Game Day Skate: Boston College at Cornell, Bemidji State at Wisconsin

AES Rankings

  1. Minnesota
  2. Boston College
  3. Wisconsin
  4. Clarkson
  5. North Dakota
  6. Bemidji State
  7. Harvard
  8. Quinnipiac
  9. Boston University
  10. Cornell

Game Day Highlights

#2 Boston College at Cornell: The Big Red will jump right into things as they play host to the Eagles for their first series of the season. BC’s offense is scoring at any incredibly high pace once again this year, at 5.33 goals per game. The power play is faring better, clicking at a 25% conversion rate, and the Eagles will be hoping to sustain that this weekend as well. Cornell’s got a few questions that need answering, namely about who’s going to replace their losses in production and who’s going to step up in goal, and those will be the biggest tests for the team this weekend against a dominant Boston College squad. Sophomore Katie Burt is putting up outstanding numbers again for BC, with a .944 save percentage and 1.40 goals-against average. Out of last year’s returners, the Big Red will be counting on Erin O’Connor, Taylor Woods, and Jess Brown to threaten her, but all of those players are new to primary scoring roles.

Bemidji State at #3 Wisconsin: The Beavers are coming off of a last-second overtime win against North Dakota, and have done well in WCHA play so far, sweeping Minnesota Duluth the weekend before. But the Badgers, who have been dominant so far this season in all major areas, pose a bigger challenge. They’ll make it much tougher for Bemidji State to have much control, and though the Beavers aren’t a possession-heavy team anyways, they are at heir best when they are still dictating the pace of the game. Wisconsin has the tools in its lineup to prevent BSU from having any say in that area as well. The ice will likely lean heavily in the Badgers’ favor, but they’re still going to need to solve the BSU defense and win battles for pucks in front if they’re going to come away with two wins.

Minnesota Duluth at Minnesota: The Gophers have cruised to a 6-0-0 start this year, and a 4-0-0-0 start in WCHA play. In those four games, they’ve outscored Ohio State and St. Cloud State by a combined 36-4. Last season, the Bulldogs were able to pose an early challenge to Minnesota, tying them, 3-3, on Oct. 11. It’s going to be tougher for this year’s lineup to do the same, however. One particular area where they’re going to be overmatched is on the backend. UMD does not have the same caliber group as the Gophers have with Lee Stecklein, Milica McMillen, and Sydney Baldwin. If those three are able to influence the game as much as we’ve seen so far, the Bulldogs will have little to work with.

Players to Watch

Alex Carpenter, Forward, Boston College: 2015 Patty Kazmaier Award winner Alex Carpenter picked up right where she left off last year, with nine goals and 17 points in six games so far.

G Maddie Rooney, Goaltender, Minnesota Duluth: The freshman has been getting the nod lately in net for the Bulldogs, and she played well against BSU and Minnesota State. She has a .932 save percentage and 1.50 goals-against average coming into the weekend, but the Gophers’ offense is a much bigger test than what she’s seen so far.

F Christian Higham, Forward, Cornell: Higham’s just a rookie but with Cornell’s lack of scoring depth, she should get a chance in the top-six right away to show what she can do.

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.

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2015 NWHL Draft Preview: Top 20 NCAA Player Rankings

With the inaugural National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) Draft coming up on June 20, it’s time to take a look at the top prospects available. The NWHL announced the order of selection earlier this week: the first pick belongs to the New York Riveters, the second to the Connecticut Whale, the third to the Boston Pride, and the fourth to the Buffalo Beauts.

The draft is open to all those playing at a four-year institution who have completed their first three years of eligibility. With that being said, the following is a list of At Even Strength’s Top 20 player rankings, taken out of the entire pool of rising seniors in the NCAA. CIS players are eligible for selection in the draft but were not included in these rankings due to a lack of viewings.

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Game Day Skate: Hockey East Semifinals

#1 Boston College (32-1-2) vs. #5 Connecticut (11-17-8), 1:30 p.m. EST

The Eagles took care of things last week in the quarterfinals, sweeping the Friars handily with a 6-2 win and an 8-0 win. Meghan Grieves and Andie Anastos each notched two goals in the first victory, while Dana Trivigno tallied twice in the second game.

