This league produced two of the final four teams standing in the MIAA Division 1 tournament, including state champ Methuen/Tewksbury. Andover (Tyler Vigue) and Billerica/Chelmsford (Ray Monroe) both have new coaches.
Home Rink: Methuen High School
The defending Division 1 state champs will have a different look this winter, focusing more on a defensive style after graduating a lot of offensive power.
Offensive production will come from the likes of seniors Ryan Quinn (17 pts) and Lydia Pendleton (30 pts) and Abby O’Keefe and sophomore Jessica Driscoll (12 pts). New freshman Nikole Gosse looks to have a role.
A veteran defensive core for coach Sarah Oteri will be led by seniors Brenna Greene (20 pts), Madi Sjostedt (15 pts) and Tori Schille. Freshman Riley Sheehan hopes to crack the lineup.
The trump card for the Red Rangers is in goal with the return of senior Kaia Hollingsworth (1.07 gaa), one of Mass. high school’s top netminders.
Home Rink: Breakaway Ice Center
With Kevin Drew moving over to the boys side, former assistant Tyler Vigue ascends to the head coaching position with the Warriors. Although they lost some key players from last year’s club that reached the state semifinals, expectations are high.
Key forwards project to be returning seniors Kate Gemmell (18 pts) and Hannah Rowe (11 pts) and sophomore Lauren Adams (37 pts).
Senior Sara Carleo (13 pts) will anchor the defense. A new starting goalie will emerge from pre-season workouts, as will a handful of others who will play key roles.
Check out the HNIB News Massachusetts Girls Pre-Season D1 Top 10, click here
WESTFORD ACADEMY (13-6-3)
Home Rink: Groton School
The Grey Ghosts have some talented players at each position and they feel they can be in the mix for a league title run.
In senior Lexi Warner (22 pts – Potsdam State) and junior Val Crory (25 pts), coach Bob Ware will have two of the league’s top forwards at his disposal. Big things are expected from senior Jen McLaughlin (14 pts), while freshman Anna Weaver looks to open some eyes.
Junior Meghan Mulhern and sophomore Kendall Donovan are a pair of mobile defensemen. New sophomore Arielle Villandry will have a role.
Westford also has the luxury of two solid returning netminders in senior Allie Dean (2,19 gaa) and junior Alison Kingsley (2.88 gaa).
Home Rink: Nashoba Valley Olympia
The Colonials have been a young team in the past and this season will be no exception, as 10 of the 22 players are either seventh or eighth graders. With that in mind, coach Brian Fontas, entering his 21st year, says his team needs to play aggressively.
A-B’s first line will be tough to stop with the return of juniors Jillian Loebs (26 pts) and Ella Cormier (8 pts) and sophomore Cailey Ryan (22 pts). New seventh-grader Ella Nannene could have an impact.
On defense, look for senior Song Issah, junior Eliza Shamar and freshman Kate Houle to be leaders.
In goal, sophomore Madigan Anderson returns to the cage after playing the last two seasons at forward.
Home Rink: Hallenborg Arena
There is also new management here, where Ray Monroe takes over behind the bench. He is looking to continue to help grow what he feels is a good program. Playing good team defense and solid, two-way hockey will be paramount to any success.
Junior captain Samantha Fantasia (25 pts) will be an offensive catalysts for the Indians, headlining a returning group that also include junior Brenna Murray, sophomores Sofia Belan and Grace Hoffman and freshmen Victoria Apostolakes and Julia Williams.
Two sophomores – Lea Gaspar and Gina Sciortino, and freshman Piper Boudreau will have key roles on the B/C blue line.
In goal, sophomore Sarah Noyes (2.47 gaa) returns, to be joined by eighth-grader Mia Gonsalves.
HAVERHILL/PENTUCKET/NORTH ANDOVER (6-12-2)
Home Rink: Haverhill Veterans Memorial Arena
After a down season a year ago, coach Gary Kane feels this may be the best all-around team he has had at HPNA. This year’s key will be balance, as well as depth.
Eleven forwards return with varsity experience, led by senior Hannah Keating (14 pts – Utica College commit) and senior Deanna Bosco (9 pts) and juniors Morgan Whitlock (7 pts). Juniors Sophie Znamierowski and Rachelle Zinland, and sophomores Emma Skafas, Katerina Yelsits (10 pts), Riley Buckley, Ella Roe, Aubrey Waelter and Emilie McDonough all return as well up front.
On the blue line, senior veteran Eliana Kane (15 pts) will be amongst the league’s best. Senior Caitlyn Mazzocchi, juniors Elena Albano and Livia Cole and sophomores Alyssa Mazzocchi and Ally Albano return to form an experienced group.
And in goal, senior Jenny Hubbard (2.49 gaa) has some good experience.