Women’s college hockey: Five local stories to watch for at the start of the 2022-23 season

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“I give him a lot of credit,” Flint said. “She waited three years in the wings behind Aerin. Many goalkeepers may not have stayed. She could have been a starter for most NCAA teams.”

If losing Frankel wasn’t enough, the Huskies also graduated one of the best defensemen in the nation in Skylar Fontaine, who never got the respect he deserved on the national level. To fill that void, they looked to one of the few teams that beat them in the season 31-5-2 last year: Vermont. The Catamounts’ leading supporter, Maude Poulin-Labelle, was transferred to Huntington Avenue.

NU’s defense may have a new look, but the offense still features the fantastic Alina Mueller. Mueller scored 39 points last season despite playing just 21 games due to a combination of injury and playing for the Swiss Olympic team. Dynamic scorers Maureen Murphy and Chloé Aurard also return.

Will international experience benefit Boston College?

The Eagles had their ups and downs last season, but this year should be smoother. BC returns two-time US Olympian Cayla Barnes for her senior season. After her second Olympic team cap and her third World Championship, BC is excited for her hockey smarts to return.

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Fellow senior Hannah Bilka returns after a summer in which she finished third in scoring (5 goals, 7 assists) in her first World Championship.

“The experience those two have gained from being in that tournament is great,” said BC head coach Katie Crowley. “They are both leaders and captains of our program and we will really lean on them a lot.”

The Eagles also get Abigail Levy back for her senior year, after she led the nation in saves last season with 1,143. With a more established and older roster, the Eagles have a promising year ahead of them.

After a down year, how will Boston University bounce back?

Not surprisingly, a team led by a former goaltender (Brian Durocher supported Terrier’s men in the 1970s) bolstered its roster by adding a standout goalkeeper on transfer from Ohio State, Andrea Braendli. A 2022 Swiss Olympian, she led the Beijing Games in saves with 242 and set a host of records with the Buckeyes, including career wins of her own with 57.

But wait. Don’t the Terriers already have a great goalkeeper in sophomore Callie Shanahan, whose 53-save performance against Northeastern last January caught the attention of many? They do, but having both will help a BU team that will rely on defense.

Both Shanahan and Braendli will have a defensive asset in senior Nadia Mattivi, one of the veterans of the Italian national team. She is stable and has proven to be problematic for some of the top scorers in Hockey East.

Offensively, however, BU lost both of its top scorers, and even with them, they were seventh in goals in Hockey East last season. A great defense can’t do much, and the Terriers need their forwards to increase their performance.

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In the strongest ECAC hockey season in history, how will Harvard fare?

Harvard was one of seven ECAC teams in the national preseason top 15, following a 2021-22 season in which the Crimson reached the NCAA Tournament and won their first Beanpot title since 2015.

However, several pieces of that run are gone. Senior goalkeeper Becky Dutton and senior forwards Keeley Moy and Becca Gilmore graduated, with forwards Taze Thompson and Dominique Petrie transferring.

“Everyone knows last year we had a deep senior class that drove the bus for us,” said coach Katey Stone, entering her 28th season. “We have a great opportunity for our youngsters. A lot of them didn’t see a lot of time last year in their positions because we were so involved with our seniors.”

Anne Bloomer and Kristin Della Rovere lead a senior class that has a lot of jumping and speed. Stone expects second-year defender Mia Biotti and junior forward Shannon Hollands to contribute more. Goalkeeper Alex Pellicci returns for her second year after promising outings last season.

How is the national scene?

Defending champion Ohio State remains atop the field nationally, but ECAC Hockey is dominating the standings with seven teams in the top 15. Colgate and Yale seem to be the class of that field, but the conference is so immensely talented from top to bottom. bottom line that old coach holds of “anyone can win any game any day” rings true.

Old standbys like Wisconsin and Minnesota are also highly regarded, but keep an eye on Penn State. The Nittany Lions now have an impressive roster of players, including USA Under-18 standout Tessa Janecke, and they opened their season last weekend with a loss to the Badgers.

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Kat Cornetta can be reached at [email protected]