UConn picked up a big sweep over Maine on the road last weekend to advance to the semifinals. The Huskies defeated the Black Bears, 3-2, on Friday, behind a goal and an assist each from Sarah MacDonnell and Kayla Campero. They then completed the sweep with a 1-0 overtime win, with Rebecca Fleming scoring the winner and Elaine Chuli making 45 saves in net.

If UConn is going to pick up another upset win, goaltending is going to have to be a factor once again. Chuli was in net for both games, so it looks like the Huskies will stick with her, but rookie Annie Belanger has also put up really good numbers this season. Either way, UConn will have to rely on its goalie to make the first save and then try and pick up any second-chance opportunities before the Eagles get there. BC is going to rely on its offense, and it will look to score early and often to put this one away as quickly as possible. If scoring becomes a problem, they need to stay committed defensively and be especially wary in transition.

Key Players for Boston College: F Alex Carpenter, F Kenzie Kent, D Lexi Bender

Key Players for Connecticut: F Emily Snodgrass, D Leah Lum, G Elaine Chuli

#2 Boston University (23-8-3) vs. #3 Northeastern (14-16-5), 4:30 p.m. EST

The Terriers swept Vermont last week to advance, earning an 8-1 win on Friday and a 7-2 victory on Saturday. Kayla Tutino led them with a four-goal effort in the first win, and her and Victoria Bach each posted six-point weekends.

Northeastern had to climb out of a 1-0 hole after falling to New Hampshire in the first game of their quarterfinal series, 2-1. The Huskies defeated the Wildcats, 3-2, to force a game three, with Denisa Krisova scoring the game-winner with 1:25 left in regulation. They then knocked off UNH, 4-3, to close out the series behind Kendall Coyne’s hat trick.

Coyne will certainly be a key player for the Huskies as they try and earn the upset over BU. So far this season, she’s got 28 goals and 51 points in 30 games played and is far and away Northeastern’s most dangerous option up front. The Huskies are giving up an average of more than 32 shots on goal per game, so Chloe Desjardins will have to be strong in net and they’ll need to make sure that they finish off their own chances. Northeastern’s lone loss against the Terriers this year came in a 6-3 win; the Huskies likely won’t be able to hold them completely off the board, so they need to find the back of the net consistently themselves.

Key Players for Boston University: F Marie-Philip Poulin, F Samantha Sutherland, D Shannon Doyle

Key Players for Northeastern: F Kendall Coyne, D Heather Mottau, G Chloe Desjardins, F Hayley Scamurra

Women’s Hockey East Weekly Recap: November 17th, 2014

Tuesday, Nov. 11

Northeastern 6, Boston University 3

A huge night from Kendall Coyne led the Huskies past the Terriers for their first big win of the season. Coyne’s hat trick and five points powered Northeastern’s offense in the victory; freshman McKenna Brand netted another two goals for the Huskies. For BU, Kayla Tutino notched a goal and an assist, and Sarah Lefort and Victoria Bach also scored in the loss. | Box Score | GoNU.com Recap | GoTerriers.com Recap

Friday, Nov. 14

Vermont 6, Syracuse 5 (OT)

Dayna Colang led the way for the Catamounts, scoring her first-career hat trick to help them win in come-from-behind fashion. The Orange held a 3-0 lead going into the first intermission, but two goals from Colang and one from Amanda Pelkey brought UVM even after two. After a four-goal third period, Brittany Zuback scored her second of the game in overtime to win it for the Catamounts. Pelkey led the team with a four-point night, and Madison Litchfield made 20 saves in relief to help Vermont to the win. | Box Score | UVMAthletics.com Recap

Saturday, Nov. 15

Boston College 10, New Hampshire 0

The Eagles’ offense was once again on display in the rout over the Wildcats. Alex Carpenter led BC with two goals and two assists, while Kristyn Capizzano and Tori Sullivan each picked up two goals as well. Megan Keller, Dana Trivigno, Kenzie Kent, Emily Field, Emily Pfalzer, Toni Ann Miano, Haley Skarupa, and Kate Leary all had multi-point games for the Eagles. Katie Burt and Taylor Blake split the shutout in net, while Vilma Vaattovaara made 26 saves in the 30:35 of action she saw for the Wildcats. | Box Score | BCEagles.com Recap | UNHWildcats.com Recap

