A well-stocked field of 32 teams is rocked and ready to drop the puck on the MIAA Girls Division 1 tournament. Action kicks off Monday evening with one preliminary round game.
There is no shortage of talented teams that could emerge with the 2020 title. HPNA, the MVC/Dual County Large champions, were the only team to make it through the regular season unbeaten (18-0-2). Coach Gary Kane’s troops are solid in all areas and enter as the top seed.
Other teams to watch at the top end of the seeds include Bay State Herget Division champ Braintree (17-2-1), Catholic Central League champ Austin Prep (17-1-2), last year’s finalist, well-balanced St. Mary’s (14-2-4), and Middlesex League Liberty Division co-champs Woburn (15-2-2) and Arlington (13-2-5), who both boast some of the more exciting younger players in the field.
Here is a look at the 32 teams by seed:
#1 seed HPNA (18-0-2)
It’s been a magical season so far for HPNA, winning the MVC/Dual County Large title and going through the season unbeaten. They possess good size and depth. And, they are ready to continue their success in the post-season.
“We are only promised one game in the states and no one will give us anything,” said HPNA coach Gary Kane. “Beyond game one is up to us, no one else. The key so far has been their ability to stay focused and prepared through practice and hard work.”
HPNA features two of the top seniors in Mass. Girls HS hockey in forward Hannah Keating (23-17-40) and two-way defenseman Eliana Kane (16-22-38). Others involved offensively includes senior Deanna Bosco (28 pts), Katerina Yelsits (15 pts) and Morgan Whitlock (15 pts).
Freshman defenseman Reese Pascucci (9-20-29) is player to watch on the blue line. Caitlyn Mazzocchi, Liv Cole and Alyssa Mazzocchi are also in the defensive rotation. And then there is senior Jenny Hubbard, a veteran presence between the pipes.
#2 seed Austin Prep (18-1-2)
The Cougars have been banging on the door for the last few years, coming a double-OT goal away from winning a state title last year. You can bet the team is hungry for another chance. Their only loss was to D2’s top club – Wellesley.
“We’d love the opportunity to get back and compete for a championship again this year with the goal of winning our final game of the year, Austin Prep coach Stephanie Wood said. “We need to have consistency for every game and utilize our depth. We need to stick to our team philosophy and work to put away chances early on when we have them.”
Senior Kara Cecchini, sophomore Isabel Hulse and eighth-grader Monique Lyons lead the charge up front. Austin’s defense is strong again, and gets involved offensively with the likes of seniors Frankie Frelick and Eryn Taber and sophomore Maeve Carey. Lauryn Hanafin has been the go-to in the cage.
#3 seed Braintree (17-2-1)
The Wamps and their prolific offense will be tough to stop. Their only losses came at the hands of Wellesley and Austin Prep.
Veteran coach Kevin Burchill says a key in the post-season will be to play hard for all 45 minutes and have no let downs. Solid senior leadership will be key, as it has been all season.
Ally Decoste (46 pts), defenseman Delia Lee (39 pts) and Abby Holland (32 pts) drive the Wamps offensive attack, supplemented by the likes of defenseman Lila Shea (15 pts), Maggie Burchill (14 pts), Stella Shea (13 pts) and Maggie Doherty (12 pts). Seniors Liz Connelly and Mia Zaniboni, and junior Fiona Hume are defensive keys as well.
#4 seed Woburn (15-2-2)
The Tanners may be short on numbers with just 13 skaters, but they are not short on talent. State champions in 2017 and 2018, the Middlesex League Liberty Division co-champs look to get back to the top.
Offensively, they are led by the electrifying freshman sister duo of Angelina DiGirolamo (38 goals) and Lucia DiGirolamo (20-21-41). Other weapons for coach Steve Kennedy include ML Pineros (22 pts), Mackenzie Russo (20 pts), Bella Shaw (15 pts), Lily Anderson (15 pts) and Jackie Lees (15 pts).
Senior Erin McComiskey and sophomore Meghan Keough have been keys on defense in front of veteran senior goaltender Amanda Essigmann.
#5 Seed St. Mary’s (14-2-4)
The Spartans have been one of the state’s top teams, although they enter the post-season on an 0-2-1 slide.
“I expect us to snap out of this funk and be really excited and hungry for the tournament,” said coach Frank Pagliuca. “The returners remember what happened to us last year (first round loss). Key to our success has been able to run three sometimes four lines on a consistent basis.”
