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Kaz Watch: Alex Carpenter Builds Upon Her Strong Legacy at B.C.

03/08/2016, 2:45pm MST
By Doug Williams - Special to USAHockey.com

Last year’s Patty Kazmaier Award winner leads the undefeated Eagles into the NCAA Tournament

An award of The USA Hockey Foundation, the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award is presented annually to the top player in NCAA Division I women’s ice hockey.

As usual, Alex Carpenter had a big weekend for Boston College.

On Sunday, she had two goals and an assist as the top-ranked and undefeated Eagles clinched their second Hockey East championship with a 5-0 victory over Boston University.

The night before, the reigning Patty Kazmaier Award winner had a goal and assist in a 4-2 victory over the University of Connecticut.

It’s what Boston College fans have come to expect from the school’s all-time leader in points, goals and assists.

Boston College is now 38-0, the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and on a quest to win an elusive NCAA title.

In Carpenter’s three previous seasons, the Eagles have reached the Frozen Four but have come up short. This season, Carpenter and her teammates have said often they have a new approach: to focus on each game in front of them and tune out recent history.

“A big part of our success this year has been not dwelling on what’s happened in the past,” Carpenter told a Boston Globe reporter after Sunday’s clinching win.

So far, it’s a winning formula.

The top-ranked Eagles will play host to Northeastern University on Saturday in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals. It’s a star-studded B.C. group that includes Carpenter, goaltender Katie Burt, defender Megan Keller, and high-scoring forwards Haley Skarupa, Dana Trivigno, Kenzie Kent and Makenna Newkirk.

Yet even on a talented roster, Carpenter has stood out since her freshman season in 2011-12, when she led her team in scoring with 40 points (including 22 goals).

Carpenter followed up with 70 points (32 goals) as a sophomore, 81 points (37 goals) as a junior and has 82 points (41 goals) as a senior. She also led the U.S. Olympic Team at Sochi with four goals in 2014 (when she took a season off between her sophomore and junior years).

She won the Kazmaier Award last season and is a top-three finalist for the award this season. She ranks No. 5 all-time on the NCAA points list and No. 2 in the Hockey East.

Yet as Carpenter continues to play brilliant hockey, her coach, Katie Crowley, says Carpenter is much more than a scoring machine.

Crowley will of course remember Carpenter for her skills on the ice and how she’s improved. She’s put in time in the weight room and raised her game to the level of her older Boston College and Olympic teammates. Crowley says Carpenter also brings a tremendous “intensity and competitiveness to the rink every single day.”

But Crowley says Carpenter’s growth as a leader is something most observers don’t see.

“She’s not necessarily the kid that’s going to be rah-rah in the locker room, but she’ll pull people aside and do things individually,” Crowley said. “Even if it’s shooting one day or going out on the ice early and passing to them. … Little things like that. She’ll take the initiative and do that with other players on her team, which is kind of cool.”

Crowley also cites a game against Syracuse University in December to illustrate her point that Carpenter wants the best for her teammates.

In that game, Carpenter scored four goals in a 7-2 victory, but it was something else she did that game that Crowley will remember.

Skarupa was closing in on 200 career points, and Carpenter wanted to help her line mate reach it.

“You could see Alex just trying to feed Haley the puck at times when she was in position to score, or if Haley gave her the puck, she was really trying to score,” recalled Crowley. “You could tell that was important to her, that Haley get that milestone.”

Added Crowley: “It’s fun to see how excited she gets about other people’s accolades.”

Crowley puts Carpenter among the top players she’s ever had at B.C., up with two-time Olympians Kelli Stack, a forward, and Molly Schaus, a goaltender.

“They’re just so unique, and I think it’s ironic they were on the same line on the Olympic team the last go-around,” Crowley said. “I would have loved to have both of them here together. … They are both such dynamic players.”

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

Photo by John Quackenbos/BC Athletics

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