By Sarah Swenson, editor-in-chief
After finishing the 2020-2021 season ranked 12th in Massachusetts, the Nantucket’s Girls Ice Hockey team is currently working hard in their third ever season, ranked 5th, with a record of 2-2. The team feels like this season is going well so far, and they are excited to see how they can improve on their past two seasons, which happened to be their first two seasons.
Their first game was a loss to the Dennis-Yarmouth Dolphins, taking only 2 scores to the Dolphins’ 3. However, their games since have been higher scoring, and the Whalers have thrived on this style of game. In game two, against the East Bridgewater Vikings, the Whalers came back strong with 5-4 win. They followed this up with a successful match against the Rochester Bulldogs, which they won 8-3.
Their fifth game, against the Falmouth Clippers, was also high scoring; however, the Whalers were defeated in a disappointing shutout, 14-0. Team Captain Lydia Johnson commented that, while the team was defeated at the game, it was still “an exciting and physical game.”
The team was also cheered on by an active and full audience of Nantucket High School peers. Saturday, January 5th found crowds of NHS students standing and cheering for the girls’ team, some pumping fists in the air and others banging on the plastic surrounding the rink. This group of fans included members of the Boys Ice Hockey team and friends of the Lady Whalers
The team seems to thrive on high-scoring games, described by their fans at NHS as a team with a very powerful offensive attack. They are also a young team, with more underclassmen than seniors or juniors. This dynamic, including many young players, and also being a young team as they started only three years ago in 2019, means that the team and their skills are still developing. Their leaders are lead coach Elizabeth Collins and assistant coaches Cassie Thompson and Max Perkins, but in the rink, the team is led by their three student captains: senior Eveyn Fey, junior Lydia Johnson, and freshman Claire Misurelli.
It may seem odd to have a freshman as a team captain, but Misurelli, number 10, receives high praise from her coach Collins. Further, she practices her skills even during the off season, playing on the Bay State Breakers, a hockey organization that organizes students from across the state and beyond, drawing in kids from all throughout New England, and gives practice in conditioning and competition for both girls and boys in New England, aiding in their development as athletes.
With such great talent, from freshmen to seniors, the team is excited for the rest of the season. Johnson stated that she feels that so far, the season “has been going well” and “we’ve been showing improvements and working hard”.
She said that she is especially excited for the team’s game on January 16th, against the Nauset Regional Warriors: “I think it will be a fun and competitive game.” The girls ice hockey team ended this game with a 9-3 loss, but the game was competitive throughout.
She added that, of all games remaining in the season, the team is most excited to play the Vineyard: “We are all excited to play the Vineyard again this year and are hoping to beat them at home.” The Whalers will play the Martha’s Vineyard Regional Vineyarders from Oak’s Bluff two times this season, on Saturday, January 1st, and then again on Sunday, February 13th. The team is optimistic about their games against the Vineyarders.
The team’s next game is tomorrow, Wednesday January 26th, against Barnstable (Hyannis), and the one after that will be their first showing against Martha’s Vineyard.
The team feels like they have been improving this year, already better now than they were at the beginning of the season. The key to their team’s success is teamwork, according to Johnson: “Everyone has been working together well.” Hopefully, this young team will continue to rake in high scoring, high energy games, and lead a successful season.