October 25, 2011

Women's Journal: BC looks to have another winning mix

Boston College has several key veterans back from last year's team that celebrated a Hockey East championship. (photo: BC Athletics)

Heading into the season, the Boston College women’s hockey team faced major challenges on three fronts:

1. Replace the production generated by Kelli Stack, a U.S. Olympic team player who led Hockey East with 36 goals and 58 points on her way to earning Player of the Year honors;

2. Replace standout goalie Molly Schaus, another U.S. Olympian, who led the league in save percentage (.942) and helped her team reach the Frozen Four; and

3. Keep pace with a talented Boston University team that, by comparison, lost very little from its Frozen Four team of a year ago.

One month in, the Eagles (4-1-1) are looking good in all three areas.

BC coach Katie King Crowley, while acknowledging the losses, felt this team could be a good one, with a nice mix of returning veterans who’ve logged a lot of minutes and some talented freshman newcomers who’ve paid early dividends.

“Obviously, we lost two great players in Kelli Stack and Molly Schaus, but we’re really excited to see what this season has (in store),” she said.

In two wins over the weekend, against Quinnipiac (5-0) and No. 10 Dartmouth (4-3), fourth-ranked BC got goals from seven different players – two apiece from freshman forwards Emily Field (Littleton, Mass.) and Alex Carpenter (Reading, Mass.). Andrea Green, Ashley Motherwell, Caitlin Walsh (Franklin, Mass.), Danielle Welch and Taylor Wasylk also found the net.

Carpenter (5-4-9) leads the team in scoring and Field (3-4-7) is second, tied with junior defenseman Blake Bolden.

“We have a great core group of players coming back,” said King Crowley before the season. “With the addition of seven new players, I just really like our team.”

Seven games in, it’s tough not to like what BC’s done. The first game against prohibitive league favorite BU is at Conte Forum on Nov. 2, and we’ll know a lot more after that.

Game of the Week

Boston University at Wisconsin, Friday and Saturday

Strap yourselves in. The two teams that met in last year’s national championship game in Erie, Pa., get together for anticipated pair of games in Madison, Wis.

Fifth-ranked BU (5-1-1) is coming off a weekend in the North Country where it was tested twice, tying Clarkson, 2-2, and beating St. Lawrence, 3-2. Goalie Kerrin Sperry (North Reading Mass.) stopped 58 of 62 shots.

Wisconsin is ranked No. 1 in the nation and solidified that position by sweeping Minnesota-Duluth on the road last weekend.

Around New England

Brown got goals from six different players, including a hat trick by senior captain Katelyn Landry (Belmont, Mass.), and Brown gave new coach Amy Bourbeau (Coventry, R.I.) a win in her debut, 10-0 over Sacred Heart. The goals were the most scored by a Brown team since 2003. … Freshman forward Beth Hanrahan helped Providence (1-5-2) avoid a winless start by scoring twice, including the game-winner with 29 seconds left, in a 4-3 win at Vermont Saturday that salvaged a weekend split. Corinne Buie had three assists in the game. … Another freshman, Northeastern forward Lucie Povova, had two goals and two assists and the Huskies blanked Yale, 7-0, spoiling the season opener for the Bulldogs. … UConn defenseman Sami Evelyn record her 50th career point, assisting on a goal as the Huskies split a home series against Maine. … New Hampshire is idle until Nov. 3 and, until then, will focus on snapped a winless streak that’s reached five games (0-3-2).

Mike Zhe can be reached at mzhe@hockeyjournal.com.