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Concord girls’ hockey team aiming to take another step

They came so close to reaching their ultimate goal last year. One goal in overtime and they could have been playing for the state title. So it’s easy to guess what the Concord High girls’ hockey team is aiming for this season.

“Make it to the championship,” senior co-captain Jess Carroll said.

If the Tide is to do it, however, it’ll be with a roster where nearly half of the players are new to the game.

“A lot of them have no hockey experience,” Coach Stacy Boudrias said. “A couple have skated, but there are some really good athletes.”

They can take the lead of senior Charly Hoadley and junior Aelin Shea, who came to the program green last year but have put in so much time and effort that they’re now part of the top two lines.

“Those two worked so hard last year, and all of a sudden they’re doing way better than we ever expected,” Carroll said. “You wouldn’t think anyone could pick it up that quick. These girls’ work ethic is just as good, so we’re hoping for the same thing.”

“I feel like they look to Aelin and Charly a lot, because they know that they went through the same thing last year,” said Annie Mullen, the Tide’s other co-captain.

The rookies can also look to Mullen, a junior and one of the top players in the state. Slick on her skates and quick with her hands, she led the team with 23 goals as a sophomore and doled out 11 assists. She’ll center the top line with Carroll, who notched seven goals with 16 assists last year, and Shea (two goals, one assist).

Freshman Isabel Stoddard – “She’s a scorer,” Boudrias said. “I told her not to be shy about shooting the puck.” – centers another line with junior Kate Dasey (four goals, five assists) and Hoadley (two goals). Senior Meg Ficarra (seven goals, one assist) will also center that line in an odd forward/defense rotation forced by the Tide’s lack of experienced blue-liners.

With only juniors Elizabeth Donlon (two goals, eight assists) and Emily Scheer (three assists) returning with hockey experience on the defensive end, Ficarra, Dasey and Stoddard will all rotate from their forward positions onto the blue line to add some depth in front of senior Arielle Berger, who saw some action last year and has shown in the preseason that she’s ready for the starting spot between the pipes.

Skating just two lines and three D is sure to tax the Tide, but they were in a similar situation last year, so the veterans are used to logging plenty of ice time.

“One of the first things Stacy said to us this year, she said we need to get in shape,” Mullen said. “So we know we can’t slack off.”

The newcomers include sophomores Molly Emerson, Sarah Ek, Kaleigh Otto, Erin Reale, Addie Palasi and Shea Quinn, and seniors Hayley Kelso, Chloe Wintle and Brittni Spaulding. If they can immerse themselves in the game and learn the systems, by season’s end they may add just enough depth to help the Tide go a step further than last year.

“We just want to try to make the season as exciting and successful as possible,” said Mullen, with Carroll adding: “And make sure in years to come that we’re going to have a program that’s strong and that kids will want to sign up for because of its good reputation.”

(Sandy Smith can be reached at 369-3339 or ssmith@cmonitor.com.)

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