Falmouth Girls' Hockey Packing A Punch This Winter
By: Rich Maclone
Nine months ago the Falmouth High School girls’ ice hockey team rode a glorious hot streak all the way to the TD Garden as they played a memorable contest against Duxbury for the Division II state championship.
The Clippers lost a 3-1 decision to the favored Lady Dragons, but with ample young talent, many believed it was just the tip of the iceberg for the Clippers. What will the Clippers do for an encore?
As the players arrived at the beautiful new Falmouth Ice Arena for one of their final practices before the games count, Coach Erin Hunt cautioned that last year was last year. She said that during tryouts, the players had to come to work every day and prove that they deserved spots on the team and she wants nothing to be taken for granted. The past is the past. It was glorious, but accomplished by last year’s team. This, she said, is this year’s team and its story has yet to be written.
“They knew that they had to come to tryouts and try out for the team again. They knew that nothing was given,” she said. “What we accomplished last year was awesome, but we have a new set of girls and a new set of goals and a target on our backs.”
That target might as well be the logo on the team’s sweaters, blinking in neon. For a good portion of the 2011-12 season, the Clippers were able to fly under the radar, improving with each game and gaining confidence as their large contingent of freshmen became more and more comfortable playing the varsity game.
The past is the past. It was glorious, but accomplished by last year’s team. This, she said, is this year’s team and its story has yet to be written.
This season, games against Falmouth will be circled on schedules. In the matter of one year, the Clippers have gone from being considered feisty upstarts to measuring sticks. “It’s exciting. It’s good for the girls. They’re going to be challenged. Teams are going to be up for them, and we’ve got a tough schedule. It’s going to be fun,” Hunt said.
None of the major Boston media outlets have yet to release their preseason hockey polls, but there’s little doubt that the FHS girls will be ranked high on most lists. They were ranked ninth in EMass at the conclusion of last season. Saturday night they start anew, with a clean slate and a mission to return to where they were in March.
The road to the tournament is always a challenging one, but the Clippers feel pretty good about their chances with one of the best goaltenders in the state standing between the pipes. Sophomore Maddie Scavotto was dominant a year ago, finishing the season with a 1.35 goals against average and she played her best in big games. Hunt said that Scavotto’s presence in the net allows her team to play at a higher level.
“It gives the whole team a sense of confidence [that she’s there] and I think that she’s confident,” Hunt said of her soft-spoken netminder. “She’s always been confident, but I notice that she’s playing with an extra sense of leadership.”
Falmouth has a couple of solid backup goalies in the wings as well. Freshman Marissa Anderson and sophomore Margaret Palmer will be ready and able when called upon.
It doesn’t hurt the Clippers’ keepers that they have a very solid defense playing in front of them. Four of the team’s six blue liners played significant ice time last season, led by senior co-captain Alexx Good. She is joined by sophomores Hannah Ghelfi, Kendall Stouffer and Callan Small, all of whom proved that they could handle the pressure of facing some tough competition last year.
Joining the established defensemen will be senior Casey Eustis, who served as the team’s backup keeper last year. Eustis is a strong skater that looks forward to the new challenge this year of being out on the ice on a more regular basis. Freshman Hannah Callahan, the younger sister of last year’s captain Brenna Callahan, joins the FHS youth movement and is ready to step in and play a regular role for the maroon and white as well.
What we accomplished last year was awesome, but we have a new set of girls and a new set of goals and a target on our backs.
Coach Erin Hunt
Up front the Clippers were dynamic at times last year, but seek more consistency overall. Hunt said that one of the main goals for the team overall is to give solid efforts on a night-in, night-out basis, and she hopes that more experience will mean more consistent efforts.
The Clippers have talent at all of their forward spots. Starting the year as centers will be sophomores Maddie Haberl and Rachel Moore as well as freshmen Emily Sanidas and Abby Peterson. Haberl, who can fly up and down the ice, tied for the team lead in points last year with 12 goals and 12 assists. Moore, another burner, potted 11 goals and had five assists as a freshman. The two rookies in that mix are both promising players that hope to be impactful.
Co-captain Amy Wilson leads a solid group of wingers. Wilson is a solid two-way player that brings a ton of leadership to the fold. Junior Alexa Scribner might be the toughest player on the team, and scored some big goals last year as she played on several different lines. She finished with eight goals and four assists. Sophomores Kelly Ferreira and Maggie MacDonald should provide plenty of highlights. Ferreira led the team with 14 goals last year, to go along with 10 assists, and MacDonald can fill the net as well.
Rounding out the wing positions will be sophomores Jessica Winiarski, who saw some time last year, Olivia Hough, a newcomer to the varsity, Mary Negri, another newcomer, and Palmer. Hunt said that the team is still tinkering with the lines and that they will sort themselves out over time.
“Nothing is set in stone. They have to keep competing and earn their ice time,” she said. And they will start competing for real tomorrow night. FHS faces Westwood, the team it defeated, 3-2, in the Division II semifinals last March to earn their trip to the Garden. The puck drops at 5:10 PM at the new ice arena.
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