After a quick turnover from the fall sports season, area girls hockey teams are hitting the ice for the 2022-2023 winter season.

The Black Tigers — the team made up of players from Winslow, Gardiner, Cony, Lawrence, Messalonskee, Maranacook, Erskine and Mt. Blue — are ready to take another step forward after a solid 2021-2022 season. The Black Tigers finished 7-8 last year, falling 4-3 to St. Dominic/Gray-New Gloucester/Winthrop/Monmouth in a thrilling Class A North quarterfinal game that went to double-overtime.

There’s some shakeup to the Black Tigers roster, as the team lost two of their top scorers. Kaylyn Bourque transferred to Kents Hill, while Jordin Williams has joined the brand new Penobscot Pioneers co-op program in northern Maine.

“Our look is going to be a little different,” Black Tigers head coach Bill Boardman said. “We have some different schools (on the team) that we didn’t have last year, and we lost one. But we’re excited. We’re going to be young, but we’ve got some good freshmen coming in.”

Black Tigers players scrimmage during practice on Wednesday at The Camden National Bank Ice Vault in Hallowell. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

The Black Tigers have added in numbers — including nine freshmen, many with hockey backgrounds — and enter the season with a roster of 26 players. With the loss of Bourque and Williams, the team will have to find some new scorers. However, the Black Tigers will be strong on the back end of the ice. Kylie Boardman and Evelyn Rousseau return as the team’s top defensemen. And goaltender Emma Michaud returns after a strong season last year.

Michaud said before the team’s first skate on Nov. 8 that she was excited to see experienced freshmen join the roster.

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“It gives us a chance for some of our more inexperienced people (to get playing time), they can get into a game maybe a little bit more than they would if we didn’t have 26 girls,” Michaud said. “It’ll be good for them to get more experience.”

Brunswick will start the season with a clean slate and a new coach after the Dragons finished 2-11 last season. Chris Ledwick is the new coach for Brunswick this season.

“Uniformly, the girls are working hard,” Ledwick said. “We’ve got good numbers. We’ve got about 24 or 25 kids skating right now. Like everybody else, we’ve got some dinged up people from the fall sports season, so we’ve yet to field a full roundup for a scrimmage. But we’ve got our legs underneath us and we’re trying to do some ice hockey and see what we can do.”

Sophomore forward Lauren Labbe is among the Dragons’ top returners, as well as senior defenseman Hannah Wilkoff, sophomore defenseman Elisia Palmer. Freshman forward Gillian Countway is one of team’s top newcomers.

Players from the Black Tigers girls hockey team rehearse their entry and pregame warm up routine during practice Wednesday at The Camden National Bank Ice Vault in Hallowell. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“We have a lot of multi-sport athletes who are, generally speaking, athletic and competitive,” Ledwick said. “We also have a core of girls who play hockey year-round. So we have a good mix, that’s the best way to say it, especially for a single town team… We’re looking to play our best hockey at the end of the season, not at the beginning. We’re not trying to rush the learning curve for anybody, especially getting the younger players used to playing 17 and 18 year old girls. That’s a bit of a step up.”

Former assistant David Hunter is the new head coach of the Mt. Ararat/Morse/Lisbon/Lincoln/Oceanside/Boothbay program. The Eagles are coming off a strong 2021-2022 season. The team finished 13-4-1, with a trip to the Class A North semifinals.

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“We’re doing pretty good, we’ve got a good group of returning girls this year,” Hunter said. “I did lose two key seniors from last year, but we’ve got a good core group coming back. Between (junior varsity) and varsity, we’ve got 22 players. We’re going to try to swing three or four JV players per game and expose them to varsity-level play, develop those girls into varsity players, hopefully.”

Senior Mallory Stuart, junior Allie Hunter and junior Caragh Beasley will be among the Eagles’ top returners.

“We’ll have a really strong defense,” Hunter said. “They always say that strong defense leads to offensive opportunities.”

 

Dave Dyer — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer

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