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Victoria Bach’s legacy with BU Terriers

Having established herself as one of the greatest players to have skated for the Boston University Terriers, Victoria Bach’s senior season resulted in etching her name all over the program’s record books. With a program that has featured star talent such as fellow senior Rebecca Leslie, Marie-Philip Poulin, Sarah Lefort, Rebecca Russo, and Jennifer Wakefield, among others, it is Bach who sits atop as the all-time leading scorer, one of only ten celebrated women that are part of the program’s century club for career points.

A contest on January 16, 2018 against crosstown rival Northeastern Huskies saw Bach begin her assault on the Terriers scoring records. Scoring the 93rd goal of her proud career with the program, which also resulted in a hat trick versus the Huskies, she surpassed Lefort as the Terriers all-time goal scorer.

Bach would reach the century mark in grand style, notching her 100th goal in the Beanpot Final (their first appearance since 2012) versus Boston College. As a side note, Bach is the only Terriers skater to have recorded at least 20 goals in four different seasons. Less than two weeks later, Bach would claim an even bigger prize, becoming the program’s all-time leading scorer, recording career point 184 versus Merrimack, part of a dazzling multi-point effort.

By season’s end, Bach would become the first player in Terriers history to reach the career century mark in goals, finishing with 104, while her 192 career points represents the new benchmark for scoring excellence. Such achievements are put of a much more profound narrative, where Bach’s body of work represents a legacy that has mirrored the Terriers’ rise to relevance in NCAA women’s ice hockey.

In discussing such a legacy, one that has firmly entrenched Bach as a true legend in program lore, her humility rises to the surface, reflecting a combination of wisdom and maturity that encompass an admirable leadership (one that has also seen her give her time for casues such as Do It for Daron and Skating Strides against Breast Cancer), embodying what it means to be part of the Terriers hockey family,

“To be honest, it’s not something I really think too much about, but it would be an honour.  I think that it’s a reward for all my hard work and commitment over the past four years. I couldn’t have gotten there without my teammates, and all the people at BU.”

Enhancing such a sterling legacy was the fact that Bach’s senior season culminted with a prestigious honor that represents the pinnacle for any competitor in NCAA women’s hockey. Joining Loren Gabel of the eventual national champion Clarkson Golden Knights and freshman scorer Daryl Watts from rival Boston College as finalists for the Patty Kazmaier Award, it enriched the sense of national pride among this tremendous trio, as all three are Canadian-born superstars.

“It was an honor to be named as a top 3 finalist for the Patty Kazamier award. To see all of the other amazing finalists who have been nominated and to be mentioned in the same conversation was humbling and and amazing feeling. It was an experience I will never forget.”

The sense of achievement that came with the award nomination served to bring closure to the promise that this phenomenal prodigy fulfilled since Bach’s first season at Walter Brown Arena. Arriving to the program with tremendous promise, the series of achievements attained during her teens included a pair of Canadian U18 National Championships.

Of note, the first national championship brought with it a tremendous sense of history. Entering the 2012 Canadian championships, Team Ontario Blue had never captured a gold medal. That honor belonged to rival Team Ontario Red, capturing seven straight titles. Suiting up for Team Ontario Blue at the 2012 edition of the Nationals, Bach was part of one of the most exciting championship teams in the event’s history. Defeating their Red rivals in the semi-finals, the Blue team disposed of Manitoba in the gold medal game, capturing an unprecedented championship that added to the event’s growing history.

Recruited for Team Ontario Red in 2013, Bach continued her winning ways. Scoring the gold medal clinching goal, tipping in a shot by Ainsley MacMillan, affirming her status as one of the most accomplished competitors in tournament history. Bach’s medal haul was accentuated by donning the Maple Leaf at Canada’s golden entry at the 2014 IIHF U18 Women’s Worlds, which also saw fellow senior (and 2017-18 Terriers team captain) Rebecca Leslie on the roster.

