by Dakota Antelman
Both teams celebrated when time expired on Saturday’s hockey matchup between the Hawks and Marlborough Panthers.
With a 1-1 tie, Hudson punched its ticket to the playoffs by clinching the second seed in the Quinn Conference. Marlborough, meanwhile, kept its own playoff hopes alive with their late comeback in an at times tense rivalry matchup between the teams.
“It’s unreal [to qualify for the playoffs],” said Hudson junior and forward Jameson Fecteau. “I’ve been there before, and the atmosphere is just crazy. I’m just happy that the team gets to experience it for once and actually realize that it’s not all talk and that it actually lives up to what we say it’s like.”
Hudson jumped out to an early lead when sophomore Anthony Carlman jammed a puck past Marlborough’s Owen O’Brien just over eight minutes into the game.
From there, however, O’Brien ignited frustration on the Hudson bench and in the stands when officials called off what would have been a second goal for Hudson early in the second period. As senior Kyle Lally rifled a shot past him, the Marlborough goalie kicked the net slightly off the goal line.
Officials blew the play dead against Hudson’s argument that O’Brien intentionally dislodged the net. Adding insult to injury, Hudson Head Coach Mike Nanartowich said he remembered the net coming loose at least eight times during his team’s last meeting with O’Brien and the Panthers.
“I had already spoken to the official and said, ‘Hey, in the past, he uses the post to push off, so he kicks the net off,’” Nanartowich said. “I think [the officials] were being a little too technical on that, but the call is the call. I made my point.”
Moving on from the reversed goal, Hudson held its lead through the rest of the second period and the first half of the third period before Marlborough’s Tino Pizzarella scored to tie the game.
Both teams locked down defensively in what became a highly physical conclusion to the game as the Panthers and Hawks both battled to preserve at least a tie. Nanartowich noted that he pulled at least one forward back into a defensive position on the majority of shifts in the game’s final minutes.
Marlborough’s players matched that, pushing play to the corners as time ran out.
“We didn’t want to press as much and put ourselves in a bad situation,” he said. “So we just had to shorten our bench and play three defenders down the stretch. We just wanted to be smart and manage the puck well.”
As time expired, both teams stormed the ice with Hudson’s players excitedly celebrating with goalie Ryan Gonzalez despite settling for a tie in a game they led moments earlier. After all, the team was headed back to the playoffs with many of its players now set to make their postseason debuts there.
Hudson missed the playoffs a year ago, last seeing postseason ice in a 2016 loss to Algonquin. That year’s team featured a sampling of this year’s leaders, including Fecteau, who saw considerable playing time in what was a promising freshman season.
Though excited to make that return, Fecteau said he and his team are focused on their remaining games as they work to ensure they finish the regular season in the best position possible.
“We want to get better seeding, so we’re going to just keep treating these like they’re every other game,” he said. “[We will be] trying our best, trying to win these games and pull out some more points.”
by Siobhan Richards
The boys hockey team celebrated senior night against Auburn on February 10. They honored seven seniors for their dedication to the program over their high school careers.
by Dakota Antelman
Cori Hansen scored her first goal of the 2017-2018 season less than 30 minutes into her first game of the season. Hansen hopes the goal will be one of many she scores after rising in the ranks of a girl’s hockey team changed by two major offseason departures.
Early in the season, however, she offered few words on her new role — “I like it.”
The team includes student-athletes from Hudson, Marlborough, Nashoba and Algonquin high schools but has undergone a period of transition dating back to last winter. Longtime coach Jay Monfreda left the team for a job at St. Peter Marian High School during the offseason. Perennial all-star and then Hudson junior Kayla Currin transferred out of Hudson High School before the team hit the ice again last month.
Monfreda spent eight years coaching the Tomahawks and helped build the junior varsity program that many current players used to climb onto the varsity roster. Currin, meanwhile, earned all star recognition in her freshman through junior years.
As their first season without their old head coach and their former star continues, however, coaches and players agree the team has compensated well.
“We coach who is here,” said head coach Mike Hodge, who earned a promotion from the assistant coach position with Monfreda’s departure. “We’ve got some great incoming freshman and new talent.”