Providence 4, Northeastern 1

The Friars picked up their first win of the season against Northeastern. Allie Morse made 42 saves to lift Providence to the win, and Brittney Thunstrom scored the game-winner in the second period. Hayley Scamurra scored the Huskies’ lone goal. | Box Score | Friars.com Recap | GoNU.com Recap

Boston University 3, Connecticut 2

Maddie Elia scored her second of the day with just 30 seconds left to snap a 2-2 tie and give the Terriers the win. Victoria Bach also tallied for BU, and Rebecca Fleming scored a goal and an assist for the Huskies. Marie-Philip Poulin made her return to the Boston University line-up, though she was held without a point. Annie Belanger made 30 saves in net to give UConn a chance at a win. | Box Score | GoTerriers.com Recap | UConnHuskies.com Recap | UConnHuskies.com Highlights

Vermont 5, Syracuse 4

The Catamounts again came out on top of another offense-oriented game to complete the road sweep over Syracuse. Pelkey scored twice in the first 7:23 of the game to give UVM a 2-0 lead, but Syracuse would eventually take a 4-3 lead in the third. Casey Leveillee scored shorthanded to tie it up for the Catamounts, and Amanda Drobot netted the game-winner with 9:02 remaining in regulation. | Box Score | UVMAthletics.com Recap

Sunday, Nov. 16

Boston University 4, Connecticut 2

The Terriers completed the sweep of their home-and-home series against Connecticut to improve to 8-3-1 on the year. Captain Marie-Philip Poulin led BU with two goals, while Sarah Lefort notched two assists. Emily Snodgrass and Theresa Knutson were the goal-scorers for UConn, and Belanger made another 26 saves in net in the loss. | Box Score | GoTerriers.com Recap | UConnHuskies.com Recap | GoTerriers.com Highlights

Northeastern 6, Providence 2

The Huskies rebounded from Saturday’s loss to the Friars with a convincing win to close out the home-and-home series. Haley Frade evened things up after Northeastern jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first, but the Huskies scored five goals in the second period to win handily. Kendall Coyne scored twice and added an assist, while Heather Mottau recorded three assists and sophomore Sarah Foss earned her first career win in net. | Box Score | GoNU.com Recap | Friars.com Recap

Boston College 5, New Hampshire 0

Haley Skarupa’s two-goal afternoon led the Eagles to victory, which clinched a sweep of the Wildcats in the season series. Alex Carpenter, Emily Field, and Lexi Bender each had a goal and an assist as well, while Katie Burt picked up another shutout with an 18-save performance. In net for New Hampshire, Vaattovaara made 23 saves. | Box Score | BCEagles.com Recap | UNHWildcats.com Recap

Four Nations: Team USA Roster Highlights

After settling for a third-place finish last year, the U.S. is aiming for gold at next week’s Four Nations Cup in Kamloops, British Columbia. As the next Olympic cycle officially kicks off, nine players will be make their senior team debut with the squad. In all, 23 players will be suiting up for Team USA. With the tournament getting started next Tuesday, Nov. 4, here are some quick thoughts highlighting the U.S. roster.

Goaltenders

#29 – Brianne McLaughlin (Sheffield Village, Ohio) – Burlington Barracudas (CWHL)
#30 – Molly Schaus (Natick, Mass.) – Boston Blades (CWHL)
#33 – Alex Rigsby (Delafield, Wis.) – University of Wisconsin (WCHA)

  • Brianne McLaughlin-Bittle and Molly Schaus both captured silver with Team USA at the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics. However, Jessie Vetter, the team’s starter at both of those Olympic tournaments, will be sitting this one out.
  • With Vetter out, Alex Rigsby should finally get a well-deserved chance to show what she can do between the pipes at the international level. She finished up at Wisconsin last year with a career .941 save percentage and 1.50 goals-against average, and she’s been ready for this opportunity for quite a bit.

