Confident. Competitive. Hard-working.
These are just a few ways teammates, coaches and opponents describe BFA-St. Albans senior goaltender Macie Boissonneault.
After splitting time with Maddie Hungerford during her first three years with the team, Macie Boissonneault has continued to play at a top level in between the pipes for the 2021 Comets helping to lead the team to a 3-1-1 record to start the season.
Boissonneault entered this season with a 24-3-2 record with a .850 goals against average and a .959 save percentage during her three years splitting time with Hungerford, including 12 shutouts.
“Macie loves life and loves to compete,” said BFA coach Luke Cioffi. “She is very hard on herself to be at her best every game and she wants to stop every shot and minimize rebounds. She understands the importance of putting the work in to get better and that her teammates are a large part of her success. She has a quiet confidence with a humble personality that allow her to surround herself with quality people that support each other every day.”
Now, in her senior season, which has been shortened due to the pandemic, Boissonneault is continuing to thrive for the Comets as she has taken over full time duties in net. Through five games to start the season, she has given up just five goals with four of those coming in two games against Essex and has a .953 save percentage. She posted a 27-save shutout against CVU/MMU on February 17 and made five saves in two periods of work, as she and Makenna Montgomery combined for the 11-save shutout in a 6-0 win over Burr & Burton on February 20.
Boissonneault’s 13 career shutouts is third in program history behind Hungerford (22, 2016-2020) and Shanley Howrigan (19, 2009-2013). Her .884 goals against average as of March 2 is second only to Jenn Smith’s 0.786 during her 14-game stint during the 2005-06 season where she went 13-0-1.
“It’s cool to be one of the top goalies throughout the BFA program’s history,” said Boissonneault. “It wasn’t an easy thing to accomplish and I have put so much time and effort into everything, so to see the results makes it feel pretty good and rewarding.”
Boissonneault started playing hockey at the age of four-years-old and it was during Mites where she started to rotate into the goalie position and became a full-time goalie during her U10 years.
“I really enjoyed being on the ice and always played with my older brothers,” she said. “It was (BFA-St. Albans assistant coach) Jeff Rouleau who pushed for me to be a goalie.”
She grew up playing for the St. Albans Skating Association and during the offseason has played for the Vermont Shamrocks, Northern Vermont Wildcats and Vermont Stars.
“With my offseason teams, I met a lot of new people and made some lifelong friends along the way,” she said.
The Comets had a dynamic duo in net when Boissonneault reached the high school level where she split time with Hungerford.
The fewest goals the Comets have ever given up in one season was in the 2018-19 season where the two combined to give up just 13 goals in the entire season. Hungerford finished that year with a .514 GAA and a .974 save percentage, while Boissonneault ended the year with a .618 GAA and a .968 save percentage.
“With Maddie and I being equally talented, it drove the two of us to work harder and to push each other,” said Boissonneault. “I enjoyed working with her and we became pretty close.”
Throughout her high school career, Boissonneault has worked with Roxanne Douville-Handy, who is the Comets’ goalie coach and former University of Vermont starting goaltender.
The two have been working together for four years now.
“I’ve seen Macie improve in many different areas, including her skating and edge work, which are significantly better along with her strength and speed,” said Douville-Handy. “She is a good skater and can track the puck with her eyes really well and has great technique. She doesn’t try to be spectacular, but she tries to be in the correct position and use the correct save selection to avoid giving up rebounds that would put her and the team in trouble.”
Boissonneault’s work ethic is something that has impressed Douville-Handy over her years working with her.
“I love her desire to learn and get better,” she said. “She works hard, she is confident and she never quits. She can observe and analyze what she does and can come up with what she can do to correct the situation. I enjoy this interactive style of coaching and it works to her advantage because she can keep improving without a coach with her all the time.”
Having such a talented goalie in between the pipes has helped the Comets be aggressive in their offensive zone and allows their defense to play more aggressively.
