The Boston College women’s hockey season ended in heartbreaking fashion on Saturday with an overtime loss to Clarkson in the NCAA Tournament. The loss marked the conclusion of a promising campaign for the Eagles, and while the team will lose some talented seniors, another great season looks to be on the horizon.
The Eagles finished their season with a 26-12-1 record which included an impressive 17-1-0 mark at home. The Eagles were dominant throughout most of the regular season, but struggled a bit against other highly-ranked teams, going 5-6-0 against Top 10 teams, including close losses to No. 3 Northeastern in the Hockey East Final and No. 4 Clarkson in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Eagles have consistently been a national powerhouse over the past few seasons, but will need to replace two of their top three points scorers in Megan Keller and Makenna Newkirk, who contributed 43 and 40 points (combined goals and assists) respectively over this season.
While these key contributors will be hard to replace, the presence of star sophomore Daryl Watts will no doubt soften the blow. Watts had a team-high 48 points over the course of the season and simply makes the Eagles’ offense work. Watts is a supremely talented offensive player whose 22 goals and 26 assists ranked first and second on the team, respectively.
Simply put, this offense runs through Daryl Watts. Her elite scoring and passing abilities make it difficult for opposing teams to remove her from the action, opening up opportunities for the rest of the offensive attack. As long as Watts is around, the Eagles should be able to maintain their status as one of the nation’s elite teams.
The Eagles will also be buoyed by a deep roster that should be able to seamlessly replace departing seniors. Caitrin Lonergan, Lindsay Agnew, and Kelly Browne all pitched in over 25 points, with three other Eagles adding 20 or more. This should enable the Eagles to replace the production that they are losing, and the year-to-year improvement of the aforementioned players will do the team some favors as well.
The Eagles will also retain freshman goalie Maddy McArthur, providing some consistency at perhaps the most important position in hockey. McArthur started 35 games for the Eagles this season and was impressive throughout, posting a 91.2% save percentage and finishing with a 23-11-1 record.
As one of the nation’s premier programs, the Eagles will most likely have a strong recruiting class as well. Although recruits have not yet signed officially, the Eagles consistently bring in strong freshman classes. However, it is impossible at this point to make definitive statements on the incoming freshman class, although recent history and national status should encourage Boston College fans.
All in all, this was a successful season for the Eagles. Despite losing in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Boston College was one of only eight teams selected to participate, a remarkable achievement in its own right. However, expectations for Boston College hockey are always high, and the Eagles hope to make it further than the first round next season. Although losing Megan Keller and Makenna Newkirk will hurt, the Eagles seem to have what it takes to elevate their level of play next season in search of a national title.
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