Boston College’s Hannah Bilka has started her collegiate career on a high note. After being kept out of the box score in her first two games, the Texan has scored 10 goals in her last six games. Unsurprisingly, she earned honors as the Hockey East Player of the Week on Oct. 28 after taking home honors as the Player of the Week on Oct. 7.
Bilka’s recent tear started with a four-shot, four-goal outburst against Holy Cross on Oct. 3. Scoring four goals on four shots is undoubtedly a rarity in hockey, but there’s a lot more to Bilka’s production than luck. Through eight games, she’s averaging 4.62 SOG/GP and has been held to less than three shots just once. Bilka leads all freshman skaters in the nation in scoring (10 G, 4 A), shots on goal (37), and power play goals (4). Needless to say, she’s made quite the impression in the first chapter of her freshman season.
Before she made her college hockey debut with the Eagles, Bilka was widely considered one of the most promising prospects in North America. The Shattuck St. Mary alumna won gold at the 2018 U-18 Women’s World Championship in Dmitrov, Russia and helped Team USA secure silver at the 2019 U-18 Worlds. She was also named one of the national team’s top three players last year’s U-18 Worlds, picking up a goal and notching two assists in five games.
Bilka made an even bigger impression in last year’s U-22 Series between Team USA and Team Canada. In three games, she buried two goals — including the OT winner in Game 1 of the series — and picked up an assist playing against Canada’s best young talent.
So, Bilka’s big start at Boston College didn’t exactly come out of nowhere, but scoring 10 goals in six games as a freshman is still a big deal. The winger has wasted no time establishing herself as the most promising first-year forward in Hockey East. Surely, her 27 percent shooting will cool down, but it’s worth noting that Alina Müller scored 21 goals to lead all freshmen in the conference in goals last year and she was 20 at the start of the 2018-19 season. The year before that, it was Darryl Watts who blew the doors down with 42 goals in 38 games on her way to becoming the first freshman winner of the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award.
It’s still far too early to roll out the red carpet for Bilka, but her hot start has definitely put the rest of the nation on notice. Bilka isn’t the only youngster filled with skill and potential; eight of BC’s top ten skaters at this juncture are freshmen or sophomores. The future looks bright.