2015-16 Team-by-Team Previews: Boston College Eagles

2015-16 Roster | 2015-16 Schedule

Head Coach: Katie King-Crowley (9th Season)
2015-16 Captains: Alex Carpenter (C), Dana Trivigno (A), Andie Anastos (A)

2014-15 Season Recap

Record: 34-3-2 (20-0-1 WHEA/1st place)
Hockey East Postseason: Conference runner-ups; swept Providence in the first round of the Hockey East playoffs to advance to the semifinals, defeated UConn in the semifinal match-up, lost to Boston University in the Hockey East Tournament championship game
NCAA Tournament: Advanced to Frozen Four with win vs. Clarkson, eliminated by Harvard in national semifinal

With the return of Alex Carpenter from a stint with the U.S. Olympic Team completing quite the all-star line-up, expectations were as high as ever for the Eagles last season. They responded by posting their best record in program history, notching 34 wins, and were largely the national favorite for much of the season. Their offense was on display right away in a big 10-2 win vs. Syracuse to start the season, and though they would tie with St. Lawrence in their next series, they then went on nothing short of a tear, putting together a 23-game win streak that wasn’t snapped until Feb. 10.

Boston College forward Haley Skarupa (BC Athletics Communications)

Boston College forward Haley Skarupa (BC Athletics Communications)

Over that stretch, BC handily took down its opponents; the team won by more than two goals in all but eight of those games. They defeated the likes of Cornell and Harvard, whom they routed, as well as Boston University and Quinnipiac, during that span. Unfortunately, their winning streak was snapped at one of the worst times, as they lost their first game of the season to Harvard in the Beanpot Tournament championship game.

The Eagles picked up right where they left off of after that, winning their next four contests by a combined score of 21-1. In their last game of the regular season, they had to settle for a 2-2 tie against the Terriers, who they faced again four games later in the Hockey East Tournament title game. Boston College’s hopes of a conference championship were dashed as BU skated away with the 4-1 victory. BC, though, was still very much in the running for a national title, and advanced to the Frozen Four after a 5-1 win over Clarkson in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals. They faced Harvard again in the national semifinals, and the dream season officially came to an end as they could not muster up enough offense against the Crimson and fell, 2-1.

Carpenter highlighted many good individual performances for the Eagles in 2014-15. Named the 2015 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner, Carpenter was also tabbed as the Hockey East Player of the Year, the New England Division I Player of the Year, the Hockey East scoring champion, and a First Team All-American. Coach Katie King-Crowley won both Hockey East and New England Division I Coach of the Year, and senior defenseman Emily Pfalzer was named the conference’s Best Defenseman. Joining Carpenter and Pfalzer as a Hockey East First Team All-Star was rookie defender Megan Keller.

Freshman goaltender Katie Burt, junior defender Lexi Bender, and junior forward Haley Skarupa were all recognized as Hockey East Second Team All-Stars. Skarupa, Carpenter, Pfalzer, and Bender were all named New England Division I All-Stars as well. BC had three representatives on the Hockey East All-Rookie team, with Burt, Keller, and forward Tori Sullivan getting recognized there.

Meet the Newcomers

D Grace Bizal, U.S. Under-18 Team, Hopkins H.S.

Bizal is a two-year veteran of the U.S. U18 squad, winning gold at the 2015 IIHF Under-18 World Championships and silver in 2014. At Hopkins (Minn.), she was a finalist for the Minnesota Ms. Hockey Award as a senior. She was also a three-time all-state honoree and a four-time all-conference honoree.

Coach Crowley on Bizal (via BCEagles.com):

“Grace is a very good defenseman,” Crowley said. “She got a lot of valuable experience on the ice and as a leader with the U.S. Under-18 team at the last two world championships. We expect that she’ll make a quick transition to the college game, and with the loss of Emily Pfalzer, we think Grace has the potential to step in and fill that hole on the defense.”

