Last season the women’s hockey team won with its offense, outscoring oppo­nents by an average of more than one goal per game en route to a spot in the Hockey East Cham­pi­onship. By hap­pen­stance, their win total equaled the number of times they scored at least four goals: 23.

This season the No. 10 Huskies plan to put defense first, begin­ning with the season opener on Friday night at Matthews Arena against Syra­cuse University.

To be suc­cessful, we’re going to have be better in our end of the ice,” said head coach Dave Flint in a pre­season inter­view. “We’re not going to win games 6–4.”

Offen­sive regres­sion appears inevitable, given the loss of last season’s top three scorers: Rachel Llanes and Casey Pickett have grad­u­ated and Kendall Coyne has been selected to play for the U.S. Women’s National Team.

I don’t think we can replace these players,” said team cap­tain Maggie Bren­nolt, “but we have brought in new players with a lot of skill.”

She pointed in par­tic­ular to freshmen Hayley Mas­ters and Hayley Sca­murra, five-​​foot-​​eight-​​inch for­wards who posses a trio of traits found only in the game’s finest players: size, speed, and scoring touch.

They have great hands and good vision and can make a good first pass to get the rush going,” said Bren­nolt. “They’re young, but they will be counted on to step up right away.”

The defense will also be counted on to pick up the scoring slack, starting with freshmen blue­liners Heather Mottau and Bella Sin­si­galli. “Those two really deepen our defen­sive core,” said Flint. “Sin­si­galli skates really well and makes a good first pass out of the zone and Mottau is a very dynamic skater and will pro­vide some offense from the back.”

The emer­gence of the freshmen quartet should help the Huskies con­tend with Boston Col­lege and Boston Uni­ver­sity for Hockey East supremacy. But no player is as cru­cial to the team’s suc­cess as third-​​year goal­tender Chloe Dejardins, who posted four shutouts in 32 starts last season and spent the off­season prac­ticing with Canada’s National Women’s Devel­op­ment Team.

It’s going to be impor­tant for her to steal a couple of games for us,” said Flint. “If she stays healthy, she’s going to keep us in every game and give us a chance to win every night.”

The first test is Friday. “There might be a few hic­cups in the road early on,” said Flint, “but once we get in a groove, we’re going to have an exciting season.”