What’s it like adjusting to playing against Division I competition game in and game out?
A lot of the girls are a lot stronger and smarter with the puck, and you realize that everything is more structured. There’s more to think about in the offensive zone, more emphasis on forechecking, and there’s a lot more to defensive coverage in your own zone. It’s a little overwhelming, but you get used to it after a couple of games.
A big part of producing on the ice is cohesion with your linemates and your teammates. How’s the process been for you so far?
We’ve actually been switching the lines up a lot, and it’s good, because we’re getting used to playing with other people. Our team tends to, uh, get more penalties than others [laughs]. And in general, the rules have changed a little bit, leading to more power plays – so you need to play with even more people because you need to get used to playing with others on the power play and on the penalty kill.
Since there are 7 new freshmen, we’ve learned more and more about other people and how they play on the ice, and where they’re going to be.
The rule changes and emphasis changes have greatly impacted both the men’s and the women’s game this year. Can you talk about how some of the rule changes have affected games this year?
There’s the rule about icing the puck, where if your team ices it, you can’t make a line change. That’s supposed to give the advantage to the team that didn’t ice the puck, making the defensive team tired. That’s a lot different, because if you’re tired, your first instinct is to ice the puck, but you can’t do that anymore.
There are some teams in Hockey East who made a strategy out of doing just that for an entire game.
Yeah, it’s good to an extent. But there are times when you get a little tired.
As far as penalties go, there are a lot more calls on lifted sticks this year – I think it would be really difficult to be a defenseman now, since in girls hockey, you can’t use the body the way they do in the men’s game. Your last resort was to use the stick, but now you can’t do that, so defensemen need to find alternate ways to move people out or get the puck away from the attacking player.
Discuss your first collegiate goal [Sunday against RPI].
Playing with Fards [Meghan Fardelmann] and [Andrea] Green, they’re both completely different players. I think Green and I are similar players, but Fards is always go go go, and she pretty much got to the puck and got it out of the zone, since she’s really fast and can beat anyone to any puck. She got the puck to me and Green was going hard to the net. I figured if I shot it, she’d get the rebound, or if not, [the goalie] would cover it up. But luckily it went in.
Describe your playing style. What do you expect to contribute to the team?
I don’t tend to shoot the puck that much. If I’m playing with players who can put the puck in the net, I’d always move the puck instead of shooting it. But our team is having trouble with getting shots on the board, so shooting is something we need to do more of. Hopefully I’ll be able to contribute by playing good defense.
Also, if I’m playing with someone like Fards, she’s really aggressive and likes to go down low, so I’ll stay back and watch how that develops… you need to know who you’re playing with, and the way they play, so you can fill your role on the ice.
Hopefully I can give something to the team in different ways than just offense.
Who are some of the vocal leaders on the team? And who leads by example?
Our leaders are Tracy Johnson, Maggie Taverna, and Colleen Harris. They’re all really great people – they’re definitely leaders in many ways, especially for freshmen. The whole team is really welcoming, but you can tell those three are the leaders on the ice and off.
Our team gets along really, really well. Usually on teams there are issues where someone doesn’t like someone else, or maybe they think ‘oh, I don’t like her, she scores too much,’ but it’s not like that on our team. It’s been a welcoming atmosphere from the beginning. Everyone knows their role and gets along well.
Getting adjusted to school in general is often as hard as getting adjusted on the ice. How has that been for you so far?
It’s been kind of difficult. I feel like the professors expect a lot from you – some don’t understand that you take 4 other classes aside from theirs. But we do have 6 hours of study hall per week, and we tend to get our work done.
To me, the big thing that you have to learn how to do is approach things differently [than you did in high school]. In high school, it’s memorize this, memorize that. Here, they try to make you think about things. You need to get over the way you did things in high school, which is basically trying to memorize everything to get ready for a test. Here they’re going to ask you questions where they want you to think about something from your own perspective.
Do you have a major yet?
No, I’m just testing the waters right now.
You mentioned the six hours of study hall. Talk a little bit about what BC does to help student-athletes in the classroom, and how much of an impact do you think that has?
It’s great. We have the student-athlete center, and each team has its own student advisor. We have Mariette, who is the advisor for women’s hockey, men’s hockey, soccer, field hockey, and maybe one other sport. We meet with her once a week and tell her how our classes are going, what we got on our tests. She helps us out a lot.
With the six hours of study hall, between Sunday and Thursday you need to log in your time in study hall and spend at least six hours. It’s good because there are other athletes there who might be in your classes, so they can help you out.
How is training and strength & conditioning different here than in high school?
In high school I went away to prep school for half a year, where we did a lot of training, so it’s pretty similar. But our trainers like you to do things their way - all trainers are different in the way they approach things. They really help us out, though. If they tell us we’re doing something wrong, it’s so we get better, it’s not to pick on you. I feel like they really like our team and want us to improve.
Few people outside of the hockey community know much about the North American Hockey Academy [NAHA]. For those not familiar, talk a little bit about their program and what it does to help hockey players prepare for college.
NAHA is in Stowe, Vermont, which is kind of its own little world. It’s a pretty neat situation. The head coach of the team, Bill Driscoll, is a great guy. He made this academy to encourage girls to play hockey. It started off pretty slow, but it’s been around for over ten years now.
Basically, it’s a school that you attend for either a full year or a half year. You can do a full year, like a normal prep school, or you can go from October to March, which is what I did. You go to your school at home from September to October, and March to June, and spend October to March at NAHA.
You bring your curriculum from home. You email your teachers at home and stay up with what books they’re reading, what chapter they’re on in math, stuff like that.
During the day we’ll have school from 7:45-12, then have lunch, then go to practice 3-4 days a week, depending on our game situation. Nobody ever came to play in Stowe – we were always traveling. We were in a league last year with teams from Calgary. It’s really busy, we play in different tournaments all over the country. Last year we played 86 games in a season.
It’s all girls – there’s 40 girls split on two teams. The red team is the younger girls, and they want to play for the white team, which is where the older girls are. It’s a really great program – living with all those girls, they become like family.
When did BC first contact you?
Back a couple of years ago, I was at a National Development team camp, and Courtney [Kennedy] was one of my coaches. I really liked her, and knew she would be an assistant coach here, which helped.
Kinger [head coach Katie King] contacted me by email and got in touch with my coach at NAHA and said she was interested. I came to visit and I really liked the campus, and knowing that I could come here for hockey while getting a great education was a deciding factor. I didn’t just want to come for hockey. When I graduate, I want people to say, “oh, she went to BC, and she was a student-athlete. Maybe I should hire her.” [laughs]
How did you start playing as a kid? Did it run in the family?
I have two brothers, one who’s two years older and another who’s five years younger. My brother Mike, the older one, started to play, and of course I always wanted to do everything that he did, so I decided to play and follow in his footsteps.
Finally, in 4 years when you graduate from BC and look back on your time here, what do you want to have accomplished?
I want to be able to say that I made a lot of friends, and made the most of my opportunities here. I want to have given 100% to hockey and to school, and I want to make sure I don’t sell myself short of what I could have gotten out of my time at BC.