BOSTON – Out of the 39 penalties committed in the first five Hockey East games of the Boston University season, senior Maddie Elia served six of them. The conference was still adjusting to new rules about hooking and holding enforcement.
“We got an e-mail, and there was a video highlighting the new rules, and then a ref actually came and talked to us,” Elia said in an interview Tuesday. “But I don’t think any of us were expecting what actually happened.”
In her four years in a Boston University uniform, Maddie Elia took 101 penalties, accounting for 227 minutes in total. She led the team in penalty minutes each of her four seasons. Out of the senior class, defender Sarah Steele is second in penalty minutes at 66.
Ask her, and – with a laugh – the Lewiston, New York native will say that maybe ten of those penalties were justified.
“I feel like if they did not increase the rules, my penalties would have been way down. I was not that aggressive this year,” Elia said.
On top of the penalties, Elia has anchored BU’s second line and first power play unit for most of her four seasons. She ended her career with 112 points, finishing eighth overall in team history.
“I feel like every year, my style kind of adapts into something else,” she said. She went on describe her style at the Nichols School as “trying to be fancy all the time.”
It worked well in her senior year, captaining Nichols to the North American Prep Hockey Association and Conference of Independent Schools Athletic Association championships. She began her collegiate career the same way, but the results were not coming.
A conversation with head coach Brian Durocher pushed for a change. “I was more effective when I was working hard and making the simple plays, rather than trying to do too much.” She finished her freshman season fourth on the team with 28 points.
Elia enrolled at BU in 2013, the third of four consecutive years the Terriers won Hockey East. Elia scored in both Championship games against Boston College, with her goal in 2014 serving as the game-winner.
She counts hoisting the Bertagna Trophy twice as her favorite moments from her career.
“I think freshman and sophomore year were a bit more focused, and kind of knew our angle. We had great leaders like Pou [Marie-Philip Poulin], and Tino [Kayla Tutino], and Stoney [Sharon Stoneburgh], and so I think that really helped us out,” she said.
One constant in her last three seasons was junior Rebecca Leslie. Out of her 12 goals this season, Leslie assisted on eight of them. Conversely, on Leslie’s 16 goals, Elia factored in on six.
“I think every year we become better friends,” Elia said of Leslie. “I do not think I have ever gotten tired of her.”
Following a then career high of 29 points as a junior, the Buffalo Beauts selected Elia with their final pick of the 2016 NWHL draft. The four-team league drafts players who, per their rules, “have completed their junior seasons at a four-year accredited college.”
However, Elia is unsure what she wants to do now that her collegiate career is over.
“I think I was so focused on hockey for so long I did not really think about anything else. Now, I am kind of realizing that I need to think about other things,” she said.
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