Women’s hockey season preview: Terriers to build off of 2018 campaign

The Terriers celebrate a goal in a meeting with Holy Cross last season. Photo by Emily Hunter, DFP Staff.
Based on the 2018 season, expectations are sky-high at Walter Brown Arena as the nation’s seventh-ranked Boston University women’s hockey team awaits the opening puck drop for the 2019-20 season on Oct. 6.

Long-time BU head coach Brian Durocher, the only head coach in BU’s D1 program history, has taken those expectations with an underdog mentality.

“I’ve talked to the ladies and said ‘if we think we’re good, we’re going to be in trouble,’” Durocher said. “If we believe we’re the underdogs and understand that we’re a team that worked as hard as we did last year then good things can happen to us.”

Last season presented an opportunity for the Terriers to gain experience on the ice and it proved to be valuable as the season progressed. The team took home its first Beanpot title since winning one as a club team in 1981, but a tough loss in the Hockey East semifinal to arch-rival Boston College sent BU packing early.

Durocher said the Terriers can build off of last season’s accomplishments and have the benefit of stability, with almost the entire 2018-19 team returning.

“Experience and depth are the first things that come to mind, the kids have certainly experienced some success,” Durocher said. “I think they can flashback and think about the things they did well. We were a real tough team throughout the majority of the season … and the depth comes from 20 of the 23 players returning.”

The Terriers finished third in the Hockey East last year with a record of 15-6-6 in the regular season before falling to the Eagles in the playoffs in Providence, Rhode Island.

This season, BU was picked to finish second in the conference in the Hockey East preseason that released on Sept. 26.  The Terriers have also been ranked at number seven in the national rankings this preseason. As Durocher said, BU is returning an experienced squad this season, including senior and 2019 Beanpot MVP Sammy Davis.

Davis, of nearby Pembroke, Massachusetts led the team in goals last season with 25, including the Beanpot-winning goal. She spread the wealth amongst her teammates as well, with 27 assists on the season to finish with the second most points in the conference.

Junior forward Jesse Compher is also returning to the team this season after being named to Team USA in the wake of earning Hockey East First Team honors last season. Davis was the primary scorer for the Terriers last season, but Compher was the ultimate facilitator for the offense with 44 assists; leading the Hockey East and tallying the second most in the country.

Durocher said Davis and Compher are the focal points of the team, but he is more excited to see how the other players around them develop.

“You [have] a kid who does a great job of moving the puck around in Jesse, and you [have] a kid who’s a power forward in Sammy…they’re the real top kids here on the team based on stats,” Durocher said. “The big thing this year for me and the exciting thing is to see who’s going to evolve and step forward this year.”

Junior Corinne Schroeder, who will be returning as goaltender, brings her invaluable experience to the team. Schroeder boasted a BU-record .933 save percentage last season, good for ninth in the nation and second in the conference.

BU is also bringing in a class of five freshman recruits, of which there are three forwards and two defenders. In this class, the Terriers have their first ever player to come from outside of North America in defender Nadia Mattivi of Italy, who plays on the Italian women’s national team.

Durocher said the goal for the freshman class is to get into a rhythm early in the season and try to ease them into tougher situations.

“They all brought good qualities to get us interested in them and I know they’ll bring them to this level, but doing it in the first game, or the first week, or the first month is not a given,” Durocher said. “Just being comfortable is important and because of the depth we have, we won’t be in a rush to force them into a power play or penalty kill.

When asked about his expectations for the season, Durocher emphasized the importance of every regular season game.

“My first thing I always point to every year is to have a great regular season body of work,” Durocher said. “If you really come to play every single game, you give yourself a chance to get in the NCAA tournament.”

The Terriers will kick off their 2019-20 campaign at Union College on Sunday, October 6 at 1pm.