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VG Hockey: Still a Force to Be Reckoned With

By Bernie Pimm
The Varsity Girls Hockey Spartans went 4-0 at the JWHL Showcase at Merrimack College in Andover, Ma. this past weekend.

The coaches are very proud of the team. As the best-dressed team on and off the ice at the tournament, the girls subdued their hecklers quickly, asserting themselves physically and offensively every game. Total goals for, 22, with 5 goals against reveals just how dominant the Spartans were. Capping off the weekend with a 5-1 victory against Ridley College, the Varsity Girls defeated the Boston Shamrocks 6-0, Balmoral Hall Prep 4-2 and New England Hockey Club 7-2, going 4-0 and running their season record to 7 wins and 2 losses.

Julia McLellan posted all four victories in net and was particularly stout against prep rival Balmoral Hall in a 4-2 victory. Emily Holmes (2G + 4A) and Laurence Frenette (3G + 3A) led the way for the Spartans on offence. Leading the team in scoring overall, for the season so far, Tam Thierus (2 +3) and Melianne Reynolds (4+1) were also very dominant throughout the weekend, asserting themselves physically on a consistent basis. Newcomers Anne-Frederick Naud 0 +4), Audrey McCutcheon (3 + 1), Alexia Moreau (3 + 3), Emily Eikleboom (2 + 0) and Emile Fortunato (1 + 3) showed just how strong our Varsity Girls program will be in years ahead, as they all had particularly strong weekends as well. Highlighted by a booming slap shot, top shelf, against the Boston Shamrocks, Emilie Fortunato was rock solid on defense, logging major minutes as she prepares for the final stages of Team Quebec tryouts.

As our season rolls along, its becoming clear that the 2018-2019 Spartans get contributions from every team member. Returning Gr. 12’s Erin Hinch, Julia McLellan, Audrey Choi and Issy Lebrun (0 + 3) earned strong interest from Division I and III programs alike by the end of the tournament. Choi, Hinch and Lebrun were exceptional on the penalty kill, as they refused to give up any goals on 7 PKs over all four games. To date, the Varsity Girls are 95% on the PK this year, having given up just 1 goal over 21 kills overall. On the power play, the girls potted 4 goals on 12 attempts for 33% on the weekend. Overall, the girls are 7 for 34 or 21%. Maintaining a combined special teams % of 110% or higher will lead to great success in the future for sure.

With the eventual return of key players such as Hannah Johnson, Marianne Picard, Jane Gervais and Dominque Cormier, the Varsity Girls are poised to grow into another dominant team for 2018-2019. While we continue to improve our transition game and ability to attack offensively with complete control, more and more girls are playing the game ‘the right way’ by getting head up and making quality plays in all three zones.

Based on the laughter and joking on the bus and in the hotel, this group is developing great chemistry and learning how to have fun together while becoming focused for game time. As our Grade 12 girls start to get a little clearer on their future school destinations, our newcomers are starting to learn what it takes to develop and contribute at this level. We anticipate all 22 girls to earn college advancement opportunities by the end of the 2018-2019 season, a real benchmark for a program like ours. All girls are settling into Stanstead life well, participating in all events, choosing a variety of clubs and excelling in the classroom. As next year’s recruiting season begins in earnest, this current crop of leaders is showing the hockey world that Stanstead College is still the preeminent program in Canada.

We look forward to seeing students and faculty alike attend our upcoming home games against JWHL contenders, The Ottawa 67s next Saturday and Sunday.