Women's Hockey

Exhibition Excellence: Women’s Hockey Is Back

In an exhibition game against Queen’s University on Friday night at the Walter Brown Arena, the Boston College women’s hockey team exhibited traits that gave BC fans cause for boundless optimism in the coming year.

In the course of a 10-1 thrashing of the Golden Gaels, 13 different Eagles notched at least one point. Seven BC players scored, paced by newly minted freshman forward Tori Sullivan’s first hat trick in a BC sweater. Points-wise, however, it was as if Alex Carpenter had never left. Carpenter scored twice, including once shorthanded, and she had two assists. The dangerous hookup between Carpenter and junior Hayley Skarupa looked as if it hadn’t skipped a beat, with Skarupa tallying the first assist on both of Carpenter’s goals.

BC opened up a massive 6-0 lead in the first period, blowing the game wide by scoring twice in 51 seconds to double its lead from 2-0 to 4-0. After a scoreless second period, the Eagles potted the first three goals of the third period. Four minutes after Queen’s put home its only goal of the night, sophomore Andie Anastos put the cherry on top of the cake to reclaim BC’s nine-goal lead.

BC’s power play on the night went 1-2, with Danielle Doherty scoring just 17 seconds into the Eagles’ first opportunity with a man up. BC’s penalty kill went 2-2, and actually outscored Queen’s power play 1-0. The Eagles also outshot Queen’s by a hefty 45-14 margin, including a 22-3 breakdown in the first period.

The biggest question mark area for this BC team probably did not get a clear answer on Friday night. Katie Burt started in goal, with Gabriella Switaj and Taylor Blake each playing a period of their own. Blake gave up the Golden Gaels’ only goal, but it was Switaj who had the most to do, making seven saves in her 20 minutes between the pipes. Blake and Burt each made three saves apiece. It will be interesting to see how BC head coach Katie King-Crowley juggles her three goaltenders going forward. When Syracuse comes to town this coming Saturday, Oct. 4, don’t be surprised to see Crowley tally any of the three goalies as her starter for the season opener.

While there was a lot to like in BC’s one exhibition game this year, it’s important to bear in mind that it’s just an exhibition. BC dominated all aspects of play, and it can only get better as the team integrates its new freshmen into the lineup. Much tougher tests lie ahead for the Eagles, though, and it’s difficult to imagine that the Eagles will be satisfied with just another NCAA tournament appearance this year, which is no easy task in and of itself.

The offense showed signs of being perhaps the most potent it has ever been. It’s clear that her year with the United States Olympic Team has helped Carpenter improve, or at the very least maintain her skill level, which was already one of the best in the nation. For the first 50 minutes of the game, the back line of the Eagles stuffed the Golden Gaels and the goalies were rock solid in net.

Explosive offense? Check. Strong defense? Check. Good special teams? Check. The list goes on and on. As much as it’s important to remember that this was just an exhibition game, it’s easy to see that the Eagles exhibit a lot of the qualities that their male counterparts showed in the years they added another star to their jersey. This time next year, could the women be skating around their exhibition game with a star on the back of their jerseys?

Only time will tell.

Featured Image by Emily Fahey / Heights Editor

September 29, 2014

ONE COMMENT ON THIS POST To “Exhibition Excellence: Women’s Hockey Is Back”

  1. Great article, thanks. Last year the slightly disappointing 2-0 preseason exhibition win anticipated the slow start and occasionally headscratching results of October and November. Here’s hoping this year’s very different performance is also a sign of things to come.

    Can’t wait to see how the goalie situation shakes out. The good news is we have some games against not-very-dangerous offenses coming up at the start of the season, so we still have freedom to experiment.