Committing to the Terriers, Bach’s first three seasons resulted in a phenomenal haul of hockey hardware. Starting with the Hockey East Rookie of the Month honors in February 2015, followed up by Hockey East Rookie of the Year Award, and an obligatory spot on the conference All-Rookie Team, Bach followed it up by landing a spot on the 2016 Hockey East All-Tournament Team. That year, she also garnered Hockey East Second Team All-Star honors.

Finding unprecedented success in her junior year, Bach captured the conference scoring crown, followed by First Team All-Star nods and a prestigious place on the New England Division I All-Stars. Just as impressive was Bach’s proficiency in the classroom, where she gained Hockey East All-Academic honors.

Such a memorable season season featured an almost endless list of awards, accolades and achievements, including three nods as the Hockey East Player of the Month (November 2017, January-February 2018), plus recognition as the National Player of the Month in 2017. Bach’s scoring touch, which saw her involved in nearly 59 precent of her team’s goals, made her one of the team’s go-to players, emerging as the catalyst that augmented the offensive attack. Her offensive output was highlighted by the fact that she paced all players in the NCAA in hat tricks (4) and four-goal games (2). In addition, Bach also led the NCAA in other notable metrics such as even-stregnth goals (29) and goals away from home (28).

Considering the fascintaing number of feats realized, the discussion regarding a favorite moment this season, one that defined her ascent into legend yielded something more reflective. Displaying great sincerity, she appreciates the bigger picture.

Subscribing to a philosophy where the love of the game and the chance to share in this experience, one destined to be the most treasured in her accomplished career, with a group of devoted players, comprising a whole chapter which represented an abundant yet euphoric experience for Bach.

“I am not sure if there was a specific moment. I think it was just going to the rink with my best friends everyday and having the opportunity to represent BU every time we touched the ice.”

Certainly, those same players, whose values embodied this epic chronicle, left an indelible mark on Bach. Although next season shall result in wearing another team’s jersey, the bond of friendship forged during those four fabulous years at Walter Brown Arena, and the appreciation of playing in one of North America’s most iconic hockey markets, will never wither.

“I will miss playing with all of my best friends. Being around them all hours of the day, training together and competing together creates a special bond and friendships that will last a lifetime. I will also miss being in the city, around all the action and excitement.

All of our sports teams here at BU are a pretty tight group and I have made some good friends on other sports teams so coming to the arena everyday and seeing all of these amazing people that I have met along the way will be something I will miss about playing for BU.”

With potential for further greatness, Bach’s career is poised to continue. Taken seventh overall by the Metropolitan Riveters in the 2017 NWHL Draft, she is part of a Riveters draft class that also features fellow Terriors senior Rebecca Leslie. Should Bach opt to play professionally in her native Canada, she would definitely emerge as a Top 10 pick in that league’s draft.

Not to be overlooked is the potential to continue donning the Maple Leaf. Having also worn the Canadian jersey at its U22/Developmental program, Bach graced the ice for them at both the 2017 and 2018 editions of the Nations Cup. Although it is far too early to speculate on which players may be on Hockey Canada’s radar for the next Winter Games, the concept of Bach is certainly thinkable.

Regardless of the path taken in the next stage of Bach’s sporting journey, the feeling of pride from being part of something so special at BU, one that enriched the essence of competing at the Division I level, not only resulted in a sense of indebtedness, such pride shall endure in perpetuity, serving as a wellspring of inspiration. Highlighted by the camaraderie, which served as a foundation for a second family, the Terriers shall always serve as one of the happiest experiences in her career, constantly providing a residual warmth.

“Similar to what I mentioned before, I think competing with my best friends and having the opportunity to represent BU. It was an honor to wear the scarlet and white and I cannot thank my family enough for all of their sacrifices to allow me to live out my dream of playing college hockey.”

“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”

Photo credits: Kevin Bennett, Rich Gagnon and Jackie Ricciardi

Other images obtained from: http://goterriers.com/news/2017/12/11/womens-ice-hockey-leslie-bach-to-represent-canada-at-nations-cup.aspx

New England All Stars Artwork obtained from: http://goterriers.com/news/2018/3/28/womens-ice-hockey-bach-cook-leslie-named-new-england-all-stars.aspx?path=whockey

 


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