2015-16 Team-by-Team Previews: Boston University Terriers

2015-16 Roster | 2015-16 Schedule

Head Coach: Brian Durocher (11th Season)
2015-16 Captains: Kayla Tutino (C), Sarah Lefort (A), Dakota Woodworth (A)

2014-15 Season Recap

Record: 25-9-3 (15-5-1 WHEA/2nd place)
Hockey East Postseason: Conference champions; advanced to semifinals with quarterfinal series win vs. Vermont, defeated Northeastern in the semifinal game, defeated Boston College in the championship game
NCAA Tournament: Eliminated by Wisconsin in the NCAA quarterfinals

It was expected to be a big year for Boston University, as Canadian Olympic legend Marie-Philip Poulin made her return to the line-up for her final season. They started off with a win on the road against St. Cloud State, and then fell to Minnesota in a rematch of the 2013 national championship game. The Terriers bounced back with a big road sweep over Clarkson, the defending national champions, before settling for a split with Maine. Over their next six games, BU won one and lost one against Northeastern, tied with Yale, defeated New Hampshire, and swept UConn in a home-and-home.

BU then played to a 1-1 tie with Harvard in non-conference action before jumping on a four-game win streak. In their first game back after the new year, the team lost games to Boston College and Cornell over a three-game stretch that also saw them defeat Maine. Wins against Northeastern and Quinnipiac followed suit before Vermont upset the Terriers in a 2-0 shutout victory. Boston University rebounded from that with a big 9-2 win the next day.

In the Beanpot semifinals, the Terriers were routed by Harvard, falling to the Crimson in very disappointing fashion, 9-2. They won their consolation game against Northeastern the following week, and headed into their final weekend of the regular season on a four-game winning streak. On that last weekend, BU took on the Eagles and fell 5-0 before tying them, 2-2.

The Terriers started off the Hockey East tournament with two big wins over Vermont in the quarterfinal round, dominating the Catamounts by scores of 8-1 and 7-2. Against Northeastern in the semifinals, Boston University beat the Huskies for the fourth time on the season to advance to the title game against BC. In that championship match-up, the Terriers handed Boston College just its second loss all year to take home its fourth Hockey East title in a row. They headed into the NCAA Tournament on a high after that, but Wisconsin silenced their hopes in the quarterfinals, skating away with a 5-1 win.

Poulin was named a Top-3 Finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, as well as a First Team All-American, a unanimous Hockey East First Team All-Star, Hockey East’s Best Defensive Forward, and the Hockey East Tournament MVP. Poulin and teammates Shannon Doyle and Sarah Lefort were all named New England Division I All-Stars, and freshman Victoria Bach was named the Hockey East Rookie of the Year. Doyle, Lefort, and Kayla Tutino all were honored as Hockey East Second Team All-Stars, and Rebecca Leslie was named to the Hockey East All-Rookie Team along with Bach.

Meet the Newcomers

D Connor Galway, Toronto Jr. Aeros

Galway captained the Aeros in her second year with the team in 2014-15, and helped them to a runner-up finish in the PWHL in 2013-14. This past season, she scored two goals, eight assists, and 10 points, as the Jr. Aeros reached the PWHL’s Final Four.

F Mary Grace Kelley, Assabet Valley, Dexter Southfield

Kelley helped the Assabet Valley U19 squad to a state championship in 2014-15, and was named recipient of the 2015 Massachusetts Hockey Sportsmanship Award. At Dexter Southfield, she was a captain last season and led the club to the NEPSAC title game, while garnering New England All-Scholastic and Division II First Team All-Star honors.

F Sammy Davis, U.S. Under-18 Team, Tabor Academy

With the U.S. U18s, Davis won gold at the 2015 IIHF Under-18 World Championships, scoring two goals and three points in the tournament while serving as an alternate captain. At Tabor Academy (Mass.), she was a NEPSGIHA First Team All-Star last season, and won the Boston Bruins’ John Carleton Award for exceptional hockey skills and academic excellence as a prep.

For more details on BU’s incoming class, read the GoTerriers.com release here.

