The shadow cast by Alex Carpenter’s spotlight is large.
By the time this women’s hockey season is over, the Boston College senior will own basically every school scoring record known to womankind.
Among her myriad achievements and records, she ranks in top five all-time in NCAA scoring with 276 points, holds the school record for points, goals (134), assists (142) and is No. 2 in Hockey East league scoring.
One of three finalists for the Patty Kazmaier Award, Carpenter could be the first player to win the honor in consecutive years and only the second recipient to also play on an unbeaten team. Amanda Kessel first pulled off the historic double-whammy for Minnesota’s 42-0 team back in 2012-2013. BC is 39-0-0.
Her biggest threat for the Kaz may be longtime rival Kendall Coyne of Northeastern, which lost to the Eagles 5-1 on Saturday in an NCAA Tournament quarterfinal. BC punched its ticket to its sixth Frozen Four in program history and its fifth in the last six seasons as Carpenter tallied two goals and an assist.
Carpenter‘s coach, Katie King Crowley, calls her a once-in-a-lifetime talent. Carpenter’s inevitable date with the history books is one reason the New York Times was at BC this month interviewing her. Several other media outlets also called.
She is the star among stars — humbly, grudgingly — granting interviews to talk about herself and her accolades.
It’s her least favorite part of hockey.
“She’s the one who is first on the ice for practice and always trying some new move she saw watching the NHL,” Crowley said. “She’s blown away every record you can have at BC and done a phenomenal job on and off the ice. She’s that player you want on your team. She wants to win and for her team to be successful.
“For a coach to have two players like them is pretty incredible.”
Carpenter’s spotlight, as mentioned, casts a fifth-Beetles-like shadow. And if Carpenter wasn’t rewriting record books, linemate Haley Skarupa would. Skarupa, the nation’s third-leading scorer, ranks 16th all-time in NCAA scoring, third in Hockey East only and second in BC scoring (238 points) and assists (126). She had a goal and three assists against Northeastern on Saturday.
So put yourself in her skates: Skarupa has put together one of the best college hockey careers ever at BC — and she’s No. 2 on her own line and team. (Crowley said the duo will remain together for the postseason despite playing nearly half the season on different lines to give the team more scoring depth).
Tonya Harding may have clipped Carpenter by now, but Skarupa just laughs at the suggestion she could be jealous of her friend’s success.
“It’s really not a big deal,” she said.
But still … Skarupa is Pippen to Jordan, Messier to Gretzky, Robin to Batman.
She is Goose to Maverick, the best wingman out there.
And again, she laughs at the comparisons.
“Don’t forget we have Kenzie (Kent, a sophomore) on the line,” Skarupa says, “so any nicknames have to be for the line. Right now it’s just ‘Carp line, go.’”
Carpenter credits Skarupa with making her life on the ice easy because “we kind of know where each other are on the ice at all times,” and adds “it’s been fun playing with her.”
Skarupa feels the same.
“She’s much thicker than people realize,” Skarupa said. “I’m amazed at her intensity and how she digs after pucks and fights through people. She can take three hard strides and I can’t keep up, that’s how good she is.
“She makes the game easier and when you’re playing with her you have to concentrate on not getting caught up watching her because she does some special things on the ice.”
Both are Patty Kazmaier nominees, but neither call winning the individual award a priority.
Last season the Eagles rode a 28-game unbeaten streak into the Beanpot only to be knocked off by Harvard, who also ended the Eagles’ tournament run.
It was a bitter finish to a great season, and it’s fueled the Eagles’ drive for perfection.
“In a perfect world what we’re looking to do is win a national championship and at the same time I’m not really worried about the Patty Kaz,” Carpenter said. “That’s an extra benefit that would come. It’s a great honor, but I’m not too concerned about it. I’m more concerned about winning the national title.
“Winnng the Patty and not winning the national championship would be the more disappointing than anything. What I want the most and what the team wants the most is a national championship.”