D Erin Connolly, The Rivers School, Assabet Valley

With The Rivers School (Mass.), Connolly was a co-captain and won the 2015 NEPSAC Division II championship with the squad. With Assabet Valley’s U19 club, Connolly captured the 2014 USA Hockey Tier I national championship.

Coach Crowley on Connolly (via BCEagles.com):

“Erin can play both defense and forward, but we expect she’ll play the majority of her time at BC as defenseman,” Crowley said. “We think she has great potential. As she learns our system and works with (associate head coach) Courtney (Kennedy) to adjust to the college game, we think she can have a big impact on our team.”

D Serena Sommerfield, Choate Rosemary Hall, Mid Fairfield Connecticut Stars

Sommerfield helped Mid Fairfield to a runner-up finish at the USA Hockey Tier I national championships in 2014.

Coach Crowley on Sommerfield (via BCEagles.com)

“Serena can also play both ways, and we’re excited to see her potential as she develops in our system,” Crowley said. “She’s a tall defenseman, and a very smart player. As she adjusts to the college game, she has a great upside.”

F Ryan Little, Shattuck-St. Mary’s

At Shattuck-St. Mary’s (Minn.), Little was a member of two national runner-up teams at the USA Hockey national championships in 2014 and 2015.

Coach Crowley on Little (via BCEagles.com):

“Ryan is a hard-working forward,” Crowley said. “She does the little things right: she’s a smart player, knows where to be and she’s a player who can play her position well. We think she will work well within our system and use her speed to help create offense.”

F Makenna Newkirk, The Pomfret School, Connecticut Southern Stars

Newkirk excelled as a prep, earning NEPSAC Division I Player of the Year honors as a senior last season with Pomfret (Conn.). She captained the team to the NEPSAC title game and totaled 31 goals, 20 assists, and 51 points on the year. A three-time All-NEPSAC honoree, she finished her career with 118 points, and helped her Connecticut Southern Stars team make it to the semifinals of the USA Hockey Tier I national championships.

Coach Crowley on Newkirk (via BCEagles.com):

“Makenna is a very dynamic player,” Crowley said. “We’re looking to get her involved right away in every aspect of the game. We think she’s the type of player who can have an immediate impact on our team and in Hockey East.”

F Molly Slowe, Noble and Greenough, Assabet Valley

Slowe helped the Assabet Valley U16 club finish second at the USA Hockey national championship in 2013. At Noble and Greenough (Mass.), she helped the team to two consecutive NEPSAC titles in 2012 and 2013 and captained the team as a senior.

Coach Crowley on Slowe (via BCEagles.com):

“Molly is another leader that we’re bring in and she’ll work hard day-in and day-out,” Crowley said. “She’ll help push our group every day. She’s local and has been around Boston College hockey for a long time so she’s a great complement to our program.”

2015-16 Season Preview

Key Departures: D Emily Pfalzer, F Kate Leary, F Emily Field
Key Returners: F Alex Carpenter, F Haley Skarupa, F Dana Trivigno, F Kenzie Kent, F Andie Anastos, F Tori Sullivan, D Megan Keller, D Lexi Bender, D Toni Ann Miano, D Kali Flanagan, G Katie Burt
Key Additions: D Grace Bizal, D Erin Connolly, F Makenna Newkirk, F Ryan Little

It’s hard to imagine a team being disappointed after a season that featured a 23-game winning streak and the best record in program history, but falling short of both the Hockey East Tournament championship and an NCAA title has to be extremely frustrating for an Eagles squad that had seemingly limitless potential. It was without a doubt a great season for BC, with just three losses, but those losses came in two tournament title games and the Frozen Four. That undeniably still stings, but the team will look to move forward and turn that into even more motivation for this season. Some clubs play hungry, but after what they suffered last year, for the Eagles it’s more like being starved; if that serves as an extra push for a team that scored 195 goals, they’re going to be a force to be reckoned with this year.

