High-powered offense should put BC on top again

Haley Skarupa (BC - 22) - The Boston College Eagles defeated the visiting University of Maine Black Bears 5-1 on Sunday, October 6, 2013, at Kelley Rink in Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. (Melissa Wade)
Haley Skarupa is one of the top scorers in BC history. (Melissa Wade)

Boston College Eagles
USCHO prediction: First
Coaches’ prediction: First
Last season: First (34-3-2, 20-0-1 Hockey East)

The names
Not long ago, Boston College had never won the Hockey East season trophy. Now it has claimed two straight and is a huge favorite to make it three in a row.

To some extent, the Eagles are victims of their own success. They’re coming off a historic season. Only a tie with Boston University in the final game kept them from having a perfect Hockey East campaign. Instead, they ended 20-0-1, equaling the best season in conference history, previously accomplished by New Hampshire in 2007-08.

So much emphasis is placed on the postseason. For BC, the Frozen Four has been an insurmountable obstacle thus far, and with one exception, so has the HEA tournament, but last year’s 34-win season and the best winning percentage in the country require no apology.

“That’ll be a tough year to follow,” coach Katie King Crowley said. “We lost some great seniors, who were great leaders for us, and who I thought were the epitome of our team. Now, we’re excited to move forward into the next chapter of 2015-16.”

Despite graduating All-American defenseman Emily Pfalzer, who was also a Patty Kazmaier finalist, and a pair of forwards in Kate Leary and Emily Field who combined for 60 points a year ago, optimism remains high for the Eagles.

“We hope we can do even better than last season,” Crowley said.

The primary reason is that Boston College returns Alex Carpenter, the reigning Kazmaier Award winner, and Haley Skarupa, another Kazmaier finalist. Through three years, they’ve amassed 190 and 165 points, respectively. That’s more than anyone other than Kelli Stack (209 points) and Erin Magee (198) have totaled in a four-year career in BC history.

“[Carpenter] is obviously a tremendous player, and we’re all excited that she’s back for one more year,” Crowley said. “She’s one of those that you want to hold on for as long as you can, like a Kelli Stack. You want them around forever.”

Along with her many skills on the ice, Carpenter brings a great deal of leadership to her team.

“She really wants to get that national championship, and I really think that’s what our whole team is trying to get to,” Crowley said. “She’s one that can help us get there.”

Boston College is far more than a one-or-two-woman show. The senior class alone contains other key players like forward Dana Trivigno (34 points last season) and defenseman Lexi Bender (29 points).

“As much as Carpenter and Skarupa had a lot of points, I also think all three lines had pretty big goals for us throughout the year,” Crowley said.

The numbers
Boston College scored an average of five goals per game last season. That ranks eighth for any team in the NCAA era, and it is the highest average ever for a Hockey East team.

The prognosis
Given the star power in the BC senior class, it feels like the time is now to get that first national title. Perhaps just as key to the team’s fate is the sophomore class that includes forwards Kenzie Kent and Tori Sullivan, defensemen Megan Keller, Toni Ann Miano, and Kali Flanagan, and starting goaltender Katie Burt. The experience gained by that class last season may be enough to get the Eagles over the top.

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