It’s difficult to improve from being a championship club. It’s even more difficult to do so in a four team league without much player movement. The Boston Pride have found a way to do just that, however, in rookie forward Alex Carpenter.
Carpenter joins the Pride after being a part of an undefeated regular season Boston College team that fell in the national championship to Minnesota. One of the best players in the nation last season, she is now a rookie at the pro level.
“It’s been pretty cool so far,” said Carpenter. “I’m familiar with a bunch of the players, and keep getting better with practice.”
While college teams such as Boston College are tight knit and together, one of the challenges of smaller pro sports leagues is the lack of availability to play together. The Pride practice at Everett Veterans Memorial Arena, but only get ice time two nights per week. That difficulty has been tough on all the rookies, including Carpenter.
“The biggest difference so far has been not being on the ice so much for practices as a team,” said Carpenter. “We only can put in time twice a week, so it’s more of a challenge to old the team. It’s more difficult not getting that ice time.”
The Pride played two pre season contests in September, including one against Carpenter’s old team, Boston College. That was a hard fought 3-2 victory before Boston faced Team Russia two nights later, a 5-1 win. It was the first time the team had played at Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton, the team’s new facility.
The two opponents were not pro rosters, however, which means the Pride are yet to test themselves against the top competition they’ll see this season in the four team league, and Carpenter is yet to test herself against that level.
“It’s going to be different,” she said. “I haven’t played a pro team yet. Practice has been good at least, which will hopefully make the transition easier.”
Despite being one of the best players in the world, Carpenter still has to prove to be able to make a leap at this level. Before last year there wasn’t much room for American based women’s hockey players to compete professionally, and the small amount of teams make it so the competition is not watered down. Each game is extremely competitive, and Carpenter knows she has things to learn.
“I’m focused on getting faster, at all levels,” said Carpenter. “I hope it all just translates from college to the pro game.”
After two pre season contests, Carpenter and the Pride now will head to Buffalo for the league’s Opening Weekend where they will face the Buffalo Beauts and the New York Riveters. Boston will play its first home contest next Saturday when they host Buffalo, but it’s one step at a time in week one.
“I think we are going this where looking for wins,” Carpenter said. “Every team is looking for one or two wins, depending on who it is. That’s our goal. We just want to play well and get better as a team and come out with wins.”