October 5, 2012

Women's Hockey East 2012-13 season preview

By Kat Hasenauer Cornetta

New England Hockey Journal takes a look at who's gone, who's back and what lies ahead for each of the eight women's teams in Hockey East.

BOSTON COLLEGE EAGLES

Last season: 24-10-2 (15-4-2 Hockey East, second), lost to Wisconsin in NCAA semifinals

Who’s gone: Mary Restuccia, F; Danielle Welch, F

Who’s back: Blake Bolden, sr., D; Corrine Boyles, sr., G; Dru Burns, sr., D; Alex Carpenter (Reading, Mass.), so., F; Ashley Motherwell, sr., F; Meagan Mangene, jr., D

Outlook: The Eagles return the league’s strongest defense, with Bolden and Burns returning for their senior seasons. Not only are they steady on the blue line, but they also finished second last season in scoring defense. Mangene is listed on the roster as a defenseman but can be used as a utility player; she spent time last season at center. The Eagles return their top three scorers, led by league Rookie of the Year finalist Carpenter, who had 21 goals and 18 assists last season.

BOSTON UNIVERSITY TERRIERS

Last season: 23-14-1 (14-7-0, third, won tournament), lost to Cornell in NCAA quarterfinals

Who’s gone: Jenn Wakefield, F; Tara Watchorn, D; Carly Warren, D

Who’s back: Jill Cardella, sr., F; Isabel Menard, sr., F; Marie-Philip Poulin, jr. F; Kerrin Sperry (North Reading, Mass.), jr., G; Kayla Tutino, so., F

Outlook: The Terriers return a high percentage of a team that played in one of the best NCAA women’s hockey games ever, a triple-overtime thriller in the national quarterfinals against Cornell. Menard and Poulin bring another year of international level experience to the Terriers. Poulin lost a large percentage of last season due to injury and will be fully back on her feet this season. The defense may be a weak spot this season but is boosted by Colgate transfer Shannon Doyle. Sperry is still the starter in net but will be rotated a bit more.

CONNECTICUT HUSKIES

Last season: 4-23-7 (3-15-3 Hockey East, seventh)

Who’s gone: Alexandra Garcia, G; Maggie Smith, F; Jocelyn Slattery, F

Who’s back: Maude Blain, sr., D; Kelly Horan (Methuen, Mass.), sr., F; Emily Snodgrass, so., F

Outlook: The Huskies struggled last season, but coach Heather Linstad believes this season’s squad has a “renewed, fresh energy” that will help them improve. There are nine additions to this season’s team, including two transfers from the now-defunct Niagara program. One of those additions, Sarah Moses, will help lead a totally new goaltending unit. Moses played 19 games last season. Linstad also is excited about freshman goalie Elaine Chuli, who played with Canada’s U-18 team. Snodgrass will be a key offensive weapon, but expect fellow sophomore Sarah MacDonnell to chip in a lot more.

MAINE BLACK BEARS

Last season: 17-11-6 (11-8-2, tied for fourth)

Who’s gone: Myriam Croussette, F; Ashley Norum, D; Danielle Ward, F

Who’s back: Brittany Dougherty, sr., F; Brianne Kilgour, jr., F; Brittany Ott, sr., G

Outlook: Maine has 15 freshmen and sophomores on its team, which sets up the Black Bears for years to come. It also means that this season may be a tad rocky as they look to replace three of their top four scorers. The Black Bears’ top scorer last season, Dougherty (16 goals, 17 assists), returns for her senior season. Ott is not the shoe-in for the starting goalie job. “She’s going to continue to do well, but she’s got company now,” said coach Maria Lewis, last season’s league co-Coach of the Year. Look for senior Kylie Smith and newcomer Meghann Treacy to get time in net.

NEW HAMPSHIRE WILDCATS

Last season: 10-22-3 (4-15-2 Hockey East, sixth)

Who’s gone: Emma Clark, F; Lindsey Minton, G

Who’s back: Katie Brock (Marblehead, Mass.), sr., D; Kailey Chappell, sr., D; Kristine Horn, sr., D; Kristina Lavoie, sr., F; Arielle O’Neill, jr., F

Outlook: New Hampshire, which lost to Boston University in the league tournament quarterfinals, played with a short bench last season, but it reloads with 10 newcomers. Chappell, who returns for a second year as captain, leads an experienced defensive unit that includes linemate Kristine Horn. It isn’t a defense that spurs the offense, but it plays solid at the blue line. Four goalies will challenge for the starting job: freshmen Marie-Eve Jean and Vilma Vaatovaara and sophomores Moe Bradley (Swampscott, Mass.) and Jenn Gilligan.

NORTHEASTERN HUSKIES

Last season: 22-7-4 (15-3-3, first, lost in tournament semifinals to Providence)

Who’s gone: Florence Schelling, G

Who’s back: Kendall Coyne, so., F; Brittany Esposito, sr., F; Casey Pickett (Wilmington, Mass.), sr., F; Katie MacSorley, jr., F

Outlook: Northeastern coach Dave Flint’s long-term improvement plan reaped great rewards last season, as the Huskies earned the regular-season Hockey East title. The key cog in last season’s team, goalie Florence Schelling, has graduated, leaving a question mark in net. Can sophomore Chloe Desjardins successfully step in? Hockey East Rookie of the Year Kendall Coyne returns after a 45-point season (25 goals, 19 assists), as Northeastern returns its top seven scorers. The Huskies have high expectations for freshman forward Paige Savage, who has U.S. national team experience.

PROVIDENCE FRIARS

Last season: 17-17-4 (11-8-2 Hockey East, fourth, lost in tournament championship)

Who’s gone: Ashley Cotrell, F; Jennifer Friedman, D; Abby Gauthier, F; Genevieve Lacasse, G

Who’s back: Corinne Buie, jr., F; Rebecca Morse, jr., D; Jessica Vella, sr., F

Outlook: Providence shocked Northeastern in the league tournament and took Boston University to double overtime in the championship game. Coach Bob Deraney is focused on team defense this season, given the graduation of Lacasse. “Instead of one person blocking the puck for us, I think we are going to probably need six people,” he said. Look for Morse to be a defensive leader. Only center Vella (11 goals, 15 assists) returns from the Friars’ top line. Deraney expects his eight-women freshman class, which includes the U.S. U-18 team’s Molly Illikainen, to contribute immediately due to a small roster.

VERMONT CATAMOUNTS

Last season: 4-22-6 (3-16-2 Hockey East, eighth)

Who’s gone: Chelsea Rapin, F

Who’s back: Kellie Dineen, jr. F; Roxanne Douville, jr., G; Amanda Pelky (Montpelier, Vt.), so., D; Erin Wente, sr., F

Outlook: Jim Plumer — coming off a nine-year career leading two-time Division 3 national champion Amherst College — takes the helm of a program that has never finished better than seventh in Hockey East. Plumer says goaltending will be “one of our strengths” this season. Douville is a steady goaltender who had to put up with a limited defense last season. Two freshman defensemen, Dayna Colang and Linda Jenson, will be expected to jump in immediately due to the short bench and injury issues. The offense gets a boost from UNH transfer Sarah Campbell, who played all 32 games for the Wildcats two years ago.

This article originally appeared in the October 2012 issue of New England Hockey Journal.

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