Todd Huxley Smith
Boston College Women's Hockey season drops the puck on their 2012-2013 campaign tonight against BU. We take a look at the upcoming season.
Another year, another loss to Wisconsin. That's how our season ended for the second year in a row in 2012 after a national semifinal defeat at the hands of the Badgers.
Despite back-to-back Frozen Four appearances for the first time in program history, Boston College head coach Katie King Crowley says that this year's team is hungry for more. And after several years of having "very good" talent and far too many instances of "almost, but not quite," the Eagles enter the season with the most talented team, top to bottom, that they've ever had.
Ranked in the top three for the first time -- and above those pesky Badgers for the first time in recent memory -- BC is poised to make a run deep into the tournament and has its most realistic shot at a national championship ever.
Let's break down the season, shall we?
The season kicks off with no mercy right off the bat. Few teams can claim as tough a first month of games. Five of the first seven games are against teams in the top eight, including three against the rival terriers and two against Minnesota-Duluth from out west. Even the two games sandwiched in against UNH are no gimme. Despite their recent fall off the map the last two seasons, the Wildcats for years were the class of the east.
An exhibition game against the Boston Blades of the Canadian Women's Hockey League -- Boston's professional women's hockey team -- offers no relief whatsoever. Chock full of women's hockey legends include two of the Heights' own in Kelli Stack and Molly Schaus, the exhibition will feature a hell of a challenge.
The start will be absolutely critical for the Eagles' pairwise ranking. With just two games against the west, a winning weekend will be critical to earning some comparison against the western teams. And after the initial gauntlet, the Eagles play ten consecutive against unranked teams -- which won't do much to raise your standing if you win and will be killer if you lose.
The season features not one but two mid-season tournaments. One being, of course, the Beanpot, and another as the invited team in UConn's Nutmeg Classic, pitting an out-of-state opponent against the three major women's hockey teams in Connecticut: UConn, Yale, and Quinnipiac.
Boston College features an incredibly deep roster topped off by the electric trio of Emily Field, Alex Carpenter, and Ashley Motherwell on the first line. The top 5 D all return with 16, 17, 18, 18, and 22 points scored last season. Even at goaltender, redshirt junior Corinne Boyles and redshirt freshman Megan Miller have been pushing each other in practice, and even Coach Crowley doesn't yet know who will be the primary backstop.
There is depth all over the place returning, along with one of the best recruiting classes in the entire nation. Combined with top teams such as Wisconsin losing tons of talent, the pieces all seem to be there to see the Eagles make a serious run for a national title.
Game one is tonight at Conte Forum at 7pm against the Boston University Terriers.
The season ends in Minneapolis. This time, with a win.