Oct. 6, 2011
Chestnut Hill, Mass. -The Boston College women's ice hockey team is set to begin its 2011-12 season, when the Eagles travel to Duluth, Minn. for a two-game series against the Bulldogs beginning on Saturday, Oct. 8 at 4 p.m. Before BC departs for the Land of 10,000 Lakes, Head Coach Katie King Crowley sat down to discuss a few things about the Maroon and Gold for the upcoming season.
What is the legacy of the Class of 2011?
"Last season was one of our best seasons we've ever had at BC. It was an amazing run for everyone. The younger kids had the opportunity to feel what it's like to reach the Frozen Four and all the experiences that came with it. The four seniors - Megan Hart, Katelyn Kurth, Molly Schuas and Kelli Stack - were such a great group. They were leaders and were able to show their teammates the way to work and go about doing the right things to get us to the point we did. Kelli and Molly being Olympians, I believe the first to come through BC, have certainly left a mark on our program. I can't say enough about what those two, Kurth and Hart did to develop our program and get it to where it is today. Hopefully, we can continue to carry on the pride and work ethic they put forth over their careers and continue to improve on how we did last year."
Seven of the first 10 games are against teams ranked in the preseason polls. Is Boston College looking to add to its strength of schedule as the program continues to grow?
"We're in a good spot where we can play a lot of really good teams and it's nice to have strength in your schedule. I'm happy we're playing some tough teams. I think you will find some of them will move in and out of the polls, for instance Northeastern will be one of the teams that gets into the top 10 at some point this season. We're opening at Duluth, who is No. 7 in the latest polls. It's always nice to go out, play WCHA and get a feel for the way teams play out west versus back east. The Hockey East and the WCHA are so competitive, that it's great to get these matchups between these two conferences. When you look at the schedules, more and more, the Hockey East and WCHA are trying to get games against the other. We'll see whose league is going to step up to the plate. Our kids are definitely excited about going out there. It's an opportunity for two of our seniors from Minnesota to go home and be able to play in front of some of their family and friends that may not be able to come out to Boston. We just have to be prepared and ready to go."
Who are the captains this year?
"Mary Restuccia, Andrea Green and Danielle Welch are our captains. They have different styles of leadership and I think will come together to be a very powerful group. We're excited to see how far they can take us and where they will take us. The team is very receptive to what they have to say. They've been around our program for four years and have been intricate pieces in their own way. Mary logs a lot of minutes and shows herself as a leader on the ice. Andrea is more vocal and emerges more in the locker room. She's the voice and spark plug on our team. When something needs to be said, the team looks to her to say it. Danielle Welch shares both qualities the other two have. I think it's a good combination of leaders and I am excited to see how they move forward."
What have some of the other seniors brought to the table?
"We do have a pretty big class of seniors. All of our seniors have been through a roller coaster ride in their first three years. After taking up defense last year, without ever having played defense before, Alison Szlosek stepping up her game and playing really well for us back there. We're excited to see how she progresses and to have her, as well as Jessica Martino and Kristin Regan back on defense. Jess has been to the Frozen Four two times now, so it's great to have her experience back there. The seniors have been through a lot and now are looking forward to getting our first national championship."
Nearly three-fourths of the offense from 2010-11 is returning. What can we expect from them?
"This year will be more goals by committee. I think we'll be a much deeper team and more kids will be putting pucks in the back of the net. Every line will be able to score. Every line will be able to produce something. Ashley Motherwell, Taylor Wasylk, Melissa Bizzari are coming back. They are a powerful group of forwards. It's really fun to watch them every day, especially with the inclusion with some of our freshmen, such as Alex Carpenter, Emily Fields and Kate Leary. They've always been driven to score goals and we're going to look for them to produce some in college. It's fun to see them so far and we're excited to see where they go from her."
Does the defense have more depth as well?
"I think our defensive core has grown. With the kids that were here last year being a little bit older, smarter and stronger, we have a lot of defense on our team this year. There's a lot of competition back there and a lot of fighting for limited spots. Overall, I think that creates a stronger unit. Blake Bolden played really well at the end of last season. Dru Burns is a really good defenseman. Defenders don't get a lot of recognition, unless they have a lot of points, but I really believe in our defensive core. They're a great group of kids, who happen to be solid hockey players. They are going to play defense the way it should be played, so they will make it easier for our offense to transition into scoring goals."
The defense was one of the best in the country last year. Is it possible to be better this season?
"Courtney does a great job with the defense, teaching them the way it's meant to be played. The defense takes their job very seriously in terms of know that we need to play defense before we can move into offense. I'm excited to see Kiera Kingston and Corinne Boyles in net this year. They haven't logged that many minutes, but I think they're going to do a great job for us. With this defense in front of them, I think they'll find it's a little bit easier for them than a few years ago."
What attributes distinguish the goal keepers?
"Kiera and Corrine do have different styles. Kiera is very technical, while Boyles is more instinctive. Kiera will always do things with the right method in mind, more by the book, and put herself in the best position to make a save. Boyles relies more on her athleticism to get in position and stop the puck. They are completely different, but both are extremely competitive and challenging for the job. They are great kids and are really going to help our team."
What have you seen out of the freshman class so far?
It's always interesting to see how the younger kids raise their game and develop once they get to college. Whether it's this year or next year, we're excited to see that happen. They've all performed well for their teams in the past. Some have played for Team USA and U18 teams. We can see how this group continues to get better and better after just a few weeks of practice. They work extremely hard, typically the first ones on and last ones off the ice. They want to help bring this team to the next level and keep us there. When you're youngest kids have the drive to really make your team better, it's exciting for coaches."