Hansen has been central in that growing talent pool. After scoring just one goal a year ago, she was on pace to score at least seven times in 2017, already with a goal and an assist in her first three games.
The team meanwhile, has outscored opponents 17-9 on their way to a 5-2 record to start the year.
As Hansen has been integral in the team’s offense, fellow Hudson athlete Maggie O’Brien has joined the rotation as one of the team’s young defensemen.
O’Brien jumped straight to the varsity team this year after gaining experience on a club team prior to high school.
Though she said the transition to the co-op team has been difficult, O’Brien added that she is feeling better especially after she and her fellow defenders helped shut out King Philip High School in their season opener.
“It’s a lot more comfortable now,” O’Brien said. “It’s not as awkward as it was in the beginning. I talk to more people now, so it’s easier to communicate with each other on the ice.”
As the team continues to coalesce under its new coach and new leaders, it does so with the added challenge of being a co-op program. Hansen and Hodge, however, said the structure still allows for team unity, O’Brien said the split program made difficult the process of getting to know her teammates earlier in the year.
“It’s weird because when you’re here at school, you can talk about the practice or talk about the game, but I really can’t do that with anyone,” she said.
She added that this persists even with her Hudson teammates, as she is the school’s only freshman in the varsity lineup.
Nevertheless, after missing last year’s playoffs by just one point, this year’s Tomahawk team began this winter with the goal of uniting their 11 underclassmen under their new head coach and the group of four upperclassmen left on the team.
Despite losing leaders behind the bench and on the ice before the season began, Hodge and Hansen agree that process has been quick.
“We have a good infrastructure,” Hodge said. “[We’ve got] good assistant coaches and good leadership on this team. It’s been very seamless.”
Currin scores, Cautela notches 14 saves in tie
by Dakota Antelman
The Algonquin/Hudson/Nashoba/Marlboro co-op Girls Hockey team took the ice for the first time on Sunday, playing Matignon High School to a 1-1 tie.
The game was part of the day-long Reagan Summit tournament held at the New England Sports Center in Marlboro. Teams each played two periods of hockey in front of large crowds which turned out in force for what many deem the annual beginning of the hockey season.
Despite intermittent Algonquin rushes up the ice, Matignon dictated much of the play in the first period, pelting Hudson sophomore, and T-Hawk starting goalie, Elizabeth Cautela with 15 shots. Cautela was strong in her 2015-2016 debut, stopping every shot she faced in the first period.
T-Hawks coach Jay Monfrieda turned goaltending duties over to Angie Ferro for the second period. Nevertheless, the T-Hawks offense managed to keep the Warriors offense at bay. A part of that sustained attack, the T-Hawks quickly jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a goal by Hudson sophomore Kayla Currin.
Matignon did not take long to answer however. Moments after Currin put the T-Hawks on top, the Warriors were able to race down the ice and put the game-tying shot past Ferro.
Knotted at 1-1, the T-Hawks and Matignon spent the final ten minutes of the game battling for puck possession and, in turn, shots on net. The T-Hawks defense was able to stifle the Matignon offense in the second period, allowing just nine shots, eight of which Ferro saved.
With the Reagan Summit behind them, the T-Hawks now turn their attention to next Saturday’s regular season opener against Leominster.
by Dakota Antelman
The girls hockey team finished the season in second place in the Central/West Conference of Division II Girls Hockey. And, as the season culminated with their playoff loss to Falmouth, the team was aware of a theme that had defined them this year; the success of the freshmen.
A pair of freshman goalies, two dominant ninth grade wingers, and an entire forward line made up of freshmen helped the team topple some of the best teams that Division II has to offer.
Of the four freshman starters for the T-Hawks, Hudson’s Kayla Currin and Algonquin’s Meghan Ward both finished the year ranking among the top 15 forwards in the league in points scored.
Currin in particular led the team in goals with 14, a whopping six more goals than she scored in her eighth grade season. She recognizes the noticeable step up in skills between her eighth grade hockey season and this ninth grade one.
“My stick work, skating has been very good [compared to last year],” she said. “My teammates have been giving me great passes to score, and I’ve been giving them great passes.”
