Ice Hockey, Sports

Terriers land ?Sidney Crosby of women?s hockey?

The Boston University men’s hockey team will have its usual fair share of highly touted recruits arriving on campus this fall, but the most hyped and most accomplished incoming freshman will be suiting up for the women’s team.

Marie-Philip Poulin, who has been dubbed the “Sidney Crosby of women’s hockey” by Canadian media, has committed to BU for the 2010-11 season, according to The Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald.

The BU athletic department could not comment on Poulin due to restrictions on discussing recruits.

At 18 years old, Poulin was the youngest member of the Canadian Olympic team that won gold in Vancouver. The Beauceville, Quebec native scored both goals for Canada in its 2-0 win over the United States in the gold-medal game and was named a tournament all-star after notching five goals and two assists in five games.

“That’s what people are talking about, that she’s the Sidney Crosby of women’s hockey,” Canadian goalie Kim St. Pierre told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation prior to the medal round.

“I kind of believe it. She’s only 18, and she’s already making [The Sports Network] highlights and other highlights. I think she has the talent to become the best for sure.”

Poulin made her first big splash in international waters at the 2008 IIHF World Women’s U18 Championship in Calgary. As a 16-year-old, she led the silver medal-winning Canadians in scoring with eight goals and six assists in five games and was named the tournament’s top forward. Over the next season-plus, she became the U18 team’s all-time leading scorer with 31 points in 17 games.

Prior to joining the U18 team, Poulin played for the Montreal Stars of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League for the first half of the 2007-08 season. Despite appearing in just 16 games before leaving for the U18 squad, she led all rookies in scoring with 22 goals and 21 assists and finished second in Most Valuable Player voting.

Poulin returned to the Stars for the end of the 2008-09 season and helped them win the league championship. She also played for her school, Dawson College, that year.

On Sept. 28, 2008, Dawson College visited Walter Brown Arena for an exhibition game against the Terriers. Poulin tallied an assist in that game, a 5-4 BU win.

Poulin won’t be the only new star donning the scarlet and white this season. BU is also expected to add fellow Canadian Olympian Catherine Ward and former University of New Hampshire standout Jenn Wakefield.

The athletic department could not comment on them, either.

Ward, a 23-year-old defenseman, led Canada in ice time at the Olympics and tied for first among all players with a plus-15 rating. She also registered two goals and two assists in five games.

Prior to that, Ward was a three-time first-team all-Canadian for McGill University of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport. She helped lead McGill to back-to-back CIS titles in 2008 and 2009, earning championship MVP honors in 2009.

After recording 95 points in two years at UNH, Wakefield, a 20-year-old forward, sat out last season to train with the Canadian Olympic team, for which she served as a substitute. She decided to transfer to BU in January, as first reported by USCHO.com.

Wakefield was named a Hockey East First-Team All-Star in each of her two seasons with the Wildcats and also garnered Rookie of the Year honors in 2007-08. In 2008-09, she was chosen as one of 10 finalists for the Patty Kazmaier Award, given annually to the top player in the country.

After BU won its first Hockey East title and made its first NCAA Tournament appearance last season, Poulin, Ward and Wakefield should help ensure that the five-year-old program continues its rapid ascent to national prominence.

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