Struggling girls' hockey looks for successful final stretch

The Newtonite

by Jacob Gurvis

It has been a tough season so far for girls’ hockey, who currently own a  6-7-2 record. According to coach Bob MacDougall, the Tigers need to win five out of their final seven games to qualify for the State Tournament, which begins after February Vacation.

“That is our focus for the stretch run,” he said.

Despite a mediocre record, the Tigers have been playing well. The team overcame a large setback, an injury to senior Leah Howard, a leader and star of the team. Howard, a captain with senior Hannah Gallogly and junior Caitlin O’Hanley, had missed most of the season, but is back in action for the final month.

“The girls are showing a lot of resiliency, which is critical as we finish up the regular season. They are taking bad breaks and not letting them affect their approach to the next shift, next period, next game. We have played well in games that we have lost, which can demoralize some teams, but not this one,” said MacDougall.

Howard said that the team’s hard work has been key.

“We are bringing a lot more energy onto the ice and have really picked up our work ethic. We’ve been competing against some really hard teams and have been able to stay with them for a good chunk of the game because of this,” said Howard.
Winning five out of seven games is tough for any team, and the team must improve their execution, according to MacDougall.

“I think if we are to reach our goal of qualifying, we need to convert on our chances. We are getting great opportunities to score, but for some reason, cannot finish them. We have been working a lot on that during practice and I am hoping that it will be paying dividends for us in our future games,” he said.

To Howard, consistency is one area that is lacking for the Tigers, especially keeping up their effort during games.

“We’ve done a great job competing in the first two periods, and then seem to lose our cool in the third. If we are able to play all three periods as well as we can play one, we will start winning a lot more of our close games,” she said.

According to Howard, one of the team’s youngest players has stepped up this season.

“Freshman Natalie Ferry was just moved from defense back up to forward, and scored two goals in her first game back as a forward, which was awesome to see. She always works really hard and brings a lot of energy wherever she plays,” she said.

O’Hanley noted two specific games as highlights for the season, the team’s opener against Walpole Dec. 11, and the exciting game against Wellesley Jan. 25.

The Tigers have two tough games coming up against Framingham and Needham, on Wednesday and Friday, respectively.