If Boston College standout Caitrin Lonergan ever needed a guide for becoming one of the best players in the country, all she had to do was look down the bench.
Lonergan credited former linemate Kristyn Capizzano and players like Kendall Coyne, Megan Keller and Cayla Barnes, current members of the gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic Team, as key examples for her own success.
“I’m a huge fan of these players, and even though I know them as people, I still think of them and look up to them as my role models,” Lonergan said.
Lonergan has been a quick study at Boston College, as one of the top scorers in the country. Her 70 points are second nationally, trailing only her linemate Daryl Watts. Lonergan leads the country in assists and game-winning goals and ranks third with 29 goals.
That has put the sophomore from Roslindale, Massachusetts on the list of 10 finalists for the prestigious Patty Kazmaier Award, presented annually to the top women’s college hockey player in the nation.
“Growing up, especially living in Boston, I’ve heard a lot about the Patty Kaz and how incredible the award is,” Lonergan said. “It’s an honor to even have my name mentioned with hers because some of the greatest players in the world have received this award. You can see how fast the sport is growing and how she left a legacy on women’s hockey in general and I think that’s pretty special.”
Prior to her time at Boston College, Lonergan spent two years with the U.S. National Under-18 Team, winning gold in 2015 and silver the previous year. She was also a member of the 2016 U.S. Women’s Under-22 Select Team and invited to Olympic team tryouts.
“It was probably the fastest hockey I ever played,” Lonergan said of the Olympic tryouts. “I played with legends of women’s hockey and it inspired me. I wanted to be just like them. They did something right in college and I want to continue that. USA Hockey is definitely a goal that I want to do, but if we keep doing the job [at Boston College] it will help with USA Hockey.”
Lonergan was a freshman in high school when she was a member of the U.S. National Under-18 Team. Lonergan played against some of the top juniors and seniors in the country, and even on a line with current Boston College teammate Makenna Newkirk. The speed of the game eventually helped her transition to college hockey.
Lonergan recorded 15 goals and 33 points her first season at Boston College, finishing her rookie season tied for second among all scoring nationally. She was named to the All-USCHO Rookie Team and a unanimous pick to the Hockey East All-Rookie Team.
Lonergan credited her coaches, along with Capizzano, for the strong rookie season.
“She inspired me every single practice and was one of the hardest workers I ever played with,” Lonergan said. “She was a great leader and she just led by example. She was definitely a player I looked up to a ton.”
Lonergan has used that experience to take on more of a leadership role her sophomore year. She has spent most of the season centering a line that features Willow Corson, daughter of former NHLer Shayne Corson, and dynamic freshman Watts.
Watts leads the nation in goals and points, while Lonergan tops the country in assists.
“Playing with Daryl has been awesome,” Lonergan said. “We had immediate chemistry and we both feed off each other. We don’t care who is scoring or getting records, we just want to win and see our teammates succeed. Winning a national title is the only goal we talk about.”
Lonergan made sure to be in peak physical condition entering the season to try and make that happen. Lonergan said she suffered a back injury that affected her play as a freshman.
“During the summer I trained to make sure the injury didn’t hold me back this season,” Lonergan said. “I did more swimming and physical therapy than skating and made sure than any impact wasn’t going to tweak it or keep me out a couple games. Being able to get my speed back and play like I played in high school has been exciting.”
It has been exciting for Boston College, too, as Lonergan has taken on more of a leadership role this season.
“I think I matured a lot more as a person just in a year, and I think that translated on the ice,” Lonergan said. “I want to make my teammates better, too, by working hard. I’m so much more confident on the ice and a lot more focused this season.”
It certainly shows. Lonergan, with points in 32 of 34 games, and multiple points in 21 contests, set the Boston College sophomore record for points and assists, and ended with the fourth-highest single-season league point total in Hockey East Association (HEA) conference history. She’s the third-fastest in program history to reach 100 point and the third sophomore to the 100-point mark.
“Personal records are exciting, but at the same time it shows how good my teammates and linemates are,” Lonergan said. “You can’t score goals alone and when you get an assist, somebody has to put the puck in the net. It’s exciting to break and hold records, but even more exciting to see our team doing well.”
Lonergan credits former teammates and gold-medal Olympians, who have helped her reach this point.
“They have worked hard to get to where they’re at and I hope one day I’m able to play with them again at a Worlds or an Olympics,” Lonergan said. “That would be awesome.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.