Women’s Hockey: #10 BU Opens the Year with Providence

GAME INFORMATION

#10 BU vs Whitby (Exhibition)

Time/Place: 3 p.m.; Walter Brown Arena

Stream: http://mixlr.com/wtbusports/; Commentator: Max Wolpoff

#10 BU vs Providence

Time/Place: 3 p.m.; Walter Brown Arena

Stream: http://mixlr.com/wtbusports/; Commentators: Dan Shulman and Max Wolpoff

BOSTON — The tenth-ranked Boston University Terriers will open the 2016-17 regular season against conference foes the Providence Friars after an exhibtion game with the Whitby Wolves.

Eight players have been welcomed into the fold to replace the seven departures from last season. The top-two scorers, Victoria Bach and Rebecca Leslie, have returned to campus after training with the Canadian National Team alongside Terrier legends Marie-Philip Poulin, Jenna Wakefield, and Sarah Lefort.

WHITBY JR. WOLVES

2015-16 Season: 42-8-5 overall, Provincial Women’s Hockey League Bronze Medal, US/Canada Kitchener Cup Champions


The Wolves are a collection of local players from in and around the Whitby area. A few have committed to American universities to play NCAA hockey, while others will stay in Canada and compete as part of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) program.

Most on the current roster graduated from the Whitby Midget or Bantam AA teams, the steps below Junior. The only player committed to a Hockey East school is Danielle Fox who will play for the University of Connecticut.

Two players to watch for Whitby are the McQuigge sisters – Brooke and Rachel. Both are committed to Princeton University (ECAC). Rachel is a goalie while Brooke is one of the team’s top forwards.

Both were part of the Wolves runs at PWHL Bronze last season. Brooke was selected to the 2014 Ontario Winter Games as well as the 2014 and 2015 U16 High Performance Development Camp.

PROVIDENCE FRIARS

2015-16 Season: 10-26-2 overall, 6-16-2 Hockey East (7th place), 3-13-0 road, 7-9-2 home, 0-3-0 vs. BU (-12 goal differential against BU)


Despite opening play with a win over the Whitby Wolves in exhibition last year, the Friars did not get a regular season win until November 7, a 5-4 win over New Hampshire. In that seven-game losing skid to start the year, the Friars were outscored 32-8. Granted, Providence did play then-third ranked Wisconsin twice to open the season, and the Badgers lit up goaltenders Sarah Bryant and Alanna Serviss for 85 shots on net and 13 total goals.

This year, Bryant and Allie Morse are gone, leaving Serviss, Madison Myers, and Clare Minnerath has joined the team from Sartell, Minnesota. Minnerath was a finalist for the 2015-16 Senior High School Goalie of the Year award after a stellar 1.28 goals against average, .941 save percentage, and seven shutouts.

“This is the most talented team we’ve put on the ice in three years,” head coach Bob Deraney said on a conference call of Hockey East coaches. He pegged the team’s strength as being a “200 foot, pressure the puck type of team.”

Myers pulled most of the team’s weight in net, starting 25 games and earning nine of the team’s 10 wins on the way to being elected the Seventh Player Award by her teammates. Coach Deranaey said there will be “a competition every week” to determine who will start. “Playing time is in their hands,” he said.

On offense, Cassidy Carels, co-captaining the team with Madison Sansone, and Christina Putigna led the way with 30 (nine goals, 21 assists) and 28 (11 goals, 17 assists) respectively. Putigna joined head coach Bob Deraney (BU ’87) on the same Canadian Development Team that featured Bach and Leslie.

The only departing top-five scorer is Lexi Romanchuck (7-13-20). The high number of returning players should prove beneficial to the Friars’ squad.

Just three freshman defenders — Whitney Dove, Rachel Rockwell, and Avery Fransoo — have been taken on by a team with a largely unchanged defensive core. Seniors Ariana Buxman and Arianna Reid  will be the solid blue-liners while sophomore Kate Friesen will look to top last year’s 13-point campaign.

The day before the game against the Terriers, Providence will face-off with Toronto Leaside, a junior team, in a “last-second dress rehearsal,” as coach Deraney called it. “The playing field is even, they [BU] face the same challenges we do,” Deraney said.

#10 BOSTON UNIVERSITY TERRIERS

2015-16 Season: 23-14-12 overall, 14-8-0 Hockey East (3rd place), 14-8-0 home, 7-4-2 away, 2-2-0 neutral, 3-0 vs. Providence (+12 goal differential)


Despite significant losses from last year’s squad, the Terriers are poised to perform even better than they did the previous season. Bach and Leslie, the top-scorers from the previous year, are returning, as are Maddie Elia (drafted by the Buffalo Beauts of the NWHL) and Sammy Davis. Those four will look to shore up the offensive losses from the graduating class.

As for defense, four of the eight on the roster are incoming freshmen: Abby Cook, Katie Shannahan, Alexandra Calderone, and Breanna Scarpaci. It is uncertain as to who will be the healthy scratch, since only six or seven defenders make up most game-day rosters.

Two transfers, Nina Rodgers (Minnesota) and Mary Parker (Harvard), will substantiate a formidable offense. Parker was a top-point producer for the Crimson before losing her senior season due to injury; she utilized the Graduate Student One-Time Transfer to play at BU. Rodgers won two National Championships with the Golden Gophers, but scored eight of her nine points last season in blowout victories.

In net, it’s the same question as last year: Erin O’Neil or Victoria Hanson? After Hanson rode the home stretch for 2014-15, O’Neil took over the blue paint during 2015-16. O’Neil’s 54 saves in the Hockey East Semifinal victory against Northeastern is 2nd all-time to Kerrin Sperry’s 58 against Cornell (a triple-overtime loss, 8-7) in the first round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament.

Assistant coach Katie Lachapelle said that “down the line, they’ll make that decision for us.”

 

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