A pair of freshmen – Jenna Chaplain (32 pts) and Maggie Pierce (34 pts) – have been offensive stalwarts, as has Samantha Porazinski (27 pts), who has seen a lot of minutes on the blue line as well. Marina DiBiasio, Lexie Turner and Zoe Solomons (22 pts) have been key contributors as well.
Senior Kelsey Sullivan (17 pts) is the anchor on defense. Megan Parthum, Haylie Grossman and eighth-grader Aria Kader have been solid on the blue line. In goal, freshman Angelina Catino and eighth-grader Ryhan Pitari have split time.
#6 seed Arlington (13-2-5)
The Middlesex League Liberty Division co-champions also enter the season on a down note, with a tie and loss in their final two games at the Hingham Showcase.
“In the post-season we need to manage the puck better,” said Arlington coach Jeff Mead. “We can’t afford to turn the puck over as much as we have been lately. I think we have been good defensively and strong in goal. Every game has been close and we’ve been finding ways to win.”
Freshman Maddie Krepelka (20-16-36) and sophomore Gabby Russo (13-19-32) power the attack, bolstered by Makayla Doherty (16 pts) and Molly Conneely (12 pts).
On the blue line, Shea O’Day (15 pts), Fiona Johnson-MacDonald (14 pts) and Grace Corsetti (9 pts) have been solid. Sophomore Elise Rodd will be in goal.
#7 seed Belmont (13-3-4)
The Marauders have quietly had a banner season, Their only three losses are to Woburn (2) and Arlington. They are capable of making a deep run in the tournament.
The offensive lynchpin for Belmont has been junior Emma O’Donovan (25-9-34). Other offensive catalysts are freshman Lilly Duffy (12 pts), Katie Guden and Kara Rowan.
Senior Meghan Noone (15 pts) is the defensive cornerstone for coach Ken Murphy. Del Bonnin has had a solid year. In the nets, freshman Bridget Gray has been very impressive.
#8 seed Boston Latin (13-3-4)
The MVC/Dual County Small champs don’t score a ton of goals, but they don’t give up much either. “We are probably a defense-first type of team,” said coach Tom McGrath.
Senior defenseman Emma Kelly is an outstanding two-way blueliner and she led the team with 34 points. The staunch defense also includes Callie Dwyer, Maeve Murray, Sage Stewart, Theresa Gioiosa and Olivia Temple.
Sophia Temple (27 pts) is a top forward for the Wolfpack, who also got production from seventh-grader Kiera Bruen (18 pts), Ally Keough (17 pts) and Colleen Goonan (13 pts).
And, Latin also possesses veteran Ellen Linso between the pipes. She has been her usual steady self this winter.
#9 seed Peabody/Lynnfield/North Reading (14-5-1)
PLNR won its second straight Northeastern Hockey League title and looks to be a force in the post-season.
Senior Sammie Mirasolo (43 pts) is one of the top forwards in the post-season and leads the attack for coach Michelle Roach. along with Jen Flynn (24 pts) and freshman Jenna DiNapoli (16 pts).
Senior Jeny Collins has loads of experience in goal. Carolyn Garofoli and Reilly Ganter are a pair of solid defensemen.
#10 seed Waltham (12-3-5)
The Hawks had a great season under first-year head coach C.J. Giardino. They, too, don’t give up a lot of goals.
Senior veteran Janice O’Neil is the leader of Waltham’s offense, aided by Jessica McPherson, Isabella Babstock and Angalisa Caceda.
Isla MacPherson is a shutdown defenseman. Freshman Reagan MacPherson has been a key as well. A big reason for the team’s success has been the play in goal of junior Caitlyn Burke.
#11 seed Needham (14-5-2)
If entering the post-season playing your best hockey means anything, then don’t be surprised to see the Rockets do well. They picked up a couple of nice wins at the Hingham Showcase.
“The key to our success this season has been the commitment players have made to the program, team chemistry, and playing a challenging league and non-league schedule,” said Needham coach Allisyn Furano.
The offense will be led by senior Celia Blaszkowsky, juniors Maddy Foster and Grace Kelley, and sophomore Britt Nawrocki. A stout defensive group features senior Jessica McEvoy, junior Cammy Foster, sophomore Erika Stanton and freshman Kaitlin Sullivan. Junior Kenzie Kelly will get the call in the Needham cage.
