Eight teams will start the season looking to be called a champion come March in Rhode Island girls high school hockey.
LASALLE ACADEMY (23-3-1)
The Rams have high expectations this winter, coming off a year that saw them go unbeaten in regular season play and finish as state runners-up. The key will be to meld the returning core with a talented freshman class. The team is no longer a co-op with Moses Brown.
The offensive attack will be guided by a host of returners who all contributed in a big way last year in seniors Jennifer Rickard (34 pts) and Jillian Egan (16 pts), juniors Krista Varrichione (29 pts), Alexa Morra (24 pts) and Ariana DeSousa (20 pts), and sophomore Grayson Goolgasian (23 pts). Adding to the offensive mix will be freshmen Anya Nichipor and Patrice Dafonte.
Coach Sean McNamara’s defense will feature senior Taylor Vecchione and sophomore Isabella Marzano. Freshmen Elizabeth Walsh and Arianna Rodi will fight for time.
LaSalle also returns experience in goal with senior Kaitlyn Oakley in the fold for another year.
BURRILLVILLE/PONAGANSET/BAY VIEW (11-9-1)
Not possessing a lot of depth, it will be of the utmost importance for the Broncos to be in top shape and work hard.
Up front, senior Alix Etheridge and junior Madison McCutcheon will be catalysts for coach Cortney Lacey. Three freshmen to keep an eye on are Isabelle Besser, Kristen Briggs and Avery Moriarity.
Sophomore Diana Poland is expected to log a lot of minutes on the Broncos blue line. Junior Lizzy Ng is another key defensive returner. Senior Emily Etheridge is a returning goaltender.
EAST BAY EAGLES (16-2-0)
New head coach Mike Cox says his team will be young and in a building year, although the Eagles should have excellent defense.
Scoring will need to come from the likes of junior Maeve Harrington, junior Madison Cornell and sophomore Caatherine Barker. Two freshmen ready to chip in offfensively are Sarah Yee and Rose Flaherty.
Senior veteran Madelyn Cox, a Salve Regina commit, will be a force on defense, while junior Ella Hanley is back as well.
Junior Ellee Kopecky is back to handle the goaltending chore.
SOUTH KINGSTOWN/NORTH KINGSTOWN/NARRAGANSETT (11-8-1)
The 2017 state champions look to get back into the mix and be a strong contender to the throne.
A pair of sophomores – Sarah Maciel and Victoria Gauvin – are slated to be leaders up front for the Storm.
On defense, senior Christina Greene is an important cog for coach David Cannon. In the nets, senior Peyton Newman is a three-year varsity starter.
TOLL GATE/WARWICK (5-11-1)
The Lady Titans are excited about the season with 12 new players coming into the program.
Three seniors – Nichole Procacini (9 pts), Rebecca Yaseen (14 pts) and Elise Saccoccia (6 pts) will be asked to carry the load offensively. Two freshmen to watch up front are Carina Cardi and Olivia Monte. New senior Kaylee O’Connor should step right in and contribute.
Coach Dave Cannon will count on returning junior Rose Flaherty and sophomores Meaghan McCarrish (12 pts) and Ella Centracchio to be keys on defense.
The goaltending duties fall on seniors Madison Dowling and Rebecca Yaseen.
CRANSTON/EAST GREENWICH (0-14-0)
Despite a tough season last winter, there is optimism here as the Thunderbirds have a experienced group with some depth.
Coach PJ Bessette returns juniors Lauren Brady and Rylie Bessette and sophomore Ashley Smedberg at forward. Freshman Abbi Ainley will help out.
Junior Abbi Sampson had 13 goals last year from her defense position. Juniors Alexia Bessette and Lyndsey Brady return as well.
The key piece could be senior goaltender Hannah Slaiby, one of the team captains.
- Mt. St. Charles and Smithfield will also have Rhode Island HS teams this winter.