Girls’ Hockey Players Join Forces With Masuk, Barlow, And Lauralton Hall
A group of girls’ hockey players from Newtown High School is teaming once again with other South-West Conference players on the Masuk of Monroe-led squad.
The Panthers, whose home venue is The Rinks at Shelton, will lace up the skates for their third campaign as a varsity program after a few seasons at the club level.
Captains are Newtown defender Catie Gregory, Masuk forward Cassie Stocia, and Lauralton Hall forward Mari Bischoff.
Joel Barlow of Redding also has representation on the roster, which had some turnover following the graduation of eight skaters last year.
Gregory, a junior, and fellow NHS player Anna Mattioli, a sophomore, are key defenders. Junior Bridget Nicholson and sophomore Annie Fowler, both forwards, also represent Newtown High.
Coach Andy Townsend has a core of returnees as well as some newcomers, as the Panthers strive to be their best this winter.
Barlow’s Nikita Licudine is a senior forward, and Erin Webdale is a junior forward; Lauralton’s Haylie Bernier is a senior defender who will be key players. Forward Caroline Raymond and defender Aynsley Lane are Masuk freshmen, goaltender Eva Smith is a Barlow freshman — all of whom Townsend expects to contribute throughout the season.
Last year, Lauralton was one of the Masuk team’s opponents, but forfeited due lack of players; the teams scrimmaged, and this year, players from both schools are working together from start to finish.
The Panthers have struggled to earn wins, with longer-established programs boasting more experience, but they made a game of it in several hard-fought defeats last winter.
“The goal for this season is to be competitive in all of our games and improve on our skills. As long as the girls are willing to work hard and make the commitment needed, we should be able to reach our goals. I am looking forward to working with all the players on developing their skills. This group seems to be very hardworking and are extremely coachable,” Townsend said.
The puck drops for the season-opener against Trumbull-St Joseph at The Rinks on Friday, December 7, at 4 pm.
Masuk has had some memorable games against Trumbull, including a wild 12-9 victory for the program’s first varsity win two years ago.
The teams split a pair of games last winter, with Trumbull winning the first 6-1 and Masuk bouncing back for a 5-1 triumph in the midseason rematch. Masuk and Trumbull will meet twice again this slate; the second game is January 21.
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