Cioffi says the team’s ability to be aggressive and take chances is a reflection of the goalie play in recent years, as well as a team style of play.
“The team is very confident in allowing our defensive players to be active on the offensive side of the play, and a strong goaltender is key to this option,” said Cioffi. “Having forwards that will fill for the rushing defense and back check hard and consistently are also critical components to this style of play. Both Macie and Maddie have certainly been backbones of our defensive approach the last several years.”
One beneficiary of the aggressive style of play is junior defenseman Sophie Zemianek, who has three goals and four assists so far this season after having 13 goals and 13 assists during last season.
She attributes Boissonneault’s consistency in net to her being able to be as aggressive in the offensive zone as she is.
“Macie is constantly rock solid in the net and I trust her behind me like she was a solid wall covering every inch of the net,” said Zemianek. “Because she is so solid, I am able to take the puck up in the offensive zone because I can trust that she will be able to stop any turnovers or rushes that might get back to her.”
Zemianek also said it’s not only Boissonneault’s skills that make her so good, but her intelligence surrounding the game of hockey.
“She just knows the game of hockey,” she said. “I believe that if she were to play out of net, she could play any position she wanted. She knows where a player is going to place the puck before they do. She knows where she needs to be and when, and she is going to always know where every player is on the ice that might have an opportunity to score.”
While Boissonneault’s play is a blessing for her coaches and teammates, she is a headache for opposing coaches to try and figure out how to score against her.
“Macie is pretty much going to stop what she sees and it makes it very tough realizing you are going into the game and you will have limited scoring opportunities,” said Essex coach John Maddalena. “She is a very aggressive goalie and gives you very little to shoot out. She’s exceptional at controlling rebounds and you can keep telling your team to shoot for the rebounds, but fact of the matter is that she gives up so few rebounds. She is just a fierce competitor and is going to do whatever is takes to keep the puck out of the net.”
This past offseason was like no other with everyone dealing with the pandemic and no one really knowing when sports would be able to start up.
Boissonneault was one of the key leaders on a young Comets team that helped keep things stable through all the uncertainty of the preseason.
“Macie has provided a consistent and confident leader in and out of the locker room,” said Cioffi. “She is not afraid to provide guidance for our new and veteran players. Her daily passion for life and competitive nature have helped develop this young group into a cohesive unit. She understands the need to listen to her teammates, provide suggestions or reach out to coaches if she feels that it is necessary. Showing teammates that you care about them outside of the hockey rink is a vital part to what Macie does every day.”
After three years of being the younger goalie in the locker room, Boissonneault has embraced becoming the senior goalie and leading the way for freshman Makenna Montgomery.
“It’s definitely been different being the older goalie after being the younger one for so long,” she said. “It gives you a different type of role on the team and being more experienced has helped so I can give Makenna more tips and help her when our goalie coach isn’t there.”
The leadership and passing of knowledge from one goalie to the next is something that Cioffi said is going to really benefit the program in upcoming years.
“Macie is critical in Makenna’s development,” he said. “Macie has shared with Makenna what is expected of our goaltenders. Makenna has been working hard and been willing to do whatever needs to be done for the team and continues to use the information from the coaches and Macie to improve her skills and be ready when her number is called in the game.”
As talented as Boissonneault is, she is also quick to give credit to her teammates who have made things easier for her on the ice and for what she has learned from her coaching staff.
“My defense has always been pretty strong and they are smart with the puck,” she said. “I have enjoyed laying for coach Cioffi and coach Rouleau over the years. They have helped shape me into the person I am today and have been great role models. Roxanne has been a huge help to make me into the goalie I am today and holds a high standard for us, which makes us work harder and become better each day.”
The Comets are 3-1-1 heading into Wednesday’s matchup against Burlington/Colchester, and with No. 30 in between the pipes, everyone can be sure that her confidence, competitiveness and hard work will keep paying off for her and the team.