Last season was a major step forward for a Nantucket girls hockey program that is hoping to carry the momentum they generated into its fourth season of existence. After going a combined 1-20-4 through their first two seasons, they finished last season 4-12-1 while scoring almost as many goals (42) as they did in their first two seasons combined (48).
This year they will be without star center Evelyn Fey, who graduated last June and was a 50-point scorer for the Whalers. They also lost two key defensemen in Hannah Evens and EJ Hemingway, who both opted to attend prep schools.
But this team returns several key players to their lineup including last year’s leading goal scorer Bailey Lower, giving head coach Liz Collins plenty to be optimistic about as she enters her fourth season as head coach.
“I think we look good,” Collins said. “Losing Evelyn is hard because she played such a key role in so many of our goals last year. But we still have Bailey who was our leading goal scorer last year with 20 goals and then we have Emerson Pekarcik, Claire Misurelli, and Lydia Johnson returning in our forward group. Having those four return is huge because they are our four main leaders. They will be the backbone of our forward group and the four players we will rely on a lot.”
Freshmen Sadie Paterson and Dylans Damian, along with seventh grader Adeline Edwardes will see an increase in minutes this season filling in on the top two lines. Collins said Edwardes has impressive speed and isn’t afraid to go to the dirty areas to maintain puck control or score a greasy goal, making her a nice match with Nantucket’s big four who have a knack for creating traffic around the net.
Sophomore Mayson Lower finished last season with a two-goal game against Martha’s Vineyard in Nantucket’s season finale and improved considerably as the season went on. She will play alongside her sister again and be a key piece of the Whaler’s top six.
The Whalers will lean on eighth-grade defender Mia Beaudette to anchor their defense. Beaudette blossomed into a star as the season progressed last year and is arguably Nantucket’s best player. Her ability to play a responsible game in the back end coupled with her ability to help spring the Whalers into their transition game and finish with her snap shot in the offensive end makes her a formidable varsity defender despite her young age.
Freshman Alex Wisentaner and sophomore Sam Zadroga will also play big minutes for Nantucket on the back end along with seventh grader Sara O’Banion. Collins said both Wisentaner and Zadroga have improved their speed and likes the size and length O'Banion brings to the defense core.
Junior goalie Caroline Allen will be entering her second season as the team’s netminder, and Collins has liked what she has seen from Allen.
“She is a whole different goalie than she was last year,” Collins said. “She has one full year under her belt. Our goalie coach who was here last week with us couldn’t believe she has only been on the ice as a goalie for one year. She is totally driven, focused, and ready to go.”
The team will also have plenty of coaches assisting these players as they continue to develop their games and help take the program to the next level. Cassie Thompson and Max Perkins have been by Collins side as assistants from the beginning while Teddy Nixon joined last season. This season, Nantucket native Jillian Fey will also be on the staff. Fey played her high school hockey at a prep school since the NHS team had yet to be founded, but grew up on the island and was a member of Boston College's Div. I hockey program.
The Whalers will be the first time this winter to play a home game. They are scheduled to host Martha’s Vineyard on Saturday, December 10 at 2 p.m.
You can access the team’s full schedule here.