The Northeastern Hockey League is another league that has increased in size, welcoming new varsity programs Newburyport and Gloucester. Plans call for a 14-game schedule, with each team playing each other twice. Peabody/Lynnfield/North Reading is the defending champ.
Last Year’s Record: 8-8-3
With pretty much everyone back from last year, veteran coach Butch Martucci is banking that the added experience can help carry the Vikings to higher levels.
Up front, sophomore Julia Holmes (30 pts), sophomore sister Emma Holmes (27 pts) and junior Mia Martucci (28 pts) will be the offensive catalysts. Senior Jenna Lindinger, sophomores Mia Norris (16 pts) and Lily Tallent (13 pts) and freshmen Hanna Parker (14 pts) and Sam Dimento (11 pts) all are back as well in the forward ranks. Hoping to contribute will be eighth-grader Izi Hain.
No less than seven blueliners return, led by senior Taya Schlicting, junior Elle English and sophomore Abby Holmes. Senior Brooke Costin, sophomore Fallon Hurley, freshman Adrianna Rizzoto and eighth-grader Amelia Spencer round out an experienced group.
Junior Summer Tallent, a 1.39 gaa last season, is one of the league’s top netminders.
Last Year’s Record: 15-6-1
In what could be not so good news for the rest of the league, defending champion PLNR only lost three players to graduation. “Our experienced returners plus the addition of new talents should position us to compete,” said coach Michelle Roach.
Up front, senior Jen Flynn should be one of the league’s top offensive performers, coming into the season with 76 career points. Joining her in the forward lines are senior Paige Thibodeau and sophomores Jenna DiNapoli and Hannah Gromko.
Senior rearguard Chloe Shapleigh, an Endicott College commit, will be a force on the blue line, a group that will also feature senior Reilly Ganter and junior Catherine Sweeney. Sophomore Audrey Buckley projects to take of the goalie position full-time.
Newcomers looking to crack the lineup are sophomores Penny Spack and Ella Chase, and freshmen Catie Campersal and Caroline Burton.
Last Year’s Record: 10-7-4
The pandemic notwithstanding, the Chieftains had a tough off-season, first losing their co-op status, then their program briefly before it was reinstated. So, they look forward to getting back on the ice and taking the advantage of the opportunity as stand-alone program.
Offensive holdovers for coach Ryan Sugar ready to lead the way are seniors Cali Caponigro, Bella Cahill and Lauren Dillon, juniors Sage Smith and Alex Medeiros and sophomore Bitzy King. Freshmen looking for a role up front are Gabbie Oakes and McKenna Dockery.
Senior Sophia Grutti returns on defense, where freshman Bella Flinn looks to have an impact.
With Molly Elmore having graduated and moving on to Sacred Heart, the goaltending duties will be handled by senior Lydia Willette and newcomer McKenzie Cronin, a freshman.
Last Year’s Record: 6-12-2
With some numbers back up and down the lineup, the Panthers look to be a bigger player this winter in the league.
Leaders up front for third-year coach Danielle Finocchairo look to be seniors Emma Knott and Catie Nemeskal, juniors Jamie DuPont and Kayleigh Crowell, and sophomore Shea Nemeskal.
A goalie returning is senior Madison Delano, who will be fronted by returning rearguards Cayla Greenleaf (senior), and Sadie Papamechail, Katherine Purcell and Kaylee Rich, all sophomores.
Freshmen looking for significant roles are Halle Greenleaf, Abigail Sullivan and Meghan McGinnity.
Last Year’s Record: 7-11-2
Former team star Brittany Smith takes over as head coach and reports her team will have a strong focus on fundamentals and basic skills.
Forwards Smith will rely on to ignite the offense are junior Hadley Wales and sophomore Amy Vytopilova. A couple of youngsters ready to jump right in are freshman Abby Amigo and eighth-grader Elsa Wood.
Senior Abby Kalinowski is the defensive anchor. Freshman Lily Francoeur will battle for the starting goaltender’s job.
Last Year’s Record: First year varsity
Previously part of the Masconomet co-op, the Clippers are excited to field their own squad this winter. Melissa Pacific, who coached several years in the prep ranks at Phillips Exeter, has been named to club’s head coach. “We will expect high energy from the first practice to the last game,” she said. “Upper class students will set the tone early.”
An offensive nucleus will be built around senior captain Erin Irons, senior Shannon Brennan, junior Elizabeth Turgeon and sophomore Kiara Farrar.
A defensive unit consisting of seniors Brooke Rogers, Renee Vachon and Kaylie Sullivan, and junior Izzy Kirby boasts considerable size and strength. A pair of eighth-graders – Allie Bell and Anika Repcynski – will battle for playing time in the Clippers net.
Last Year’s Record: First year varsity
Another first-year varsity, head coach Cait Bernick, who previously coached at Connecticut HS program Daniel Hand, takes over for the Fishermen and is looking for 100% effort from everyone on the roster.
Gloucester’s two captains for this season are senior goalie Rachel Daily, who has been with the program since freshman year, and senior forward Mia Salah, who has played for Marblehead in past seasons.
“This is our first-year varsity and we are going to make our mark,” Bernick said. “High sportsmanship and 100% effort is what I am looking for.”
- Medford/Malden will also be in the Northeastern Hockey League. No information was available as of post time.