October 31, 2012

Women's Jounal: Freshmen shining bright in Hockey East

The freshmen have it.

This year’s crop of Hockey East freshmen are contributing to their teams immediately, making impact in ways that are completely changing what most fans and followers thought of teams’ fates in the preseason. This may be one of the strongest classes to ever hit the league.

Here is a look at three of Hockey East’s most impactful freshman thus far this season:

Sarah Lefort, Boston University

Lefort is making a habit of winning Hockey East’s Rookie of the Week award. She’s won it three out of four weeks so far this season, which is no surprise given her eight goals in eight games. The Quebec native has stepped into the first line alongside Jill Cardella and Marie-Philip Poulin and has found success connecting with both, though her teammates think she is a little humble about her success. “Sarah is more of a shooter,” said linemate Cardella. “I think she feels a little bad about scoring all the goals, but it’s okay.”

As the season goes on, teams like Maine and Cornell are beginning to find ways to defend her, but she has shown resiliency that leads most to believe she will be a factor all season.

Michaela Cava, UConn

The Thunder Bay, Ontario native is leading the way for a UConn team with high hopes. She leads the team in scoring with five goals and three assists, and her totals are good enough to place her in the top ten in the entire league. Cava makes things happen, showing a good amount of speed and fight for the puck.

It will be worth following how a pairing with fellow freshman Brittany Berisoff continues to grow – the two have combined for two goals in the last four games.

Sarah Bryant, Providence

In a league full of some outstanding goalies, Sarah Bryant is making herself known. Brought on to the Friars to tend goal after the graduation of the accomplished Genevieve Lacasse, Bryant has been stellar in the five games she has played for Providence. She has a 2.18 goals against average, good for third in the league, and a .902 save percentage.

It hasn't always been an easy road for the Bethlehem, Pa., native this season. She let up six goals in a disappointing 6-3 loss to always tough Mercyhurst, but she did make 33 saves against an offense averaging 4.7 goals per game. She hasn't let that loss discourage her, as she has had three starts since that Oct. 12 setback and has not lost a single one.

Player of the Week

Nicole Anderson (Jordan, Minn.), Providence College

Providence College has had a tough go of it early on this season, but Anderson is here to rev things up for the Friars. In last weekend’s series against St. Cloud State, she had a hat trick and a helper in Providence’s 4-2 win on Sunday. She had an assist in Saturday’s 2-2 tie. Through eight games, she has six goals and four assists, good for fourth overall in Hockey East.

Game of the Week

Boston University at Boston College, Wednesday evening and Saturday afternoon

Boston College played strong against the WCHA’s Minnesota-Duluth last weekend, splitting a weekend series. The Eagles will finish out their Hockey East season series against Boston University with a home-and-home over a four day period (a bit longer of a break as usual, but easy to arrange when you can literally take the trolley to your opponent.) The Terriers host a Halloween night matchup, and the Eagles host Saturday’s matinee.  The Terriers are still on a roll, having won their last three games after suffering a disappointing loss to Cornell at Agganis Arena.

Power Rankings

1. Boston University (7-1-0 overall, 3-0-0 Hockey East) – The Terriers saw a good goaltending weekend last weekend. Not only did starter Kerrin Sperry (North Reading, MA) earn her first shutout of the season against Robert Morris, Alissa Fromkin (Phillips Andover Acad.) returned to regular season action (she had played in an exhibition) after battling injury and earned the win over league opponent Maine.

2. Harvard (2-0-0 overall, 2-0-0 ECAC) – I promised myself I wouldn’t rank Harvard until they had played regular season games, but they make their first appearance on this season’s Power Rankings at the number two slot. They kicked off their season by shutting down the goal scoring machine that is Quinnipiac and then lit the lamp nine times against Princeton. They continue in ECAC play this weekend, playing fellow Ivies Brown and Yale.

3. Northeastern (5-1-1 overall, 1-1-0 Hockey East) – The Huskies are playing a bit with line combinations since their October 16th loss to BU. But whomever she is playing with, Kendall Coyne (Berkshire Acad.) keeps amassing most of Northeastern’s scoring. She finished their two game weekend against Robert Morris and Maine with four of the Huskies’ six goals.

4. Boston College (2-3-0 overall, 1-2-0 Hockey East) – Boston College has gotten back on track, splitting their weekend series with Minnesota-Duluth and finally finding a scoring touch. But they need to work on playing a complete game – they have allowed eight goals in the third period so far and have only scored six in the same frame, which are near the bottom of the league.

5. Providence College (4-3-1 overall, 2-0-0 Hockey East)  - The Friars still seem to be a bit of a wild card a quarter through the season, but they could just be harkening back to last year, where they only won one game through October but ended up in the Hockey East tournament championship come March. They travel up to Oreno this weekend to play a Maine team looking for its first Hockey East win.

Kat Hasenauer Cornetta can be reached at feedback@hockeyjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter at@sportsgirlkat.