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WOMEN’S COLLEGE HOCKEY PREVIEW

Hockey East women’s teams at a glance

The Boston Globe previews the teams in Hockey East as the puck drops on the 2011-12 season:

Boston College - The reigning conference tournament champs graduated Kazmaier Award finalist Kelli Stack (34-22-56) and goaltender Molly Schaus. The impact of the losses is lessened by a talented seven-member freshman class, including Alex Carpenter, daughter of former St. John’s Prep’s and NHL star Bobby Carpenter.

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Boston University - The Terriers won the regular-season crown in 2010-11 and advanced to the NCAA championship game. An abdominal injury could keep Marie-Philip Poulin out until Christmas, which poses an early challenge for the league favorites.

Connecticut - Northeastern knocked off UConn, 4-0, in the Hockey East quarterfinals last spring. The Huskies will be light on seasoned veterans, calling on freshmen and sophomores to follow the lead of a small group of strong upperclassmen.

Maine - The Black Bears bowed to Providence in the Hockey East quarterfinals. Coach Maria Lewis expects this year’s team to have a more balanced offensive attack.

New Hampshire - The youth movement continues for the Wildcats. UNH is playing three freshmen on the blue line, and only three seniors saw ice time last weekend in the opening games.

Northeastern - The Huskies shocked the conference by making it to the Hockey East tournament finals as the fifth seed. Fourth-year coach Dave Flint thinks this year’s team is his most talented on paper.

Providence - Everything starts in net with senior Genevieve Lacasse. Bob Deraney - who won his second straight conference Coach of the Year award last season - referred to Lacasse as “the best puck-moving goaltender in the world.’’

Vermont - Catamounts coach Tim Bothwell is touting his freshmen as “far and away’’ his most talented class yet. That’s good news for a program that hasn’t had a winning season since 2000-01.

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