#12 seed Shrewsbury (13-5-2)
The Central/West A Division champs played their usual rugged non-league schedule which will have them ready for the post-season.
Senior Grace Felicio (39 pts) and sophomore Kaci Ryder (32 pts) have been a solid 1-2 scoring punch for the Colonials, ably assisted by sophomore Madeline Mrva (26 pts) and freshman Taylor Ryder (14 pts).
On defense, senior Olivia Cwalinski (14 pts) and sophomore Aislinn Bennett (14 pts) like to get involved offensively. Coach Frank Panarelli also has the key veteran presence in goal with senior Riley MacCausland.
#13 Methuen/Tewksbury (10-4-6)
The defending state champs come into this post-season as a #13 seed, but by no means can they be underestimated. The Red Rangers have the ingredients for a long run.
“To get back to the Garden we will need to step up to every challenge,” said coach Sarah Oteri. “We take the post-season one game at a time and focus on our game plan for each round. We will need to play consistent, complete periods and minimize our mistakes.”
Sophomore Jessica Driscoll (23 goals) has emerged as an offensive leader, helped up front by Ryan Quinn (18 pts), Lydia Pendleton (13 pts) and Riley Sheehan (10 pts).
Seniors Brenna Greene (19 pts) and Madi Sjostedt (11 pts) are a pair of bookend defensemen with loads of big-game experience. The same goes for senior goalie Kaia Hollingsworth, who enters the final post-season of her stellar high school career.
#14 seed Wayland/Weston (10-6-4)
The War-Cats come out of the tough MVC/Dual County Small looking to make some noise in the post-season.
Coach Wink Van Ogtrop’s club is led by captains Sage DiBiasi, Caitlin Newton and Jacqueline Goode. Sophomore Maya Jeniski projects to be in goal.
#15 seed Andover (10-6-4)
Another team whose tough regular season schedule could pay dividends in the tournament are the Warriors, who are capable of beating anyone they play.
“We did not have it easy in any games and we liked it that way,” said Andover coach Tyler Vigue. “We have not hit the snooze button at all this year and we don’t plan to either.”
Offensive punch will come from the likes of Lauren Adams (16 goals), Kate Gemmell (17 pts) and Hannah Rowe (14 pts).
Sara Carleo, Vanessa Pierni, Ashley Chiango and Kaitlyn Cormier form Andover’s defensive unit in front of goalie Lillian Jagger.
#16 seed Masconomet (10-6-4)
The Chieftains have tasted some post-season success in years past and look to do so again. What will it take?
“As a team, we need to get more pucks to the net and create more opportunities in the offensive zone.,” said coach Ryan Sugar.
That task will fall on the likes of Sierra Harris (13 pts), Cali Caponigro (11 pts), Bella Cahill and Sage Smith.
Senior captain Meghan McElaney (9 pts) will be a key on the blueline, along with juniors Sophia Grutti and Brooke Rogers and sophomore Izzy Kirby. Masco is solid in goal with senior captain Molly Elmore capable of stealing any game.
#17 seed Duxbury (10-7-3)
The Dragons are not seeded as high as they have been in past tournaments, but that doesn’t mean they can be overlooked.
“The key for us will be play a strong defensive game and make sure we take advantage of our opportunities offensively,” said first-year coach Dan Najarian. “We have been involved in a lot of low-scoring close games and I am hoping that experience will help us in the tournament.”
Freshman Ayla Abban (27 pts) has had an impressive season. Seniors Molly Duvall (23 pts) and Grace High (20 pts) are two more go-to forwards. Katie Geis is another option. Senior Mae Pittenger is a defensive cornerstone in front of goaltender Ali McArdle.
#18 seed Barnstable (10-7-3)
The Red Raiders may be the youngest team in the post-season. But they will be ready to go when the post-season puck drops.
“Our young team is so excited that we made the tournament, and we know that is a huge accomplishment not only because of our strength of schedule this season, but because of our eight eighth-graders that play regularly,” said coach Peter Nugnes.
Sophomore defenseman Laura Cogswell leads the team with 21 points, followed by eighth-grade forwards Claire Hazzard (16 pts) and Ally McEneaney (15 pts). Senior Annika Pasic (10 pts) and freshman Molly Hudson (8 pts) are two more options.
