Sports, Winter, Hockey, Women's Hockey

“Ready to Go”: 2023–24 Boston College Women’s Hockey Preview

It’s out with the old and in with the new for Boston College women’s hockey this season. While BC’s roster may look different—and younger—than last year, according to BC head coach Katie Crowley, two things have stayed the same for the Eagles: they have energy and they’re ready to go.

“It’s definitely a different look from last year to this year with our team, but I think our team has come together right now and they’re really excited for the season,” Crowley said. “They all came back ready to go.” 

BC went 20–15–1 overall in the 202223 season but fell short of a chance to win the Hockey East Championship title, losing to Northeastern in the semifinal round. The late departures of key players Cayla Barnes, Hannah Bilka, and Alexie Guay added to the challenge heading into the offseason, Crowley said. 

“Obviously, they’re great players and they played a lot of minutes for us,” Crowley said. 

The program wasted no time bouncing back. With plenty of new faces, two new captains, and a few starting spots open, the Eagles return for this season eager to hit the ice, according to Crowley.  

“Everyone has really stepped up, upped their game, and they’re really excited to be around each other,” Crowley said. “I think that’s been one of the things I noticed the most. They’re a team that wants to be around each other, and I think that goes a long way for us.”

New Faces

Crowley returns to the bench for the 202324 season, not only for her 17th year at the helm, but also as a newly minted USA Hockey Hall of Famer. One of the fresh faces on BC’s roster will stand right next to her—and she’s not unfamiliar to Crowley. This past June, Kate Leary, BC ’15, was named assistant coach. 

“It’s great to have another alum behind the bench,” Crowley said.

Leary skated for four seasons on the Heights, played on four NCAA Tournament teams, and won two Hockey East regular season titles while bringing home the Women’s Beanpot trophy in 2014. After skating professionally and coaching at Hockey East rival Merrimack for the past two seasons, Leary is bringing her knowledge back to her alma mater. 

“She’s been very vocal, especially with the forwards, teaching them new things and showing them new things,” Crowley said. “She was such a great player when she was with us and she’s able to share a lot of her knowledge. … I think she’s done such a great job with that even just at the beginning of the season.”

That’s just the start of the list of new names on this year’s roster. BC recruited four players this season: two undergraduate recruits and two fifth-year transfers. 

Jade Arnone is a sophomore defenseman hailing across the Charles River from Harvard. She tallied three goals and five assists, finishing second for the Crimson with eight points, in 2022. Arnone is joined on the defensive line by Annaka Mettler, a junior from Colgate and a two-time ECAC Hockey All-Academic Team member. 

“They’ve been great so far,” Crowley said. “Most of them knew at least one or two players coming in, so that was probably helpful for them.” 

Mettler didn’t come to the Heights by herself. She was accompanied by graduate transfer Sammy Smigliani—a forward who tallied 79 points on 33 goals and 46 assists in 121 career games at Colgate. BC acquired another graduate forward, Morgan Trimper, who is a four-time Hockey East All-Academic Team honoree who closed out her senior year as captain for Maine. Despite their varying ages and levels, Crowley affirmed these recruits have fit like a glove into the existing energy on the team. 

“Obviously, they’re coming in at different class years, but [the team] really welcomed them and I think they all have really found a niche on the ice and off the ice,” Crowley said. “It’s been fun to see them really start to mold with our team and help make our team better.” 

Rookie Showcase

In what feels like a younger roster this year, six freshmen have landed on the Heights for the 202324 season. But they have all been playing like seasoned athletes, according to Crowley. 

“This freshman class—they’re pretty dynamic,” Crowley said. 

Of the incoming class, three are forwards. Julia Pellerin was a two-time captain at the New Hampton School, graduating with the second-most goals in program history. Joining her is teammate Jansen Lucas, who tallied 76 points in her 76 games at New Hampton. 

Sammy Taber brings to BC international ice experience after winning the bronze medal at the 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championships in Sweden with the U18 Women’s National team. 

“It’s like finding the right mix of players that is gonna help them stay confident, and I think that’s been our goal in the preseason, and I think it’s been paying off,” Crowley said. “They all can score, they all can produce goals, [and] they all can make plays.” 

Taber arrived at BC with teammate Molly Jordan, who is a defenseman with a few medals in her drawer as well. As alternate captain, Jordan won the bronze medal alongside Taber and was named to the tournament’s All-Star team. The year prior, she was a member of the silver medal–winning U.S. team. 

“[Taber and Jordan] both have experience internationally and they have used that to help maintain their confidence and keep them up beat in here,” Crowley said. 

Bailey Callaway and Bella Pomarico are two rookie goaltenders with a big task ahead of them replacing Abigail Levy. Both goalies have been giving returning sophomore Grace Campbell a run for her money in the crease, Crowley said. 

“To have some goalies with some young energy, that’s great,” Crowley said.

After netminder Levy graduated in the spring, a starting position opened up. While Campbell opened the ice in goal in the squad’s 7–0 exhibition win against Stonehill last weekend, Crowley noted she has not yet decided who will start for Friday’s matchup against Clarkson.

“Bailey Callaway and Grace are very similar in stature and how they play the game,” Crowley said. “Those two have really been battling it out.” 

Stepping Up

Of the returning Eagles, junior Abby Newhook and senior Gaby Roy have been named captains for the 2023–24 season. 

Newhook, a rookie sensation two seasons ago, was named a Hockey East Third Team All-Star last season, playing in all 36 games and finishing second on the team with a career-high 33 points with 19 goals. Roy tied third on the team, scoring 19 points with a career-high nine goals and 10 assists. Off the ice, the two forwards are prominent leaders on the team, Crowley explained.

“They were obviously players that stepped up in the spring once the seniors and fifth-years were not working out with us anymore after the season was over,” Crowley said. “They both do things the right way and I think that’s what stands out to us, but it also stood out to their teammates.”

Same Energy 

According to Crowley, despite the changes this offseason brought, what remains the same is the passion, buzz, and energy that the Eagles are known for—that and their drive to win. 

“I’m so impressed with how everyone came back ready to go, whether passing the fitness testing or just doing better in the weight room,” Crowley said. “They all really came back with a purpose and a vibe that they don’t want to let this season go without making a push for a championship.”

The Eagles look ahead to a busy few weeks, including travel to Clarkson and Wisconsin for two weekends of non-conference play before their home opener against Connecticut in Conte Forum on Oct. 13. While Eagles’ supporters may not immediately recognize some faces, they’ll likely feel the same familiar energy characteristic of BC women’s hockey.

September 28, 2023