No matter how great a player you are, being a rookie on a college hockey team can be a tough adjustment. You are playing a higher level of hockey, and doing so in a brand-new environment. So not only does a rookie have to elevate her game, she has to do so while navigating those typical first-year challenges that athletes and non-athletes alike have.
The second half of the season tends to be when first-year players break out and show what their futures could be made of. Here are four local rookies to watch in the last two months of the regular season.
▪ Abby Newhook, D, Boston College — One of the best newcomers in the country, Newhook is a huge part of the Eagles defense this season. With seven goals and five assists, she is the team’s third-best scorer. In the fall, she had two-goal efforts twice, including one against New Hampshire in which her two goals powered a comeback victory.
The Eagles have been sidelined since the new year because of COVID protocols, but she could have a big second half.
▪ Skylar Irving, F, Northeastern — It could be difficult for a newcomer to break through one of the most talented offenses in all of college hockey, but Irving has done so. She is seventh on the Huskies in scoring, which is nothing to sneeze at when ahead of you are superstars like Alina Mueller, Skylar Fontaine, and Maureen Murphy.
The Kingston native’s contributions are increasing as the season progresses, including getting six shots off against Merrimack this past Friday.
▪ Taze Thompson, F, Harvard — Thompson was slated to play last year, but when the Ivy League canceled winter sports, the start of her college hockey career was delayed. She has made up for lost time, with four goals and five assists, including three goals and three assists in the last four games.
Thompson is from Alberta but has played locally for a few years, with New Hampton School and the Boston Junior Eagles club program.
▪ Christina Vote, F, Boston University — Vote has seen time on BU’s top line of late, and she is emerging as someone the Terriers will ask more of as the season continues. Some of the Dexter Southfield alum’s best work came in a 5-4 victory over BC, in which her goal broke a 3-3 stalemate in the third period.
Last week, BU celebrated its first-ever selection to the US Olympic team in Jesse Compher. On Tuesday, the Terriers saw 2015 alumna Marie-Philip Poulin make her fourth Canadian Olympic team. The two-time gold medalist continues to be one of the faces of the sport in Canada, and the Terriers continue to be proud of her.
“[Poulin’s] selection to her fourth Olympic team is a true testament to her ability, longevity and commitment to excellence,” said BU coach Brian Durocher in an email. “She has once again raised her game to a new level and I’m sure will be counted on as the Games begin in Beijing.”
Poulin is not the only local player to be named to the Canadian team. Former Harvard goaltender Emerance Maschmeyer made her first Olympic team. A five-time World Championship medalist, she was a controversial cut before the 2018 Games, but finally broke through after two shutouts in last year’s championships.
During her Crimson career from 2013-16, Maschmeyer was a three-time All-Ivy League selection.
Victoria Bach, a 2018 BU graduate who led the Terriers to their first Beanpot title that year, was one of the last cuts from the 23-player Canadian team.
The NCAA announced Monday that BC coach Katie King Crowley has earned the 2022 NCAA Silver Anniversary Award, becoming just the second women’s hockey coach so honored. (Harvard’s Katey Stone was the first.) The award is given to a former NCAA student-athlete upon the 25th anniversary of their graduation who has had just as successful a postgraduate career as they did in college.
At Brown, Crowley set records in hockey and softball. She is still the program’s all-time scoring leader, with 206 points and 123 goals. As a pitcher, she appeared in a school-record 120 games and had 54 wins.
After college, she won a full set of Olympic medals on the US team. As a coach, she has taken BC to 11 NCAA Tournaments and been ACHA Coach of the Year twice.
Mueller had quite the weekend as Northeastern swept Merrimack to move to 18-2-1. The senior had an impressive goal Friday, picking up an assist from goalie Aerin Frankel by taking the puck down the ice for a slap shot. She added a goal and two assists Saturday, which lifted her to 113 career assists in 113 career games … Clarkson’s Caitrin Lonergan, a Roslindale native, notched her 200th career point Saturday.