Jan. 25, 2013
If senior goalie Corinne Boyles has anything to say about it, this year's Boston College women's ice hockey team is going to make a name for itself around the country. She is confident the team can take the Beanpot, the Hockey East championship, and even the national championship.
A season ago, the Eagles made it to the semi-finals of the NCAA tournament where they fell to Wisconsin. Boyles sees the experience gained in that game as a building block for this year.
"It was great to make it there but it didn't go as we wanted it to," Boyles said of the loss. "It's even more of a drive this year to get back there and prove to everybody that we're better than that and we can beat anybody."
The game also taught the team what it is like to play on the big stage, as Boyles felt a bit overwhelmed the first time around. Along with the knowledge of what to expect, this year's team also has better on-ice chemistry, according to Boyles.
"It's more fluid and I just think that's a great sign," Boyles said. "This is the first year that we've been beating teams that are ranked higher us and that gives me all the more confidence."
The run at the national championship starts at the Beanpot from Boyles' perspective. She also calls it the best part of the season outside of the conference and national tournaments.
"It's a great way to get rolling towards championships. We won the Nutmeg Classic so I think building on that and getting another trophy is going to build more confidence."
This year's edition of the annual, Boston-based tournament begins Feb. 5 and is hosted by Northeastern. Right now, three of the four participants - BC, BU and Harvard - are top-five, nationally-ranked team. Despite the stiff competition, Boyles thinks the Eagles have a terrific chance to take home their fifth Beanpot title. Much of her confidence has to come from the fact that her team just ended an 85-day streak where it did not lose a game - spanning from late October until the middle of January. Over that time, the Eagles went 16-0-2. Boyles gives all the credit for the streak to the offense for scoring goals and her defenders for making her job easy.
"Once we got going, we were aware of it and wanted to keep it going; It gave us more of a push," Boyles said. "Somebody said it after one of our games that we had tied a record for not losing and from there on we just started rolling."
Late in the streak, BC pulled off a comeback win against Cornell that Boyles cites as the highlight of the team's season so far. The Eagles tied the game with under a minute to play and went onto win in overtime. Boyles was impressed that nobody gave up and everybody contributed in some way to the improbable victory.
The quality defense was a big part of the win streak, which comes from great coaching Boyles says.
"Coach Courtney Kennedy has done a good job guiding the defense to become much more effective, not only defensively, but also helping score and create plays," she explains.
Even though her defense has been solid, Boyles knows that she is the last line for the team. She also knows that there is great deal of pressure that comes with that role. It is a pressure that she savors.
"I like it; I like that there's nobody else behind me and I have to clean up everything that comes my way," Boyles said of the solitude of the crease. "It's exciting more than anything else to know that I can change the game at any minute."
The challenge of all that pressure for Boyles is being able to maintain a consistent effort game in and game out.
"It's hard because you have games Wednesday and Saturday and a hard lift early in the week. Sometimes you're tired, but you have to stay focused," Boyles said.
To keep that focus, Boyles relies on a consistent routine that keeps her sharp. She finds that doing the same thing each time allows her body to prepare for what is coming next.
"I eat the same things and get to the rink at the same time, plug in my iPod, tape my sticks and juggle a soccer ball around a little bit. Then we have team warm-up and I eat some Starburst if I'm a little hungry. Then I get dressed at the same time and the same way," Boyles said.
As her senior season hits the home stretch, the Eagles are right where Boyles expected them to be. She knew coming in it would be the most important season for her and her fellow classmates as they hope to go out on a good note.
"We want to win everything," Boyles said of the team's goals. "We want to win the regular season, we want to win the Beanpot, we want to win Hockey East, and we want to go all the way and take home the national championship."
Written by senior Eddie Lockhart