When Boston College needs a goal, it knows who to turn to.
In her sophomore season, Abby Newhook has become that go-to scorer who can make a difference for the Eagles. A prime example occurred last Friday, when she netted the overtime winner in a 2-1 victory over Holy Cross. Less than 24 hours later, she broke a scoreless tie in the second period of the rematch, leading to a 4-2 win.
Newhook has three game-winners this season, and is averaging a point per game. She has stepped up her game and it has helped BC (11-7-1).
“I think as a sophomore now, it’s time to take on a bigger role,” said Newhook. “It comes with being put in these situations where the pressure’s on to score goals. I accept that role and just like to do whatever I can to help my team win.”
Last year’s Hockey East Rookie of the Year, Newhook is not new to being a clutch player. She scored six game-winning goals in her first year, and led BC with 17 goals overall. She was third on the Eagles and second among all rookies in the nation in scoring with 32 points. Newhook said that despite her production, she was in learning mode last season.
“I was a freshman and I kind of was following the footsteps of Hannah Bilka, Kelly Browne, and bigger players like that on our team,” said Newhook. “I just was learning how to play that role.”
Over the summer, Newhook worked on being even more assertive and confident as a scorer.
“I think last year I always saw myself thinking pass first,” she said. “Having that pass-first mentality kept me away from keeping the puck in some situations. Over the summer, I’ve been working a lot on puck protection and knowing when to keep the puck, when to give the puck. I think I have more confidence with the puck and more patience.”
Newhook grew up in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and followed her brother Alex, a forward with the Colorado Avalanche, on to the ice.
“I was always at the rink with him, just running around the rink. Then my parents were like, ‘Why don’t you just get out there on the ice?’ So, I said, ‘Yeah, why not?’ ”
Moving to Massachusetts for her high school career, Newhook attended Tabor Academy and played club hockey with the Bay State Breakers. She was first-team All-NEPSAC during her junior year thanks to a 44-point season. Newhook has been on Hockey Canada’s radar since her high school days, having participated in several national camps. She hopes 2023 might be the year she can break through and get international experience.
“I want to crack the national team this summer for the U22 development team,” said Newhook. “My dream, of course, is to play on the Olympic team.”
If Newhook keeps saving the day for BC, her Canadian team bid may be hard to ignore. But her immediate goal is to keep the Eagles’ five-game winning streak going after the holiday break.
“I think we’re definitely headed in the right direction going into break,” said Newhook. “I think the second half of the season is looking good for us.”
The Swiss national team for next week’s Five Nations tournament in Ängelholm, Sweden, has serious Hockey East representation. Northeastern forward Alina Mueller, the conference’s Player of the Week, was a shoo-in for the team, as she has been since 2014. Joining her is another graduate student, Boston University goalie Andrea Brändli, who backstopped the Swiss at February’s Beijing Olympics. Rahel Enzler, a junior for surprising Maine, rounds out the Hockey East representation.
Mueller and Brändli are not the only players playing through holiday break. USA Hockey named its team for the December Rivalry Series. The roster includes the entire lineup that won the silver medal at August’s World Championship, including BC’s Bilka and Cayla Barnes. Northeastern’s Maureen Murphy played in the series’ November slate, but like other college players she was rotated out. When analyzing the roster selections, it appears that USA Hockey is being careful in its use of those in the midst of college seasons, which is smart given that last summer was full of international competition between the World Championship, U18 Championship, and Collegiate Series.
Harvard got a boost before its holiday break, earning a 2-1 victory over St. Lawrence last Sunday. It’s been a rough few weeks for the Crimson because of injuries, but they were buoyed over the weekend by Mia Biotti’s first goal of the season. The sophomore and Cambridge native was one of Harvard’s top scorers in her rookie season. Biotti getting back on the scoresheet is key to the Crimson’s success. Harvard (4-8-2) sits sixth in the competitive ECAC.
Kat Cornetta can be reached at email@example.com.