Women's Hockey Preview

The BC women's hockey team is in action, starting on the road for two games before coming home for two. The road trip was a rough start, resulting in a tie and a loss. The home opener was a little disappointing as they fought to a tie with Syracuse.

After an 0-1-1 road trip to start the season, women's hockey looks to get on track with home games against Syracuse (Friday, 2 PM) and Colgate (Saturday, 5 PM). Eagle Insider sat down with head coach Katie King to preview the upcoming season.

The Eagles have seen incredible roster turnover from the team that won the Beanpot, went to the Hockey East Championship game, and lost in the NCAA quarterfinals last year.

Gone are eight seniors from last year's class, the most successful in BC women's hockey history. The class of 2009, powered by Meghan Fardelmann, Magie Taverna, and Becky Zavisza, won three Beanpots in four years and guided BC to the Frozen Four in 2007.

Even more stark than the loss of the seniors, however, is the loss of the team's two MVPs - leading scorer Kelli Stack, and star goaltender Molly Schaus, both of whom have been selected for the United States Olympic team. The U.S. team is already in camp training together for February's Olympic Games, meaning that many of the top players in women's college hockey are missing this season.

"It's already having an effect on the season - you can see the impact it's having around the country," said coach King. "You'll see a lot more of the traditional powers knocked off, teams that aren't used to losing that often will be tested."

2009 national champion Wisconsin lost to North Dakota last weekend, and 2008 champ Minnesota-Duluth split a series with unheralded Robert Morris.

BC struggled mightily in its first game without Schaus, dropping last week's season opener to Clarkson, 5-1. Sophomore netminder Kiera Kingston got the start, yielding three quick goals before giving way to freshman Corinne Boyles. Boyles seemed to emerge as an early leader in the race to be the team's #1 goalie, putting in a stellar effort to help BC earn a 1-1 tie in the second game of the Clarkson series.

Still, King has faith that both Kingston and Boyles will have the ability to fill the gap left by Schaus.

"Kiera [Kingston] will get back in there," she said. "She didn't get pulled out of the Clarkson game because of poor play, I just felt that the team looked sluggish and needed a spark."

"The plan right now is to rotate the two goalies for a while until someone steps up as the starter. They're both really competitive, very talented, and really want to play - so I expect that they will push each other and make one another better."

Boyles and Kingston are expected to split this weekend's two games.

This year's roster features seven freshmen, all of whom will need to contribute in order for BC to be successful.

"Nobody's worried about playing time, which could have a positive effect," said King. BC only has 10 forwards and 6 defenders, meaning every player will suit up for every game.

Among the freshmen, defensemen Dru Burns and Blake Bolden come in with some of the highest praise. Bolden, a hard-shooting, offensive-minded defender, scored BC's game-tying goal in the 1-1 draw against Clarkson.

"Bolden and Burns have a lot to learn, but they do so many things well," King said. "They add some offensive touch to our defensive corps, and come in already with the poise to play at the D-1 level."

"Our veteran leaders are on the blue line as well. Tracy Johnson is coming off of knee surgery and should be good for us back there. Katelyn Kurth also had surgery in the offseason. They're leaders of our team and will make a difference on defense."

Up front, BC will rely on contributions from senior Allie Thunstrom and sophomore Mary Restuccia. But the real measuring stick will be whether or not the freshmen can light the lamp.

Ashley Motherwell, younger sister of former BC men's player Brett Motherwell, is one of the headliners of a highly-touted incoming class of forwards, which includes Caitlin Walsh, Elizabeth Olchowski, and Kristina Brown. "They're all talented kids," said King. "It's a matter of whether or not they'll be able to adjust to college hockey and get involved right away."

"One thing we do know is that our team will be motivated to show what they can do. While we've had some success in recent years, these younger players want to make their own name for themselves. I think we have the pieces in place to have a strong year."

BC skated to a 3-3 tie with Syracuse on Friday night and bounced back for a 5-3 victory over Colgate on Saturday. That was their first win of the season and puts their record at 1-1-2 for the season.

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