January 31, 2014

U.S. women's Oympic team gives back to local communities

By Arielle Aronson

Team USA's Kacey Bellamy skates up the ice against Team Canada during a Sochi preparation game at the Air Canada Centre in December. (Getty Images)

The United States women’s national hockey team leaves for Sochi this weekend, but before jetting halfway across the world, the women gave back to the communities where their Olympic dreams began.

Each player on the women’s Olympic roster donated equipment to youth programs through the OneGoal Equipment Program, which aims to attract more families to the sport by offering free sticks, pads, gloves, helmets and bags to children between the ages of four and eight years old.

Five of the six New England players on the Olympic roster and one New England-born player that was cut in December (Kate Buesser, Wolfeboro, N.H.) donated a total of 72 sets of equipment to programs throughout the region, according to a USA Hockey press release. In total, the women donated 300 sets of equipment to 25 programs across the country.

“The Olympic dream began in many of these local hockey associations for our athletes and they never forget it,” said executive director of USA Hockey Dave Ogrean in the press release. “With the OneGoal program, they have an opportunity to help inspire a new generation of kids while also saluting the people who helped them chase their Olympic dream.”

Local hockey programs benefiting from the women’s team’s donations include the New England Junior Falcons girls team (from defenseman Kacey Bellamy, Westford, Mass.), Back Bay Indians (from Buesser), Wonderland Wizards (from forward Julie Chu, Fairfield, Conn.), Danvers Youth Hockey (from forward Meghan Duggan, Danvers, Mass.), Taunton Brewins (from defenseman Michelle Picard, Taunton, Mass.) and East Coast Jumbos (from goaltender Molly Schaus, Natick, Mass.).

Alex Carpenter, a forward from North Reading, Mass., donated her share of equipment sets to the New Jersey Colonials program, which Carpenter joined as a seven-year-old in 2001 while her father, former NHLer Bobby Carpenter, served as an assistant coach for the New Jersey Devils.

The women’s team leaves for Sochi hoping to bring the gold medal back to the USA for the first time since 1998. Their first game will be against Finland on Saturday, Feb. 8 at 3 a.m. EST.

Player of the Week

Brittany Esposito, Northeastern

The senior forward recorded was instrumental in the Huskies’ sweep of Maine last weekend. In Friday’s win, she recorded an assist that tied the game at 2-2 in the third period, then scored on the power play with 5:29 left in regulation to tie the game at 3-3. Esposito recorded an assist on the game-winner in overtime and added three more points (two goals, one assist) in Saturday’s win to cap off a six-point weekend.

Game of the Week

Boston University vs. Boston College, Round 1 of the Beanpot, Tuesday at 8 p.m.

The evening game of the first round of the Beanpot will be a rivalry game, and although the Terriers have been struggling recently, anything can happen in a BU/BC game.

Power Rankings

  1. Harvard (Overall: 16-2-2, ECAC: 12-2-1) – The Crimson won their 600th game in program history last Friday when they topped Union, 2-0. The Crimson stand atop the ECAC standings with a three-point lead over Clarkson, but their conference crown will be put to the test this weekends with games against league foes Princeton and Quinnipiac.

  2. Boston College (Overall: 18-4-3, Hockey East: 13-1-1) – The Eagles are in great shape for the postseason as they have a nine-point cushion in the standings with just eight games left in the regular season.

  3. Quinnipiac (Overall: 16-4-6, ECAC: 7-3-4) – The Bobcats haven’t played since Jan. 18, but they can’t afford to show any rust as they take on conference foes Dartmouth and Harvard this weekend. 

  4. Northeastern (Overall: 11-12-2, Hockey East: 7-6-2) – Winners of four straight, the Huskies enter the final month of the season only two points out of second place in the league.

  5. Boston University (Overall: 16-8-1, Hockey East: 9-5-0) – The past month has seen the Terriers struggle mightily, dropping five of seven games in January with all five losses coming against conference teams. BU will look to improve on defense, as its has allowed at least four goals in each loss this month. 

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