2015-16 Season Preview

Key Departures: F Marie-Philip Poulin, D Shannon Doyle, D Shannon Stoneburgh
Key Returners: F Sarah Lefort, F Kayla Tutino, F Victoria Bach, F Rebecca Leslie, D Lillian Ribeirinha-Braga, D Sarah Steele, G Erin O’Neil, G Victoria Hanson
Key Additions: F Sammy Davis, D Alexis Crossley, D Connor Galway

The Terriers established themselves as a strong squad nationally in 2014-15, though I think they spent a good chunk of the season feeling some things out, especially in goal. They did not put together a winning streak longer than four games, but by the time the postseason rolled around, they had it figured out and came together once again to win yet another Hockey East Tournament championship. BU returns most of its roster from last season, but the losses that they are suffering are significant, and how they work around that this season will be telling.

What really carried the team last year was a very strong offense. The Terriers were third in the country in goals per game with 3.81, and they had Patty Kazmaier Top-3 Finalist Marie-Philip Poulin leading the way. The loss of Poulin to graduation is an enormous one; she was a leader in all areas and was counted on to lead the offensive effort. But Boston University still has a good crop of forwards returning, including 50-point player Sarah Lefort, and fellow senior Kayla Tutino. Sophomores Victoria Bach and Rebecca Leslie both had great rookie seasons, finishing third and fourth on the team in scoring, and they’ll be counted on to help make up for the holes left by Poulin. Juniors Maddie Elia and Samantha Sutherland should also be involved in some way, and senior Rebecca Russo is a dependable player who can also chip in 20 points. Rookie Sammy Davis won a gold medal with the U.S. U18s in January and will get a regular shift right away.

BU is taking another big hit on the blue line with the graduation of Shannon Doyle. Over her two seasons with the Terriers, she really became the anchor of that defensive corps, setting the tone both ways and having a major impact while doing so. I don’t think they have another two-way option readily available to fully replace her; instead, Boston University will be hoping to see their defensive group collectively make up for that loss, along with the loss of another top-four D in Shannon Stoneburgh. Junior Sarah Steele has shown flashes of offensive ability during her first two seasons, and she along with Lillian Ribeirinha-Braga have both proven they can carry the weight defensively. Alexis Crossley will also be in the line-up last year after transferring in from New Hampshire, and she’ll see some big minutes for the team while helping to drive the offense from the back end. Rookie Connor Galway should also get a good look, so we’ll just how big of a role she can play right away.

Goaltending was not a particular strong suit for the Terriers last season, as they bounced back and forth between Victoria Hanson and rookie Erin O’Neil for a decent portion of the year. They were still splitting games throughout the month of February, but the team decided to stick with Hanson for the duration of the Hockey East Tournament, which obviously paid off. Though she ended the season as BU’s go-to in net, I fully expect O’Neil to challenge once again for the starting job, especially since O’Neil has the higher ceiling of the two. With a year’s experience now under her belt, we could see the sophomore netminder settle down and be a consistently reliable option. It could be the veteran Hanson who does just that, but either way, I think the Terriers will be hoping for a more competitive battle between the two, so that the goaltending situation improves over what they were dealing with last year.

Though Boston University retains most of its core from last year, they are losing their most important pieces at both skater positions with no real way to fully replace what they were getting out of those two players. There were also pretty noticeable aches between the pipes last season, and that has to be cleaned up this year if the Terriers want to contend nationally. There’s little doubt that they’ll once again be one of the top teams in Hockey East, and their firepower up front lends them quite a bit of upside. But they need to show that their defense is strong enough to handle the top offenses they’ll face off against if they want to really be in the running for postseason hardware, and right now that’s a largely unanswered question.

Schedule Highlights

Oct. 2 vs. UConn
Oct. 9-10 vs. Penn State
Oct. 16-17 vs. Clarkson
Oct. 24 at Northeastern
Nov. 3 vs. Yale
Nov. 7 vs. Boston College
Nov. 10 at Boston College
Nov. 20 at Merrimack
Nov. 21 vs. Merrimack
Nov. 28 vs. Cornell (Windjammer Classic-Burlington, Vt.)
Nov. 29 vs. Ohio State (Windjammer Classic-Burlington, Vt.)
Jan. 9 vs. Boston College
Jan. 20 at Quinnipiac
Feb. 2 vs. Northeastern (Beanpot semifinal)
Feb. 9 vs. Boston College/Harvard (Beanpot title game OR consolation game)
Feb. 19 vs. Northeastern
Feb. 20 at Northeastern

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