Girls Hockey Preview
By Joe Freire
When JV head coach Amy Cushing started playing hockey at Braintree High School in 2003, “it was basically a ‘learn to skate’ program,” said Cushing. “The coach literally had to help girls tie their skates. Each game was about trying to keep the other team to under double digits because we knew we were going to lose.”
Ten years later, much has changed and the six time defending Bay State Conference champions are looking forward to the 2013-2014 season.
Last season, the Wamps finished 9-9-3, but fell out of The Boston Globe Top Twenty after finishing sixth the season before. The 2012-2013 team was lead by Lauren Conolly, who graduated.
“Each year we seem to lose great players,” said Cushing. “We think, ‘how are we ever going to come back from that?’ And the younger girls just step in and play their role.”
One of the strengths of this year’s team will be depth. Thirty six girls attended tryouts, and this will be the first year that BHS has an official Junior Varsity team.
“Usually, we only have enough girls for two solid lines,” said Cushing. “Now we have three lines for Varsity and three full lines for JV.”
Cushing pointed to a newcomer and a returning senior as potential breakout stars.
“Madison Kingston just transferred here from a prep school and she is going to be unbelievable on defense. She has a great shot.”
In addition to Kingston, Cushing is excited by the potential of freshman Deirdre Burchill.
“She is known to be an unbelievable player,” said Cushing. “There are big expectations for her – especially as a freshman. She already has the skills and speed to be a good player.”
The team will rely on senior captain Kayla Wilson for leadership.
“Kayla has been everything a captain should be,” sad Cushing. “She puts the team first, she communicates with coaches, she ran captain’s practices and workouts, and she puts every girl before herself, whether they are a starter or not. She does everything she can for the team both on and off the ice.”
One of the things that the team looks to overcome is inexperience in net. The girls will start a sophomore goalie after graduating a solid and reliable senior starter.
The team will need all of their depth with difficult games against Hingham, Acton-Boxboro, and Reading.
Cushing is happy to see how far the program has come since what she experienced as a freshman in 2003.
“By my senior year, we made the tournament for the first time, and now we have been in the tournament every year since 2008. The progression has been huge – from learning to skate to being an established winning team.”