Grace Bizal, a defender currently playing for Boston College, is from Minnetonka, Minnesota. Before deciding to attend BC, Bizal played high school hockey for Hopkins. During her four years in high school, Bizal earned all-state honors three times and all-conference honors four times. Her senior season, Bizal recorded 26 goals and nine assists for 35 points and was named a finalist for the Minnesota “Ms. Hockey” award. Bizal also played club hockey for the Jr. Whitecaps in Minneapolis.
Internationally, Bizal was a member of the United States Under-18 team in 2014 and 2014. After earning a silver medal at the U18 World Championships in 2014, Bizal returned to the team in 2015 to help the United States win a gold medal in Buffalo.
Her freshman year at BC, Bizal recorded 11 points in 41 games. Defensively, Bizal earned a spot on one of the top ranked defensive units in the country. The Eagle’s 1.24 goals-against average was good for third-best in the country and their 14 shutouts broke a single-season program record. Bizal’s plus-minus rating by the end of the season was also an impressive plus-34.
As a sophomore, Bizal scored the first two goals of her career and added 13 assists for a total of 15 points in an injury-shortened season of 28 games. Bizal continued to serve a key part of one of the top defensive groups in the country. BC allowed 1.54 goals against per game, good for third in the country and had a 91.6 penalty-kill percentage, good for second best in the country. Additionally, Bizal received some recognition from USA Hockey as she was invited to participate in the USA Hockey Women’s National Team Festival before the season started.
Last year, Bizal recorded a career-high three goals. She also posted 11 assists for a total of 14 points. Defensively, she blocked a career-high 64 shots and continued to serve a key role in the ninth lowest team goals-against average in the country (2.00 goals per game). Bizal has come across some injury trouble again this season as she has not played in a game since the beginning of December. Before getting injured, she was off to a season of personal bests. Her 12 points in 20 games were on pace to smash her previous personal best point total of 15 points. In December, Bizal was drafted 19th overall by her home state Minnesota Whitecaps. Additionally, she will graduate from the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences at the end of the school year.
3. Lauren Boyle (D), Ohio State University, Minnesota Whitecaps (14th overall, 2018)
2. Megan Keller (D), Boston College, Buffalo Beauts (3rd overall, 2018)
1. Annie Pankowski (F), University of Wisconsin, Metropolitan Riveters (1st overall, 2018)
In last week’s must-see matchup between Merrimack and the University of New Hampshire, Merrimack came out on top in a close 2-1 win. Merrimack opened the scoring midway through the second period, before adding another goal in the third period as Connecticut Whale draft pick Dominique Kremer picked up an assist. UNH managed to get on the scoresheet with an extra attacker late in the third period, but it was too little too late as Merrimack held on for the win.
For this week’s must-see matchup, we will look at the two draft picks from the 2017 NWHL draft who are still playing college hockey. T.T. Cianfrano of Clarkson and a Metropolitan Riveters draft pick and Lexie Laing of Harvard and a Boston Pride draft pick will square off on Saturday, February 16, at 3 pm. Additionally, the nation’s leading scorer and Buffalo Beauts draft pick Loren Gabel will be leading the offense for Clarkson.