Ice Hockey, Sports

And so it begins

In its fourth year as an NCAA Division I program, the Boston University women’s ice hockey team may be on the verge of a breakthrough. The Terriers have made great strides over the past three seasons, and BU coach Brian Durocher thinks that progress can translate to triumph in Hockey East this year.
With a 5-4 exhibition win over Dawson College in their back pocket, the women will start the regular season with two non-conference road games this weekend. The Terriers travel to upstate New York to take on Union College tonight followed by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute tomorrow.
The key to a successful start is confidence.
‘We need to start to believe that we can be an upper level team,’ Durocher said. ‘I was surprised at our ability to stay in games last year against upper echelon teams.’
Durocher was referring to the 13 games the Terriers played last year against nationally ranked teams. BU secured its first-ever Hockey East playoff appearance after finishing in third place with an 11-9-1 conference record, but it was eliminated in the first round by the University of New Hampshire.’ ‘ ‘
This year, Durocher hopes his team can surprise Hockey East with a balance of athleticism and veteran poise.
BU adds four freshmen to a roster that boasts plenty of collegiate experience. Durocher expects the foundation of 10 seniors and seven juniors to be a crucial factor in the team’s success.’ ‘ ‘
‘Our main thing is experience,’ Durocher said. ‘We have a lot of kids who have played college hockey for at least two years. A lot have playoff experience, and we’re looking forward to some breakout years.’
Senior goaltender Allyse Wilcox and junior forward Melissa Anderson will look to build on standout individual performances last season in an effort to get the Terriers to the top of the conference.’ ‘
Wilcox, whom Durocher calls ‘the best goalie in the league,’ earned First-Team All-Conference honors last year with a .925 save percentage and a 1.96 goals-against average.
Anderson will lead the front line one year after being named a Second-Team All-Hockey East selection. She led the team with 29 points in 2007-08, and Durocher said the offensive attack will be supported by a talented set of forwards this season.’ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘
Back-to-back non-conference wins this weekend would give the Terriers some needed momentum before leaping into the fray for a Hockey East title.’
Durocher likes his team’s chances heading into the first two games. The Terriers open the regular season against a Union team that is ‘still climbing up the ladder,’ Durocher said. Union posted a 3-27-2 record out of the Eastern College Athletic Conference last year.’ ‘
Durocher said that although Union is a young team, the Terriers cannot be complacent and let a win slip away.
‘On paper, maybe we’re supposed to win,’ he said. ‘But we’re trying to keep that out of our thought process.” ‘ ‘
The Terriers face a greater challenge tomorrow against another ECAC foe in RPI, which finished last season with a 13-15-5 record. Durocher expects tomorrow’s game to be an evenly matched contest.
‘They are definitely better on paper than Union, so maybe that progression will benefit us,’ Durocher said.
Like the Terriers, the RPI women’s hockey program is in its fourth year as an NCAA Division I team. The clubs have met four times over that span, splitting the series at two games apiece.

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