Two Weekends of Progression in Varsity Female Program
December 8th to 11th – U14 and U16 – JWHL Showcase, St. Catharine’s, Ontario
St. Catharine’s was the longest trip of the season for our female program this year and the improvements keep coming. With an identical record of two wins, two ties and a loss to finish up the weekend, both the U14 and U16 girls represented the school and their hockey club with class.
It was a weekend of growth for both programs as players continue to improve on their abilities to play with structure to their respective games. Each team has been showing the attitude to accept more technical ways to play the game. With the competition at various levels, the opportunity to improve systems play is just what the program needs as it moves into the level stage of the season.
It is great to see that our girls can compete with some very impressive programs that have a lot of history behind them. The Little Caesars and Chicago Young Americans Female Programs at both the U14 and U16 levels are very strong. These programs have been around for some time now and are producing many NCAA players. Playing them brings the recruiters to the rinks to see them and their competition. It is just a matter of time before our girls get that same recognition. We are young but improving and with that comes notoriety.
There are lessons in every trip and series that we play. Some lessons are taken for what they are worth, and when taken properly teams improve. Playing five game weekends are tough and will test your conditioning and emotional state. These strengths showed in the way both teams played this weekend, however there is always room for growth. In the New Year after the batteries are recharged, a renewed commitment to our fitness will take on a higher level of intensity. With the amount of travel and competitive situations that both teams will be facing in 2018 we need to focus on improvement in these areas. If you are fit, you study better, you eat better, you train better and your recovery time is better and more suitable for success.
December 14th to 17th – U16 – Tilton Three Game Series, Tilton, New Hampshire
This past weekend the U16 Varsity Female Hockey Team were once again on the road to play in a very quick three game series versus Tilton School (2 games) and Berwick Academy for one. With the team traveling overnight and barely in the US for 48 hours, it was a true test of the warrior spirit of the program.
Leaving Newbridge Academy at 4pm Thursday afternoon and arriving at our destination at roughly 630am, the girls were tired and looking for a place to rest their heads, but wait there is a twist and a challenge. After Tilton provided us with breakfast it was off to the very cold confines of the Tilton Schools arena, home of the RAMS for a 60 minute team practice. It was an energizing skate that would set the girls up for the weekend games.
Friday night’s game began with Tilton coming out strong for the first five minutes of play before the girls could get their feet going. After the two periods of play Tilton was up 2-1. However, the girls were now in the game creating opportunities for success. With the third challenge on and a feeling that we can play with them, the play was end to end with teams trading chances, but in the end Tilton’s opportunities produced a 6-3 final in their favor.
Saturday would be a better day overall as team play and systems were starting to show well for us. Game one of the day produce a solid hard fought battle with Berwick Academy where Courtney Boone poked home the 2-1 goal for the victory. Later on Saturday, the girls played another very solid game, but losing a close one to Tilton 2-1.
The trip produced a lot of good will with teammates and with two schools in the United States that relationships can and will be built on in the future. The staff saw team structure continuing to improve in their preparation for games and in the way the girls are starting to buy into a more technical game plan by learning to trust each other on the ice knowing that each player is doing their job. Still, much has to improve, but much has been gained as well.
After each game this weekend the girls were charged with the selection of their game MVP’s and those selections would be awarded a very classy Varsity Hockey Bar Down toque. Game one MVP was senior Taylor Homer. During this trip Taylor found out that she was accepted to the University of Ottawa which was shared and applauded by teammates. Game two MVP was goaltender Josie Adamski who backstopped the team to a very entertaining 2-1 victory. Josie played well throughout; however, one very key save prior to Boone’s winning goal was the turn around to mount the final push for success. Game three MVP was goaltender Haley McKim who turned in a very solid performance in the loss. Haley had held the fort on numerous in tight multiple save situations to give the team a chance to when making the final push.
Overall, the performance of the girls was great to see. Going into the trip the staff knew that it was going to be a tough turn around with such a tight window to ask them to perform at their best. The idea of “no excuses” is a mantra that our girls are now starting to buy into and that is the spirit that we continue to drive home in the program.
Thanks to Berwick Academy for coming in to play us and a sincere many thanks to Benjamin Tefft – Head Coach of the Tilton Female Rams and his staff for being great hosts. Ben asked us to come to Tilton some time ago and set up the games with his program and Berwick Academy. While setting things up for our program Tilton provided Newbridge with breakfast, ice time for practice and an excellent meal for the team for the trip back. A very classy and respectful gesture.
For now, the Varsity Female Program will take a break and return to the ice in the first week in January to prepare for U16 JWHL action in Rochester, NY and the U14s will be on the road to the Moncton, NB area for play at the DQ Female Hockey Tournament.
From the Varsity Female Hockey Program at Newbridge Academy we would like to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season.