All eyes in the world of women’s hockey are on Alex Carpenter. She’s just coming off a sensational 2014-15 campaign, as she earned the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award for the best player in NCAA women’s hockey. The New York Riveters saw her talent, making her the first overall pick of the new National Women’s Hockey League. Carpenter is arguably the face of the sport. Most would crack under the pressure, but instead Carpenter is thriving, leading Boston College to victory against the University of Minnesota-Duluth, 4-2.
Neither team had much of an advantage over the other at the start. After several shot attempts by the Eagles and Bulldogs in the first period, BC’s Meghan Grieves passed to Megan Keller, who shot hard into the back of the net. Keller’s first goal of the season evaded Duluth goalie Maddie Rooney, who was still reeling after Keller’s initial deflected shot.
Carpenter found her offensive stride toward the end of the second period, setting off a successful campaign for a hat trick. Her feat comes almost a year to the day since the Eagles scored their last hat trick, which came from fellow senior Lexi Bender. Her first goal came easily, as she was looking for someone to pass to, but instead found a shot, sending the puck far into the back corner.
Duluth took advantage of the lax celebratory defense and scored its second goal of the series, making the score 2-1. As goalie Katie Burt was recovering from another shot on goal, Michela Cava snuck the puck behind Burt for an easy score.
Carpenter answered seconds later with her second goal of the game. After receiving a pass from Makenna Newkirk, Carpenter shot into a narrow spot in between the goalie and the right pipe.
The Bulldogs crept back up on the Eagles again in the third period, when Duluth forward Maria Lindh scored in a miniscule space in the right corner. Burt was visibly upset by the goal, which made its way in by sheer luck. Lindh’s goal put the pressure on the Eagles again to make the deficit wider, but BC’s defense held up enough to prevent another goal from the Bulldogs.
With 11 seconds left, Carpenter scored from far out on a wide-open net, finally earning her hat trick. “We were a really good goal scoring team last year but I think obviously we can improve on that,” Carpenter said.
Probably some good advice, as the Eagles went 34-3-2 last season with 192 goals and are now ranked No. 2 in the country. Head coach Katie Crowley weighed in on Carpenter’s importance to the team after her impressive performance. “She makes things happen when she’s out there,” Crowley said. “I’m happy she plays for us.”
The Eagles played a much closer game against Duluth than the first in the two-game series, which the Eagles won, 4-1. BC put up 31 shots to the Bulldogs’ 23, but the Bulldogs showed more offensive promise in the second game, beating out the Eagles’ 33 shot count with 34. This can partly be attributed to BC’s defense, which has faltered toward the end of games so far this season. “We have to buckle down on our defense and make improvements back there,” Crowley said.
The sky’s the limit for Alex Carpenter. As a senior, she will have to decide whether to play professionally or go a different path. For now, Carpenter’s job is to keep on scoring for the Eagles.
Featured Image by Daniella Fasciano / Heights Editor