U16 JWHL Weekend – The girls go 3 and 2
We are a little late on the reporting, but the report is a great one to deliver. Last weekend the U16 Varsity Girls were on the road to Boston for the second time this year with a difference which included a great attitude and a full team.
Day one started as a travel day with a nice stop part way to visit the University of Maine, the home of the famed Maine Black Bears. The girls were hosted by Head Coach Richard Reichenbach and his staff while touring the campus. Players heard from the coaching staff gaining valuable insight on the Bears Program and further information about what is takes to play NCAA Division 1 Hockey in the US. For some, this was an eye opening experience. From a coaches view point, this was a great opportunity to discuss a number of our players that the U Maine staff have identified within our program. A nice boost for our program and testament to the level of recruiting that we have done overall for our female program.
The competitive portion of our weekend with league play in the JWHL would include the team playing the Boston Shamrocks, NAHA and the Washington Pride. Game 1 vs the Boston Shamrocks saw the girls for the first time this year play with a full 20 players. The adjustments now had to take effect, but were slow in happening. Down 3 – 0 early, adversity had found us. The girls were going to have to find their game against a team that they should have success against. As we entered the second period break they showed clear indicators that they were going to turn things around. Entering the 3rd period down 3-1 the girls started to come to life. With a sustained effort and 19 seconds left on the clock we scored twice to secure win number one of the weekend.
As game one ends thoughts turn to a great highlight of the weekend with the opportunity to watch Brad Marchand and his Boston Bruins practice. With two of our first games held at the Warrior Ice Arena, official practice digs of the Bruins, the girls looked on with great interest. Seeing a professional team practice really has great examples of how important just practicing the fundamentals of the game really are. Oh yes, the pros work on the simple fundamentals of the game and first hand our girls were able to see that and the importance of practicing hard and effectively every day.
Our next couple of games saw the girls produce zero goals in two 2-0 losses versus with Boston and NAHA, something that causes self-doubt and indecision. However, within those loses, the coaching staff could see positives that would in the final two games of the weekend help the team regain the confidence to rise up and play some of the best hockey of the year.
Before our last games of the weekend we were able to take the girls to Nichols College in Dudley, MA. Head Coach Mike O’Grady (former Assistant Coach for U of Maine) was a great host. His message was very positive about playing NCAA Division 3 level. The team was hosted by Coach O’Grady and four of his players that lead the girls on a tour of the campus. All in all the information gained from both visits to Maine and Nichols was very effective in providing information for the girl’s options to consider when opportunities come their way.
The end of the weekend competition came with two solid wins versus the Washington Pride. Saturday afternoon the 4-3 victory help ease everyone tensions on the wins and losses thinking. The process for success was starting to take shape and it was on to getting another study hall in to make sure the responsibility of being a Newbridge Academy student-athlete was satisfied.
Sunday’s events came early with a 6am rise to prepare for an 8:00 AM contest with again the Washington Pride. On this day, the girls showed no let down as their energy level was excellent. Not easy to do when you are working on game 5 before driving 15 hours for home post game. With all of that, the team produced their most complete game of the year with a dominate structured game plan carried out. A 4-0 win going away was very satisfying for the team. It always makes the trip shorter and much happier.
Following the eventual success of the weekend, the girls return to school and to the rink with renewed commitment to practice. After twelve games, things are really coming together for the team.
Here are some awesome pictures from the awesome time!