The biggest regular season game of the year thus far in New England Girls Prep hockey is scheduled to happen Saturday, when ISL rivals #1 Nobles and #2 St. Paul’s clash at Nobles (#3:15 pm faceoff).
Nobles, the defending New England Division I champion, carries a 23-0-0 record into tonight’s game against Thayer, while St. Paul’s’ will take to the ice tomorrow with an overall mark of 20-0-1.
As expected, both teams have explosive offenses. Nobles has scored 112 goals, while St. Paul’s has 99.
“The game will be about good goaltending and high-powered forwards,” said St. Paul’s coach Heather Farrell. “The team who plays their systems well and competes should be victorious.”
St. Paul’s, which hasn’t lost since last season’s New England semifinals against this same Nobles team, has a bevy of weapons, led by senior standouts Shayna Tomlinson (25-19-44) and Brooke Avery (17-26-43), and sophomore Caitrin Lonergan (18-21-39), who recently made a verbal commitment to Harvard. Junior Bridget Carey (27 pts) is also a player to watch.
“St. Paul’s is very strong and explosive offensively,” said Nobles coach Tom Resor. “But, they still have a good defensive team. They do not really have any weaknesses. We need to be able to put more pressure on them than they do on us and to make them play a 200-ft game.”
Of course, Nobles has its own share of blue-chip forwards that the Pelicans will need to stop in order to win this game. Senior Lexie Laing is the ‘Dawgs top scorer with 24 goals and 19 assists so far. Right behind are Courtney Pensavalle (13-25-38), Becca Gilmore (18-17-35), Haley Mullins (10-23-33) and Kenzie Kent (14-16-30).
Laing, Gilmore and Kent have all been named to the USA Women’s Under-18 National team, as has Lonergan of St. Paul’s.
In its most recent game, St. Paul’s had to rally from a two-goal deficit for a 4-3 OT win at #10 BB&N.
“We are glad that we escaped with a victory so that there could be two very good ISL undefeated teams playing on Saturday,” St. Paul’s coach Farrell said.
This game could also be a preview of a potential New England Division I championship game between the two clubs at Cushing on March 2nd.
“Obviously, it could be,” said Resor, whose team has won 46 straight games heading into tonight. “But there will be six other good teams to start the New England Tournament so it would be risky to look too far ahead. I think both teams have equal amounts of pressure. Both have enjoyed outstanding seasons, and regardless of the outcome, both teams have a lot to be proud of and to look forward to.”