of high rankings that have been made public in the last few weeks. In the U.S. College Hockey Online (USCHO) women’s hockey poll, the Eagles are ranked No. 4, which is their highest preseason ranking in the history of the team. In the Hockey East, BC was ranked the No. 1 team to beat.
However, the team realizes the numbers are not a determining factor in its success.
“I think our league is great—it’s an honor to be voted as number one in the league, but you have to perform on the ice, and I don’t think our kids see it as pressure. I think they get excited about all those numbers and whatnot,” Crowley said. “But right now, they honestly don’t mean anything until the end of the year.”
The Terriers have retained a majority of their team as well, including Hockey East Rookie of the Year, Marie-Philip Poulin. Poulin, a 2010 Olympic gold medalist, was named captain of BU alongside teammate Jill Cardella. The Eagles will have to play some of their best hockey in order to keep Poulin, nicknamed “the female Sidney Crosby,” from having a devastating impact on the scoreboard.
The Terriers already have an exhibition game under their belt, as they played McGill University this past Sunday. BU won 4-1, with the scoring spread out among four different players. Two of the goals came from freshmen Jordan Juron and Rebecca Russo, and they were matched by Cardella and sophomore Kayla Tutino.
The goalies, Kerrin Sperry and Alissa Fromkin, made an impressive 15 and four saves, respectively. This exhibition game might prove to be an advantage to the Terriers, as they have had valuable game-speed practice that the Eagles have not had yet this season.
Going up against their rivals will prove to be both exciting and challenging for BC, providing an opportunity for the Eagles to test their skills at one of the highest levels of competition they will face this season. Yet Crowley was quick to point out that the rest of the season won’t be a two-team competition.
“BU is going to be great. They’re going to be a very good team, and this Friday will be a very good challenge for us right off the bat,” Crowley said. “Northeastern is going to be a great team. With Providence, there are always those scrappy players who find a way to make you work extra hard for a win, and the same with Maine. You can go down the line [of teams], and you can’t walk into any building without playing your top game. The kids realize that now after a couple of years.”
For the rest of the season, the team doesn’t plan on setting small goals. Instead, they’re looking toward the big prize: a national championship.
“Last year, we went to the Frozen Four and it was tremendous, but we want more, and we have those 19 kids to teach the freshmen, ‘Hey lets make that next step to get into the final game and winning a national championship,’” Crowley said.
Even outside of the national title, the Eagles will have an opportunity for championship success in the Beanpot, the Nutmeg Classic, and the Hockey East Championship. One thing’s for sure: this women’s team wouldn’t mind having some hardware of their own to go next to the men’s in the trophy cases.