League heavies Austin Prep and St. Mary’s are the only two teams with returning coaches. There is new management at Matignon (Tom Scarpa), Arlington Catholic (Natalie Flynn) and Archbishop Williams (Ben Leong). St. Joseph Prep/Mt. Alvernia joins the league this year as well.
ARCHBISHOP WILLIAMS (10-9-2)
Home Rink: Canton Sportsplex
Former assistant Ben Leong takes over the head-coaching duties after the retirement of Mark McHale and looks to continue the success the program has had the last several years.
Forward leaders for the Bishops are senior Kaitlyn Fox, senior Jennifer King and junior Melanie McClay.
Senior Ava Brady is a cornerstone of the defensive unit, along with freshman Victoria Bellew in front of returning senior goalie Caroline Morris.
AUSTIN PREP (23-1-0)
Home Rink: Essex Sports Center/Stoneham Arena
The Cougars are without their top four scorers from last year’s juggernaut – two to graduation and two to prep school (Samantha Taber – Cushing, Aylah Cioffi – Kent), but don’t expect them to backslide too far, if at all.
Up front, eighth-grader Monique Lyons (21 pts), senior Kara Cecchini (14 pts0 and junior Elise Lyons all return to lead coach Stephanie Wood’s offensive attack, along with seniors Felicia Zuccola (13 pts) and Maddie Rinklin, who both have seen time at forward and defense.
On the blue line, seniors Frankie Frelick (19 pts – Duke softball commit) and Eryn Taber and sophomore Maeve Carey (18 pts) form a solid leadership trio.
In goal, Hannah Aveni has graduated, so a new starter will be culled from pre-season camp. Expect the Cougars to also feature some talented newcomers.
ST. MARY’S LYNN (17-3-2)
Home Rink: Connery Rink
The feeling here was that the finish to last season was disappointing. A veteran returning group is looking to start the new season on a strong note.
The Lady Spartans return a lot of scoring prowess up front in seniors Kate Gray (19 pts) and Zoe Solomons (16 pts), juniors Samantha Porazinski (31 pts) and Felicia D’Allessandro, and freshmen Jenna Chaplain (33 pts) and Marina DiBiasio (21 pts). Senior Lexie Turner moves over from Matignon, and freshman Maggie Pierce joins the club after a solid year with Melrose. Freshman Kelly Lovett will chip in.
Senior rock Kelsey Sullivan will be the defensive leader for coach Frank Pagliuca, who enters the season with 268 total wins. Senior Megan Parthum returns as well. Eighth-grader Aria Kader should have a role.
Freshman Ang Catino and eighth-grader Rhyan Pitari will handle the goaltending duties.
Home Rink: Stoneham Arena
A strong returning core paired with a promising cast of freshmen greet new head coach Tom Scarpa.
Offensively, junior Alaina Aiello is coming off a 31-point campaign. Also back for the Warriors are senior Alyssa Morgan (11 pts), junior Molly McConnell (13 pts) and sophomores Alexa McKim and Kyleigh Green. New freshman Mckenzie Cerrato, a transfer from Melrose, put up 41 pts last winter for the Red Raiders. Other ninth graders to watch are Tia Picardi and Hailey Deady.
Senior Lily O’Connell, junior Erin Bennett and sophomore Brynn McPerson (24 pts) form a solid defensive trio. Looking for time are freshmen Mae Lafferty and Maya Plant.
A key will be replacing the graduated Dana Smullen in goal. Looking to do that are freshmen Giana McCusker and Danielle DeJon.
ARLINGTON CATHOLIC (3-17-1)
Home Rink: Ed Burns Arena
Former AC and Boston University star Natalie Flynn takes over as head coach at her alma mater and says hard work will be a major focus. Additionally, the coaching staff wants the team to play smart, fundamental hockey while maintaining a gritty, hard-working attitude.
Junior MC Flynn and sophomore Maggie Milne will spearhead the Cougars’ offensive attack, while junior Brenna Mulcahy and junior Casey Conneely are keys on defense.
ST. JOSEPH PREP/MT. ALVERNIA (5-14-1)
Home Rink: Warrior Ice Arena
The Phoenix look to build off some success they had last winter as the program builds. It will be interesting to see how the fare in the Catholic Central League.
Sophomore McKenna Wech (29 pts) will be an offensive catalyst. Coach Taya Latham can also turn to juniors Grace O’Donnell and Emma Grady for production up front.
Top defenders project to be junior Kerry McMullan and sophomore Abigail Ryan.