Junior Kate Brewster (10 pts) will get key minutes in goal. Senior Liisa Aalto has had a solid year in goal.
#19 seed Reading (10-7-3)
The Rockets didn’t qualify until the final week of the season, but a strong performance at the Hingham Showcase has them optimistic.
“We are approaching the post season as if it is a whole new season regardless of any team’s record,” said coach Alexa Hingston. “I don’t think our record reflects how we play and how we are as a team.”
Up front, top point-getters from Reading were Paige Murphy (17 pts), Sydney Conte (16 pts) and Maddie Rzepka (15 pts). Senior Lindsey Joyce (9 pts) and Olivia Caruso lead the defense, while Casey Machera will do the job in goal.
#20 seed Longmeadow (9-7-4)
The Lancers also play a tough, non-league slate that will have them battle-tested for the playoffs.
Coach Melissa Vandermyn has a veteran group up front, led by seniors Jordan Kowalski, Ashley Barron and Alexis Pfalzgraf.
Senior Madison Manser and junior Madison Fox are leaders on the blue line. Junior Mackenzie Rae saw the bulk of the regular season minutes in goa.
#21 seed Lincoln-Sudbury (8-6-6)
Close hard-fought games are usually the norm for the Warriors, which should make them highly competitive in the post-season.
Offense has come from Kimmy Lucier (20 pts), Catrina Tobin (20 pts), Fiona Tobin (16 pts) and Ava Melz (10 pts).
Junior Julia Provvisionato has been solid in goal. Coach Paul Hardy’s defense includes three eighth-grade regulars in Meghan Maclean, Sophia Romm and Torrey Winrow.
#22 seed St. Peter Marian (11-8-2)
The Guardians have made the post-season for the third time in three varsity seasons.
Freshman Emily Hamann followed up a solid eighth-grade season with an even better freshman campaign (50 pts). “Emily’s drive and desire make her the player she is., said St. Peter Marian coach Jay Monfreda. “She’s always the first one on the ice and last one off the ice, always working on different aspects of her game. She never takes a shift off, not even at practice. She is 100% effort, 100% of the time.”
Freshman Gretchen Swartz (30 pts), Annabella Chaves (16 pts) and Sena Alex (13 pts) have been key contributors as well up front. On defense, Emma Abysalh and Mia Kondylis have had solid seasons. Sophomore Mia Deng is already a three-year starter in the nets for coach Jay Monfreda.
#23 seed Whitman-Hanson/Silver Lake (11-9-0)
With an older group overall, the post-season was a definite goal this winter for the Panthers out of the Patriot League.
Senior Alyssa Murphy and freshman Shea Kelleher have been key offensive producers for coach Kevin Marani. Junior Emily MacDonald is another option. Caleigh Tompkins and freshman Kendall Peterson have been steady on defense.
#24 seed Plymouth (9-7-4)
Fellow Patriot League member Plymouth has had a turnaround campaign under new head coach Mike McCosh after a sub-par 18-19 season.
Senior leaders up front are tri-captains Ahna Mento and Rebecca Sylvestre, along with seniro Jamie Mensereau. Senior tri-captain Maggie Brock is a stalwart on the blue line.
#25 seed Mansfield/Oliver Ames/Foxboro (11-9-1)
MOA boasts some good team speed. They also have been playing well heading into the post-season, which is a good sign.
“Our keys to success? Strong team defense and solid backchecking,” said coach Roy Bain. “Our speed serves us well in getting forwards back into the play and keeping rushes to the outside and limiting opponents’ opportunities from the slot.”
Leaders in the forward lines are Reece Pereira (17 pts) and the Ledin sisters – Alex (16 pts) and Samantha (15 pts). Junior Emma Pereira (23 pts) and Melissa Shandeler (13 pts) are vital cogs on the blue line. Junior Jess Widdop will handle the goaltending chores.
#26 seed Winthrop (8-7-3)
A perennial tournament qualifier, the Vikings have been led by its “backpack line” and the play of veteran goaltender Summer Tallent.
“A key to success has been the play of our first line, the ‘backpack line’,” said coach Butch Martucci. “Also, Summer Tallent is a huge reason we qualified for the state tourney. There were games that she singlehandedly won for us with lights out goaltending.”
