Hockey season is already underway, with Merrimack having surprised Boston University, 2-1, last weekend. Most teams begin play Friday. Here’s a look at the Division 1 women’s teams in Boston.
Coach: Katie Crowley, 248-80-44, 11th year.
Last year: 28-6-5; 17-4-3 Hockey East.
Postseason: Won Hockey East; lost NCAA semifinal to Wisconsin.
Outlook: Cayla Barnes, captain of the gold-medal US Under-18 team and the only player to win three consecutive golds at the U18 World Championships, is likely to step right in to bolster the defense. And the Eagles will need her after losing blue liners Megan Keller and Kali Flanagan for the year to Olympic training. Senior Toni Ann Miano provides the experience on defense. Up front, where Andie Anastos and Kristyn Capizzano were lost, three freshmen have been added: Daryl Watts and Maegan Beres bring international U18 experience from Canada, while Willow Corson has played in the U18 Canadian national championships. Feisty forward Makenna Newkirk, the leading returning scorer (15-24—39), drives the offense, along with senior Kenzie Kent (9-17—26), and sophomores Caitrin Lonergan (15-18—33) and Delaney Belinskas (16-17—33). Goalie Katie Burt (1.537 GAA), already the Eagles’ career leader in wins, shutouts, save percentage, and goals-against average, enters her senior season tied for sixth in NCAA history in wins (91) and fifth in shutouts (31). Expect BC, ranked No. 4 in the initial USCHO.com poll, to remain the team to beat in Hockey East, as the Eagles aim for their fifth consecutive title.
Coach: Brian Durocher, 250-141-49, 12th year.
Last year: 19-12-6; 12-8-4 Hockey East.
Postseason: Lost to Northeastern in Hockey East semifinal.
Outlook: The Terriers lost forwards Mary Parker (24 goals) and Maddie Elia (12-24—36), but found four new forwards, three defensemen, and one goaltender. Two of the newcomers have Division 1 experience: transfers D/F Reagan Rust from RIT and D Abbey Stanley from the defunct North Dakota program. The freshmen are F/D Rachel Allen, F Jesse Compher, F Nara Elia, F Lauren Klein, G Corinne Schroeder, and F Kristina Schuler. Senior F Victoria Bach, who nabbed the Hockey East scoring title last season with 22 goals and 49 points and was 11th nationally in scoring, will be counted on to lead the attack. Bach has some experienced players on hand to chip in on offense, including seniors Rebecca Leslie (16-18—34) and Nina Rodgers (11-20—31). Sophomore D Abby Cook was an All-Rookie team choice last season, and led all Hockey East freshmen at plus-19. In net, BU has senior Erin O’Neil, 30-15-5 career, 4-3-2 last season.
Coach: Dave Flint, 156-103-28, ninth year.
Last year: 22-12-3; 14-8-2 Hockey East.
Postseason: Lost to BC in Hockey East final.
Outlook: NU opens its season with a pair of games against defending national champion Clarkson, so it must get ready in a hurry. The offense will be paced by last year’s leading scorer, Denisa Krizova (18-27—45, tied for 15th in the nation), and fourth-year forward McKenna Brand, who scored a team-high 23 goals and finished second on the team with 38 points. The Huskies added BC transfer F Tori Sullivan (55 points in two years) and should have more offensive depth. A top recruit is Brooke Hobson, a Canadian U18 defenseman who is a great skater and can move the puck. In goal, Brittany Bugalski (21-10-3, 1.98 GAA, .928 save percentage) returns for her third season as the starter.
Coach: Katey Stone, 451-208-46, 23rd year.
Last year: 5-19-5; 5-13-4 ECAC.
Outlook: The Crimson lost six seniors, including goalie Brianna Laing, Natasha Rachlin, Briana Mastel, Abbey Frazer, Molly Tissenbaum and second-leading scorer Sydney Daniels (11-5—16). Nine freshmen have been added to reinforce the Crimson, who struggled mightily last year just two years removed from their last trip to the Frozen Four. The newcomers include Becca Gilmore, a six-year varsity forward from Noble & Greenough and the top US forward at the U18 world championships. Among the returnees trying to rebuild the Crimson is last season’s top scorer, Lexie Laing (8-13—21). Beth Larcom and Emily Yue will compete with freshman Becky Dutton (Kent School) for time in net.