In an absurd display of offensive dominance, 15 players on Boston College’s roster last season scored in the double digits in points. Six of those players scored upwards of 30 points. The Eagles are losing one of those 30-point scorers in Kate Leary, as well as Emily Field and her 29 points, and that kind of production is sure to be missed on any team. But with the pieces still left for BC, I don’t think those losses will hurt too much. For starters, the team returns Patty Kazmaier winner Alex Carpenter, as well as another dynamic forward in Haley Skarupa; the two combined for 152 points last year to drive the Boston College offense. Dana Trivigno and Andie Anastos are both highly skilled players and productive top-six upperclassmen, but what should really help BC out is the progression of sophomores Kenzie Kent and Tori Sullivan. Kent was the team’s fourth-leading scorer last year with 38 points, and Sullivan enjoyed an excellent start to her career as well with 11 goals and 28 points. Both have even higher ceilings and should help make up for any lost production, and rookie Makenna Newkirk should be able to chip in in some capacity right away.

Boston College defenseman Megan Keller (BC Athletics Communications)

Boston College defenseman Megan Keller (BC Athletics Communications)

The team’s biggest loss this year comes on the back end with the departure of point-per-game defenseman Emily Pfalzer. Over the last year and a half or so of her career, Pfalzer had taken her game to new heights, and tallied 42 points last season. She was an absolutely pivotal player for that defensive corps, but the good news is they’ll still be more than capable of icing a strong group on the blue line. Senior Lexi Bender has proven over and over that she can be relied up on as a steady presence there, and I would expect her to continue making an impact, but sophomore Megan Keller may be the one to step up into that cornerstone role this year. She’s one of the best defensive prospects in the country and has the potential to be a dynamic two-way presence. Sophomores Toni Ann Miano and Kali Flanagan and senior Kaliya Johnson help make this a deep defensive corps without even factoring in rookie Grace Bizal, who is expected to contribute immediately.

Sophomore Katie Burt will, barring any unforeseen circumstances, remain the Eagles’ go-to in the crease after a great start to her career last year. She posted a .941 save percentage, a nation-leading 1.11 goals-against average, and 10 shutouts to go along with her 30-3-2 record, winning Hockey East’s Goaltending Champion award. Her and Clarkson’s Shea Tiley were in a class of their own as far as rookie goaltenders went last year, and there’s no reason why Burt can’t maintain that level of play with what she has to work with in front of her. As with any freshman, there were some minor kinks that had to be worked out last season, but with a full year of college hockey under her belt she should be more than ready to go again this season.

Boston College last season was unbelievably dominant in nearly every facet, leading the country in scoring offense with 5.00 goals per game, outscoring opponents by a nation-best 3.79 goals per game, racking up 40.44 shots on goal per game, and holding their opponents to under 20 shots on goal per game. The only area in which the Eagles was merely average was the power play, at a 17.5% conversion rate, and that’s something that the team will surely make a point to improve on this season. But such numbers mattered little to Boston University in the Hockey East title game, and to Harvard in the Frozen Four. There is no denying how good BC was last year, and so it’s almost petty to nitpick the areas in which they need to be better, though being able to rely on your power play in tight postseason contests is a good place to start. Better execution against stronger defenses is also something that stands out as needing some work. Boston College is going to once again put itself in position to contend for a national title, and if they can shore up things like that, there’s no reason why they can’t take home the biggest prize.

Schedule Highlights

Oct. 2-3 vs. Minnesota Duluth
Oct. 11-12 vs. St. Lawrence
Oct. 17 vs. Maine
Oct. 23-24 at Cornell
Nov. 7 at Boston University
Nov. 10 vs. Boston University
Nov. 20 vs. Northeastern
Nov. 28 at Northeastern
Dec. 10 at Syracuse
Jan. 9 at Boston University
Jan. 15 at Merrimack
Jan. 19 at Harvard
Feb. 2 vs. Harvard (Beanpot semifinal)
Feb. 9 vs. Boston University/Northeastern (Beanpot title game/consolation game)
Feb. 12 vs. Northeastern
Feb. 20 at Providence

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