Welcome to the Heights’ 2018-19 Boston College Hockey Season Preview. Click through the tabs below for roster breakdowns, features on assorted players, and expectations for both the men and women’s squads.

Yes, three household names have graduated, but it’s still pretty clear what head coach Katie Crowley and the Eagles have their sights on, and you can’t blame them. BC was able to watch three defensemen go to the Olympics and still managed to make it to the NCAA Tournament in 2017-18 with its third-best record ever—and it’s third 30-win season nonetheless—so bringing that trio back alongside a strong freshman class and an experienced transfer in Lindsay Agnew, the Eagles should feel confident about their chances. The window is and has been open for BC.

INCOMING

EXPERIENCED: F Lindsay Agnew (transfer from Minnesota), D Megan Keller (returns after Olympic duty), D Kali Flanagan (Olympics), and D Cayla Barnes (Olympics)

FRESHMAN: GK Maddy McArthur (member of Canada U-18s), F Kelly Browne (member of U.S. U-18s), D Jillian Fey, F Olivia Finocchiaro, F Savannah Norcross, and GK Kelly Pickreign

DEPARTING

GK Katie Burt (four-year starter, NCAA wins record), F Kenzie Kent (dual-sport star), and D Toni Ann Miano (one of most decorated defensemen in BC history)

BC is the overwhelming favorite to claim its sixth-consecutive regular season title, having received nine of a possible 10 first-place votes. No. 9 Northeastern, which received the other first place and was one of just two teams to beat the Eagles in conference play last season, is likely to be the BC’s chief competitor for the title. The third and fourth placed teams—Maine and Providence—are the other Hockey East teams that earned votes in the latest USCHO poll.

BU, which always plays the Eagles close, received the fifth-most votes after losing Victoria Bach, Hockey East’s leading scorer in 2017-18. The Terriers are followed by UConn, which ended BC’s Hockey East tournament run with a stunning 4-2 upset victory in the conference semifinals and will surely be looking to play spoiler for the second year in a row.

New Hampshire—the other team to beat the Eagles in Hockey East play in 2017-18—Vermont, and Merrimack occupy the next three spots. And finally, Holy Cross, a team that only became a full-fledged Division I women’s hockey program in October 2016, was picked to finish last in its first season as a member of Hockey East.

— Peter Kim, Asst. Sports Editor

A NCAA Tournament Run

BC backs up its preseason hype, piling up non-conference wins and steals enough games against the likes of preseason top-10 opponents in Providence and BU to take the regular season crown. Read more.

Another Early, Disappointing Exit

Stuck in an arms race with the likes of Providence and BU, BC just can’t quite keep up. The Eagles have all the depth in the world, but the entire course of last season could repeat itself—plenty of promise but an early exit in the postseason. Read more.

Men's Hockey

BC has missed college hockey’s biggest stage back-to-back seasons, a rarity in head coach Jerry York’s 24-year tenure on the Heights. This year, outside of the five incoming freshman—several of which should have chances to play big roles—York has a locked-in set of players. Logan Hutsko has proven he’s a fledgling star, and Michael Kim, Casey Fitzgerald, and Joe Woll will once again anchor the defense. When almost the entire roster is coming back and the incoming freshman class is one of the best in the country, hopes are high—all the way up to being picked to win Hockey East and earning first place votes in the national polls.

INCOMING

F Oliver Wahlstrom (11th overall pick in 2018 NHL Entry Draft)
F Patrick Giles (member of U.S. U-18s)
F Jack McBain (member of Canada U-18s, third-round NHL pick),
D Adam Samuelsson (U.S. U-18s),
F Marc McLaughlin

DEPARTING

D Kevin Lohan (former graduate transfer from Michigan)

The Eagles received the most first-place votes (five) and total votes, ahead of Providence, which received four first-place votes of its own. The Friars, along with Boston University and Northeastern, are likely to provide the greatest tests in the Eagles’ quest for at least a share of a fourth-straight Hockey East regular season title. After all, it was the Terriers who ended BC’s season in overtime of the conference tournament semifinals, and the Huskies who dominated the Eagles in the first round of the Beanpot, beating them, 3-0.

Providence claimed the No. 4 spot in the first USCHO poll of the season, while the Terriers checked in at No. 8, and the Huskies slid in just behind the No. 12 Eagles at No. 15. BC will likely have to improve on its 4-5 combined record against those three teams from a year ago if it wants to, once again, be considered the king of Hockey East.

Maine received the fifth-most votes, followed closely by the two other Massachusetts schools, UMass and UMass Lowell. UConn, which beat BC, 5-3, the last time the two teams met, holds the eighth spot. New Hampshire, Vermont—which just upset No. 9 Michigan to begin the season—and Merrimack round out the poll.

— Peter Kim, Asst. Sports Editor

men's hockey

A NCAA Tournament Run

BC backs up its preseason hype, piling up non-conference wins and steals enough games against the likes of preseason top-10 opponents in Providence and BU to take the regular season crown. Read more.

Another Early, Disappointing Exit

Stuck in an arms race with the likes of Providence and BU, BC just can’t quite keep up. The Eagles have all the depth in the world, but the entire course of last season could repeat itself—plenty of promise but an early exit in the postseason. Read more.

 

It’s not often that two of the most exciting young players in college hockey reside on the same campus, but fans of the Eagles have that luxury.

Watts is coming off of a remarkable freshman campaign that was easily one of the best in Division I women’s hockey history for a first-year, wracking up 42 goals and 40 assists for an incredible 82-point season. The remarkable run that easily earned her the Patty Kazmaier Award for the best NCAA women’s hockey player, period. She led the nation in scoring wire-to-wire, became the first player in Hockey East history to win both Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year honors, and set numerous other records.

Hutsko, meanwhile, coming off back-to-back season-ending injuries, had a breakout season, pacing the BC offense with 12 goals and 19 assists en route to Hockey East Rookie of the Year honors. His freshman campaign with the Eagles didn’t go unnoticed, either. A former U.S. National Team Developmental Program player, Hutsko’s 31 points were good for the eighth-most by a freshman in the country. His strong effort was rewarded by the Florida Panthers taking him in the third round—89th overall—of the NHL Entry Draft.

— Bradley Smart, Assoc. Sports Editor

This past winter, Boston College hockey sent six skaters—current and former—to the 2018 Olympic Games. Brian Gionta was the only men’s hockey alumnus to book a ticket to Pyeongchang. Women’s hockey, on the other hand, accounted for more than a fifth of the Team U.S.A. roster: Emily Pfalzer, BC ’15, Haley Skarupa, BC ’16, Megan Keller, BC ’19, Kali Flanagan, BC ’19, and Cayla Barnes, BC ’22 all made the cut. The five Eagles represented the largest contingent BC had sent to the Olympics in school history. They all played in each of Team U.S.A.’s five tournament games, and the Eagles’ four defenseman—Pfalzer, Keller, Flanagan, and Barnes—logged major minutes in the gold medal game, particularly during the 4-on-4 overtime period.

Keller led the group with two points over the course of the Games, recording a pair of assists. Team U.S.A.’s thrilling shootout victory upped the program’s medal count to eight. What’s even more impressive, however, is that the five Eagles are the first BC athletes to win gold since 1956. Three of them—Keller, Flanagan, and Barnes—are back on the Heights this fall, ready to share a similar championship experience at the collegiate level.

— Andy Backstrom, Sports Editor

boston college hockey

Click the banner above (or the names to the right) for our features on Michael Kim, Makenna Newkirk, Logan Hutsko, Delaney Belinskas, Oliver Wahlstrom, and Kali Flanagan.