Defense

#2 – Lee Stecklein (Roseville, Minn.) – University of Minnesota (WCHA)
#5 – Megan Keller (Farmington, Mich.) – Boston College (WHEA)
#7 – Monique Lamoureux (Grand Forks, N.D.) – Boston Blades (CWHL)
#8 – Emily Pfalzer (Getzville, N.Y.) – Boston College (WHEA)
#9 – Megan Bozek (Buffalo Grove, Ill.) – Toronto Furies (CWHL)
#22 – Kacey Bellamy (Westfield, Mass.) – Boston Blades (CWHL)
#23 – Michelle Picard (Taunton, Mass.) – Harvard University (ECAC)
#28 – Alyssa Gagliardi (Raleigh, N.C.) – Boston Blades (CWHL)

  • After spending the majority of her college career with North Dakota on defense, Monique Lamoureux will dress as a defenseman with the U.S. for the first time. She’s plenty capable of creating offense and putting up points from the blue line, as she showed with UND, and she should provide Team USA with some quality minutes at both ends of the ice at her new position.
  • This will be Emily Pfalzer’s first action with the senior team, after making an impact with the Under-22 Team this summer. As a senior with Boston College, she is playing extremely well this season and has made significant strides from where she was at a year ago.
  • Megan Keller is also making her debut as one of the youngest players on the roster. She saw some pretty big minutes with the U22s against Canada and has stepped right in for BC as only a freshman. She’s got a ways to go before becoming a complete player but the raw tools are certainly there.
  • As has been the case for a couple of years now, expect Kacey Bellamy and Megan Bozek to lead the way for this group, particularly Bozek, who really emerged in 2013 as a big-time defender for Team USA. She’s the cornerstone of this defense now and is the team’s most effective blue-liner on both sides of the puck.

Forwards

#11 – Haley Skarupa (Rockville, Md.) – Boston College (WHEA)
#14 – Brianna Decker (Dousman, Wis.) – Boston Blades (CWHL)
#16 – Amanda Pelkey (Montpelier, Vt.) – University of Vermont (WHEA)
#18 – Shiann Darkangelo (Brighton, Mich.) – Quinnipiac University (ECAC)
#20 – Hannah Brandt (Vadnais Heights, Minn.) – University of Minnesota (WCHA)
#24 – Dani Cameranesi (Plymouth, Minn.) – University of Minnesota (WCHA)
#25 – Alex Carpenter (North Reading, Mass.) – Boston College (WHEA)
#26 – Kendall Coyne (Palos Heights, Ill.) – Northeastern University (WHEA)
#27 – Annie Pankowski (Laguna Hills, Calif.) – University of Wisconsin (WCHA)
#32 – Dana Trivigno (Setauket, N.Y.) – Boston College (WHEA)
#37 – Paige Savage (John’s Creek, Ga.) – Northeastern University (WHEA)

  • Hannah Brandt makes her return to the senior team after being cut from the Olympic centralization roster last season. She first debuted with the national team at the senior at the 2012 World Championships, when she was just 18 years old and still in high school. After an 82-point freshman season with Minnesota, cutting Brandt last year was one of Team USA’s most perplexing moves. As a high-end offensive talent who back-checks every single time up the ice, she is the total package as a player and her return to the senior team should be more than welcome.
  • Brianna Decker, Alex Carpenter, Kendall Coyne, and Hilary Knight are the lone returning forwards from the 2014 Olympic squad, and will absolutely be counted on to lead the way offensively.
  • Annie Pankowski was centralized with the team for part of last season, and was one of the final cuts made to the Olympic roster. As a freshman with Wisconsin this season, she’s put up 12 points in 10 games so far. She wasn’t really featured at all up front last season, so it’ll be interesting to see if she spends time in a more prominent offensive role at this tournament, with so many other young forwards on the roster.
  • Haley Skarupa and Dana Trivigno are both playing key roles in Boston College’s offense this season. The most notable characteristic of that offense is the willingness of the Eagles’ forwards to use their skill to make a play. They play with a lot of confidence and aren’t afraid in the least to get creative. Those are traits that both Skarupa and Trivigno possess, and the U.S. is surely hoping they’ll make use of them in this tournament.
  • Amanda Pelkey was kept quiet in this summer’s U22 Series against the Canadians, and there are certainly players with more dynamic ability. But the Vermont senior has developed into a very good all-around player over the years, and if she can use her speed, she’ll be an effective player for Team USA.
  • One player who could surprise some people with the impact she could make next week: Shiann Darkangelo. She has yet to really find the form she was in last season with Quinnipiac, but the potential is there. She’s also one of the U.S.’s biggest forwards, and her size will be an asset, especially against Canada.