Sports

Lynn’s Katie Burt fitting right in at the professional level

Lynn native Katie Burt leads the NWHL in wins (10) and saves (356) this season. (COURTESY PHOTO)

LYNN — So far, so good for Lynn native Katie Burt in her professional hockey career. Burt, who was drafted first overall by the Boston Pride in the 2017 National Women’s Hockey League Draft, has wasted no time making a name for herself at the professional level.

A Boston College product, Burt made the most of her four-year career with the Eagles. She holds the NCAA career wins record (121), logged three 30-win seasons and backed the Eagles to four Hockey East regular season titles. During her senior season (2017-2018), Burt was a Hockey East Second-Team All-Star honoree and twice was named Hockey East Goaltender of the Month. She was also named Boston College’s Female Eagle of the Year.

Although her college resume carries no shortage of impressive accomplishments, Burt still finds herself adjusting to the pace of the game and the overall grind of the season in the pros.

“I think it’s a different world,” Burt said. “We only practice about twice a week, where in college you practice almost five times a week. We only play 16 games and they’re scattered throughout the season. I’m used to playing 40 games a season in college. I’m starting to work through that, doing a couple things throughout the week to keep myself engaged.

“It’s a little different than college but I’m starting to get used to the adjustment,” Burt said. “It’s definitely a faster game. The players are a little bit smarter, a little stronger. It’s been fun.”

Burt signed her professional contract with the Pride last June. She made her Pride debut on October 13 in a 5-1 win over the Metropolitan Riveters, when she logged 17 saves at Warrior Ice Arena. A week later, Burt tallied 13 saves in a 4-2 win over the Connecticut Whale. Burt leads the NWHL in wins (10), saves (356) and ranks second in save percentage (.918).

She was named a NWHL all-star and made 20 saves in the 4th NWHL all-star game earlier this month in Nashville, TN. Burt was one of six members of the Pride who earned all-star honors.

“I was really excited to get the opportunity to help grow the game and bring women’s hockey down to Nashville,” Burt said. “It was a ton of fun. We had a great time that weekend. I think we put on a great show in showcasing women’s hockey and showing what we can do as women. I had a blast doing it.”

During her weekend in Nashville, Burt earned a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. She was invited to practice with the National Hockey League’s Nashville Predators. Burt worked alongside Predators goalies Pekka Rinne (a 12-year NHL veteran) and Juuse Saros, and soaked in as much as she could from the experience.

“That was a little bit of a dream come true,” Burt said. “When I was growing up there wasn’t a National Women’s Hockey League to aspire to. We grew up aspiring the NHL. To play in a women’s professional league is a dream come true for me. To practice with guys in the NHL was a dream come true for me.”

Burt and the Pride now gear up for the closing stretch of their regular season. Boston’s in the driver’s seat, as the Pride (10-4, 20 points) are in first place in the NWHL standings with two regular season games remaining.

Burt said the Pride underwent their share of ups and downs through the season but know what needs to be done in order to close things on a positive note heading into the postseason.

“It kind of helped that we had a two-week (all-star) break to kind of regroup as a team,” Burt said. “We’re a successful team when we get in there and play aggressive. When we find ourselves trailing it’s because we’re tentative, waiting for other teams to take it to us instead of taking it to them. If we can get back to playing like that we can be successful and make a push in the playoffs.

“We just want to build off what we’ve had,” Burt said. “We want to be playing our best game on the last day of the season and go from there. Especially in the playoffs, it really matters when you get hot. If you win two games, you win the cup. It’s a little bit about who gets hot at the right time. If we can build off each of those games going into the playoffs, we’ll be in a great spot.”

Burt and the Pride travel to Connecticut Sunday (3) before hosting Minnesota next Saturday (7) in their regular season finale.

More Stories From Lynn