Ice Hockey, Sports

Youngsters playing a key role in BU’s early success

With two more Hockey East wins in the books, the No. 8 Boston University women’s hockey team has plenty to be optimistic about. One of those reasons is the Terriers’ first and second-year talent.
As the team continues to tear through opponents, outstanding play from the freshman and sophomore classes has proved critical to BU’s success. The youngsters have not only shown they can hang with the NCAA’s best, but they have meshed with the veterans to become an invaluable element of the team’s success.’
Entering the season, BU coach Brian Durocher touted his team’s experience as a crucial weapon going forward. Now, with the Terriers firing on all cylinders, the lines of experience have been blurred. Everyone contributes.
‘Having a freshman and a senior on the same line, it’s great,’ sophomore forward Lauren Cherewyk said. ‘It’s like we don’t even have names like that. We all go on the ice, and we’re all a team.’
The m’eacute;lange of newcomers and veterans has been more rewarding than Durocher expected heading into the year. After eight games, BU’s combined seven freshmen and sophomores have accounted for 12 of BU’s 23 goals and 16 of the team’s 39 assists. Cherewyk leads the Terriers in goals with five, and freshman forward Jenelle Kohanchuk’s eight points put her in a tie for second on the team.
‘I feel it says a lot about our program,’ senior forward Erin Seman said. ‘We are attracting better players every year, more skilled players. That’s why we’re becoming a ranked team, that’s why we’re beating a number four team in the nation ‘-‘- because we’re attracting the kinds of players that are going to step up in their freshman and sophomore years.’
The meshing of talented offensive and defensive talents of all ages has allowed Durocher to use several different player combinations.
In the past two games against the No. 4 University of New Hampshire and the University of Maine, the Terriers showed that such combinations could lead to positive results against Hockey East teams. Cherewyk dealt UNH its coup de gr’acirc;ce in the third period last Thursday after assists from Seman, a senior, and Kohanchuk, a freshman. Saturday against Maine, freshman defenseman Carly Warren converted her first collegiate goal with assists from sophomore Jillian Kirchner and senior Gina Kearns.
‘I think it’s something that’s been there all year,’ Seman said of the connection between the upperclassmen and freshmen and sophomores. ‘In practice we feel that we have pretty good chemistry, and finally it’s starting to go our way.’
The Terrier freshmen have been especially surprising for Durocher. BU’s three rookie defensemen ‘-‘- Warren, Kasey Boucher and Tara Watchorn ‘-‘- allow the team to play a faster, more athletic game, Durocher said. He also said Kohanchuk has exceeded expectations with her versatility and offensive skills.
‘It’s fantastic that they’re doing a great job,’ Durocher said of his four freshmen. ‘I think we felt they were talented players, but you don’t want to put the cart before the horse.’
Premium performances by younger players stem from the Terriers’ selfless, team-oriented style of play. First-year players have immediately meshed with veterans, and everyone has had a hand in the team’s success. BU veterans trust first- and second-year players, and that trust has allowed these new talents to blossom.
Most importantly, it has spelled victory against top opponents.

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