Boston College freshman forward Daryl Watts has had a start to her college career that seems unfathomable. The rookie is averaging 3.00 points per game, had a hat trick in her second ever college game, leads the country in goals, and is tied for third in the country for assists.
Per Hockey East, “Watts has started her career with the Eagles by leading the country in goals (10), points (21), points per game (3.00), power-play points (7), and shots per game (6.29). She also leads the league and is second in the NCAA in assists (11), assists per game (1.57), goals per game (1.43), and power-play goals (4). She’s recorded at least one point in all seven games this year, including six multi-point outings. She’s also factored in on five of six game-winning goals, scoring one and assisting on four others.”
Most first-year players take time to adjust to the college level where the game is faster and the players bigger and more physical. Watts admits that the speed of college puck surprised her, but despite that, her play shows her to be rather unfazed.
“The caliber of players is so high. There’s no bad teams. Every game you have to be ready to go because if you’re not trying your very hardest then you’re going to lose, no matter who your competition is,” she said.
The numbers Watts has already amassed are staggering. At this point last season, National Rookie of the Year Jaycee Gebhard of Robert Morris had four goals and eight assists. She ended the season with 22 goals and 24 assists, averaging 1.31 points per game. Watts’ Boston College teammates Caitrin Lonergan and Delaney Belinskas were named to the USCHO All-Rookie team last season and were some of the best rookies Hockey East had seen. After seven games, Lonergan had four goals and an assist. For the season, she tallied 15 goals and 18 assists for 33 points. Belinskas had five goals in the first seven games and ended the season with 16 goals and 17 assists for 33 points.
Watts is on pace to pretty much smash every one of those numbers, but even if one assumes that her hot start will taper off, she’s still likely to put up offensive numbers the likes of which we haven’t seen from a rookie in a very long time. The Eagles aren’t even a quarter of the way through the season, and Watts has introduced herself to the college game was a definitive splash. This week, she was named Hockey East Player and Rookie of the Month.
“Daryl is a great player,” said coach Katie Crowley. “She not only works hard with the puck, but works hard off puck to be available as an option for her teammates. She has that natural hockey sense that really stands out and makes her an elite hockey player.”
Watts was a two-time silver medal winner with Hockey Canada at the U-18 Women’s World Championships. She credits much of her readiness for the college game and growth as a player to her time with Team Canada.
“Team Canada was really one of the first teams where I had professional coaching, and I learned a lot about the game and where to be positionally on the ice — just the small things I’d never been taught before. Learning from such great players that I was fortunate enough to play with. It helps elevate my game, and it just taught me a lot of things I’d never have been able to learn.”
Beyond that, having the experience of the coaching staff at Boston College combined with playing in a line with Lonergan, who knows a bit about where Watts is as a player right now, has helped ease her transition into college.
“Our coaching staff is amazing,” said Watts. “They’re not only great coaches, but they’re great people. They’re so knowledgeable. They have so much actual experience and were obviously unbelievable players. We respect them so much, and they’ve created such an amazing culture on the team of team first, which is why I think the team has been successful for so long, because everyone puts their ego aside and are just focused on our team goal of winning a national championship.”
Watts, Lonergan, and freshman Willow Corson make up Boston College’s second line, and they’ve found immediate chemistry. Both from Toronto, Watts and Corson played together on club teams and have brought their experience to the ice for BC. Together, the three account for more than half of the Eagles’ points so far this season.
“They find ways to buzz around and put pucks in the net, and they work extremely hard while they’re doing it. Hopefully, they’ll keep producing for us,” said Crowley.
Corson describes her linemates as playmakers, and Watts said their chemistry and vision on the ice has come naturally, meaning they all know and can anticipate where the other is on the ice. Those kind of intangibles have manifested in a very prolific start that can only mean good things for the Boston College Eagles.