The “backpack line” features Julia Holmes, Mia Martucci and Emma Holmes. A totally revamped defensive core consists of Elle English, Abby Holmes, Fallon Hurley, Taya Schlichting, Brooke Costin, Casey Petersen and Amelia Spencer. “We lost our entire D core last season and this group had to be thrown to the wolves. They have done an incredible job.”
#27 Medway/Ashland (8-7-5)
The Mustangs enter the post-season on a bit of a high, having gone 3-0-1 over the last four to qualify.
“We battled hard down the stretch to meet our team goal of MIAA qualification,” said coach Karl Infanger. “Fighting until the last game we have shown we can play with any team in the state.”
M/A’s offensive attack goes through seniors Brynn Moriarty (10-12-22) and Izzy Larche (10-11-21), sophomore Maggie Lester (10-9-19) and freshman Jenna Fitzsimons (6-11-17). Senior rock Lauren Norton (17 pts) anchors the defense and Jenna Shutt has excelled in her first year starting in goal.
#28 seed Lexington (8-7-5)
Back in the second season after a few years absence, the Minutemen could surprise some people.
“It’s really great to qualify for the tournament, especially having not made it the last few years, said Lexington coach Arianna Rigano. “The girls were able to finish strong the last two games of the season and earn 4 points when we needed 3 to qualify. I’m happy for them and for the new (tournament) season to begin. The key to the team’s success has been continuing to grind and improve. We’ve had some tough losses and important wins, but we’ve continued to work hard and grind it out, just as we needed to do to qualify.”
Freshman Shea Freda (22 pts) and sophomore Lena Cassidy (21 pts) have been offensive catalysts. Freshmen Ainsley Lonczak (18 pts) and Olivia Vlacich (9 pts) have been a key contributors as well. Senior Maddie Bryant and junior Katie DeVine (10 pts) anchor a defense that includes juniors Audrey Eastridge and Annabel Cincotta and sophomore Angelina Minasian. Senior Lilia Dawson is in goal.
#29 seed Cape Cod Furies (8-7-5)
A win in the final regular season game secured a post-season berth for the Furies, the program’s first-ever tournament appearance.
Sophomore Sophie Coehlo, Julia Weiner and Eve Abboud have been keys up front for coach Addie Weeks. Senior captain Connor Boucher has played well in goal. Defensive leaders have been Margaret Dickson, Leanne Kender and Charlotte Manganaro.
#30 seed Westford Academy (8-8-4)
Coming out of the rugged MVC/Dual County Large and having navigated a tough non-league schedule, the Grey Ghosts are a team no one wants to play, despite their seed. They will face Braintree in the preliminary round, who they lost 6-4 to in the season’s final game.
“They took on a difficult schedule and have embraced the challenges,” said coach Bob Ware. “Our staff is extremely proud of the way this team has finished the season. We are battle-tested for sure and hopefully, this will help us in tourney.”
Junior Val Crovo (27 pts) and sophomore Brittany Iverson (25 pts) are offensive leaders along with junior Maddie Hunt (16 pts), senior Lexi Warner (11 pts) and senior Jen McLaughlin (10 pts).
On defense, junior Meghan Mulhern (12 pts), sophomore Kendall Donovan and sophomore Arielle Villandry are keys on defense. Both senior Allie Dean and junior Alison Kingsley handle goaltending duties.
#31 seed Franklin (7-8-5)
Another low seed that can’t be overlooked are the Panthers. They played their preliminary round opponent – #2 Austin Prep – to a 3-3 standoff back in December.
“Yes Franklin could be overlooked,” said coach Margie Burke. “We played a challenging and competitive schedule this year and feel we are prepared.”
The offensive nucleus features juniors Amanda Lewandowski (21 pts) and Libby Carter (15 pts) and freshman Lyndsey Atkinson (19 pts). Three seniors – Gianna Cameron, Tina Pisano and Gina Vignone – lead the defense in front of junior goalie Gabby Colace.
#32 seed Hingham (11-11 overall)
A second place Patriot League finish propels the Harbormen into the playoffs. They too can’t be overlooked.
Sophomore Kathryn Karo is one of the premier scorers in the state and leads the offense for coach Tom Findley, along with freshman Jordan Piper and sophomore Ryan Maguire.
Seniors Delia Dwan and CeCe DelRosso and junior Madeline DeCelles handle things on defense. Both seniors Taylor Moynihan and Lexi Marchand have seen time in the nets.