Sports, Women's Hockey, Men's Hockey

Which BC Hockey Team Will Have The Better Season?

Carpenter’s Return Makes The Women A Safer Bet

Tommy Meloro | Heights Staff

The men’s hockey team will doubtless have an excellent season with an already assembled cast of college hockey stars. Returning goalkeeper Thatcher Demko sits behind a defense that includes captain Michael Matheson, junior Teddy Doherty, sophomores Steve Santini and Ian McCoshen, and incoming blue-chip freshman Noah Hanifin. But, if you were to ask whether the men’s or women’s hockey team will have a better season, for the first time in four years, the safer bet might be against men’s head coach Jerry York.

Led by head coach Katie King Crowley, the women perhaps have more firepower than ever before. In 2013-14, the women made it to the NCAA Tournament, losing in the quarterfinals to the eventual national champion, the Clarkson Golden Knights. They did so without their leading scorer from 2012-13, sophomore Alex Carpenter, who spent the entire year playing with the United States Olympic Team, which won a silver medal in Sochi. Her sophomore year, Carpenter scored 70 points in 37 games, averaging 1.89 points per game.

Getting Carpenter back will be a huge boost to a BC offense that, in truth, doesn’t really need one. Last year, the Eagles averaged 3.5 goals per game, and only lost two of their top 10 scorers. Taylor Wasylk and Melissa Bizzari were both emotional and physical leaders of BC last year, but Crowley is York-esque in her ability to attract and develop young star talent continuously.

Junior Haley Skarupa, who tallied 41 points in 33 games, leads the returning attack along with sophomore Andie Anastos. As a freshman, Anastos scored 14 goals and assisted on 21 others, totaling 35 points in 37 games. BC had eight players score at least 25 points, and it has only lost Wasylk out of those eight.

The incredible scoring depth that BC has can only be helped with the return of Carpenter, who had 38 assists in her last year at BC. BC also adds two freshman forwards in Tori Sullivan and Kenzie Kent. BC’s depth means that the two won’t be under much pressure to contribute immediately and can develop more slowly.

BC’s defense was another strong point for its team last year. The Eagles only allowed 1.7 goals per game, and the most goals they allowed in a game was six in a game they won 8-6 against the Providence College Friars. Even that game was an aberration for BC—other than that goal-fest, the most the Eagles allowed in a game was four. In total, the Eagles allowed two goals or fewer in 29 out of their 37 games last year. The defense does lose two senior leaders in Meagan Mangene and Jackie Young, but they are replaced by three freshmen, one of whom is Megan Keller, listed at a towering 5-foot-10.

The biggest loss for the Eagles comes at the goaltender position, where they lost Corinne Boyles, who started 33 of BC’s 37 games last year. The Eagles have junior goaltender Taylor Blake, who has been with BC for two years, but has only appeared in one game, playing a single period her freshman year in a 10-0 drubbing of Maine. Crowley has brought in two talented freshmen to backup Blake, Katie Burt and Gabriella Switaj.

The Eagles lost the heart and soul of their team in Boyles. That much is undeniable. They have gotten back a scorer that is a top player in the nation, though. The Eagles have loads of talent—eight current players are on the U.S. Women’s National Team evaluation camp roster.
Carpenter’s return to BC will help propel a good team to ever-greater heights. The men’s team will no doubt compete, as it does every year under York. But, money should be on the team led by Crowley and the returning forward capable of putting an already accomplished team on her back

With New Blood Coming In, York’s Squad Will Remain Competitive

Landon Komishane | For The Heights

After ending the past two seasons without a Frozen Four title, the men’s hockey team will be hungry this season, looking for its third national championship in six years. Boston College fell short in the Frozen Four semifinals last year, losing to eventual champion Union College. Like always, the Eagles will be back this year, competitive as ever, and they will have a better season than the women’s ice hockey team.

The first reason to expect better men’s hockey results is its consistency. Since head coach Jerry York took over the reins in 1994, the team has seen great success. In the last 17 years, the team has made the NCAA tournament 15 times, getting to 11 Frozen Fours, seven National Championship games, and four national titles. No matter what, the men’s hockey team is always in it.

This isn’t a knock on the women’s hockey team. It has been consistent as well, making it to the NCAA tournament for four straight years. Head coach Katie King Crowley’s team will also be reinforced with Alexandra Carpenter, who was playing for the U.S. Olympic team in Sochi last year. While BC made it to the Frozen Four in 2011 and 2013, it still has yet to finish its season with the big win. It may come soon, but that remains to be seen. What is well known is that the men’s team has been able to win it all, and it has done it recently.

The loss of Johnny Gaudreau to the NHL’s Calgary Flames will hurt the team, though. Last year, he won the Hobey Baker Award, which recognizes the best player in the NCAA. He had a monster season, posting incredible statistics. He scored 36 goals and recorded 44 assists for 80 points in 40 games, which is a two-point-per-game pace. It’s impossible to replace those statistics with just one player, but the team will have reinforcements that will allow it to remain competitive.

In the freshman class this year, BC got two forwards and one defenseman. The defenseman is Noah Hanifin, who was one of the biggest recruits in college hockey this year. Hanifin is a highly talented, offensive-minded defenseman. While he was playing for the U.S. National Development Team, he scored 45 points in 59 games—staggering stats for a defenseman. He is currently projected to be a top-five pick in next year’s NHL draft, so the Eagles are fortunate to have a player of his caliber.

The two forwards are both players who have already been drafted by NHL teams. One of them is Zachary Sanford, who previously played in the USHL, scoring 35 points in 52 games. He was drafted 61st overall by the Washington Capitals. The other freshman is Alex Tuch. He scored an incredible 64 points in 61 games for the U.S. Development Team. He was a first rounder in this year NHL draft, selected 18th overall by the Minnesota Wild.

Gaudreau wasn’t the only player the Eagles lost. The Eagles graduated four other key players—Kevin Hayes, Bill Arnold, Isaac MacLeod, and Patrick Brown. Even though they haven’t added as many players to replace them, they got three high quality freshmen who could make an instant impact. Like York has always done, he will get returning players to step up into bigger roles so that the Eagles can turn into a cohesive unit that has allowed them much success in recent years.

The loss of Gaudreau has raised some questions for this season. With some solid recruits this year and more coming in next year, though, York is lined up with more success for years to come.

It’s hard to replace someone who has as big of an impact as Gaudreau had, but a committee of players can fill that hole. It’s going to be consistency that determines BC’s success, and as past seasons have shown, the consistency is always a presence and has helped with its great finishes.

Also, the fact that the Frozen Four is in Boston this year could add some extra motivation for BC to win another national championship in front of its fans.

Featured Image by Graham Beck / Heights Senior Staff

September 18, 2014