Currin skated with a varying combination of linemates all season. She saw time as a left winger on the team’s top line made up of Nicole Columbe and Abby Chrisafideis, while also being paired up with Meghan Ward and others in various shorthanded and power play situations. But through all those different offensive combinations, the one constant was been her finishing ability.
The same could be said for Currin’s teammate Meghan Ward. Ward scored ten goals this season earning unquestioned praise from her teammates and coaches.
“She’s very good. Gets great passes, makes great passes,” Currin said of Ward. “She can pretty much skate around anyone.”
However, as she does with her own success, Currin attributes some of what Ward did this season to the work of her linemates: Julia Lane and Meghan Holmes.
“They’re all freshmen,” Currin says. “They start some games, blue line starts other games, which is my line. They just all connect really well because they’ve all played together before [on a different team].”
Experience and familiarity with teammates outside of the T-Hawks organization stood as a secondary theme among the freshmen on this team. Kayla Currin has played for the Minutemen Flames club team for seven years while Meghan Ward entered the season as a member of the elite Assabet A Team.
Coach Jay Monfreda credits Ward’s second team with helping prepare her for the physicality of high school hockey.
“She’s finding that the bigger girls, the bigger, stronger girls she’s playing against are a lot more physical,” Monfreda says. “You know, that’s really what you’re gonna see in the playoffs.”
He feels that his team, which was ranked 10th overall in the top 10 Massachusetts Division II schools back in the first week of January, had somewhat of a target on their backs when they opened the playoffs with a loss to Falmouth.
“When you get ranked 10th and you’re playing better Division I schools and Division II schools, the physicality, it’s pretty high,” he admitted after an early January game against the Shrewsbury Colonials. “That’s pretty much what it comes down to. Again, what their [the freshman] learning curve is is finding out how to play a lot of physical teams.”
The T-Hawks are in the midst of a transition between the older core group of players on their team and their younger stars. Though this transition year went very well for Currin, Ward, and the rest of the freshmen, they are all looking ahead to what their sophomore, junior and senior seasons will hold for them.
Simply, the presence of so many freshmen on this team grants them near immunity from yearly roster turnover due to graduating seniors for the next three years. It gives them the ability to develop their team with a focus on the long term rather than just one or two seasons with the same group of players.
“I’m excited that we can and will be all playing together as we get up to senior year,” Currin confirms. “We’re not gonna be dropping any players or whatever. So I’m definitely looking forward to what’s ahead, this year and beyond.”
by Dakota Antelman
The girls’ hockey team entered their January 10 marquee meeting with the Shrewsbury Colonials riding high after being ranked among the top ten division two schools in Massachusetts. They left sorely defeated.
Knocked down by a trio of first period goals by the Colonials, the T-Hawks struggled to gain a footing in the game. Shrewsbury took 15 shots in the first period, peppering the T-Hawks net from close range. They stifled a normally physical T-Hawks defense and kept the puck off T-Hawk sticks for the majority of the first 20 minutes of the game.
Due to their possession struggles, they were only able to counter Shrewsbury’s onslaught with four unsuccessful shots of their own.
“I think the girls were a little too amped up today,“ Coach Jay Monfreda offered as a reason for the slow start. “When they get like that they just get kinda running around the ice and kinda get out of position a little bit. We just needed to settle down and play our game.”
Regulating emotion was a struggle Saturday; more than it would be in a normal game according to Monfreda. The game, held in Worcester’s DCU Center, a near 15,000 seat arena, involved more preparation as well as a greater potential for “nerves” than would be the case in the smaller New England Sports Center that the T-Hawks currently call home.
Eventually though those nerves brought on by the venue seemed to wear off, and the T-Hawks got back to playing the kind of game they wanted to play. Shots were 10-6 in favor of the Colonials in the second period.
They held the Colonials to just one goal in the second period and began moving pucks towards the net with more ease and effectiveness.
“We got to calm down with the puck, just take our time and not give it away,” T-Hawks forward Kayla Currin said about the differences between the first and second periods. “We could have done better, but it definitely was an improvement.”
As Shrewsbury goalie Tiana Army continued to hold the T-Hawks off the scoreboard though, eventually stopping all 16 shots turned her way, frustration set in. In the game’s final ten minutes, the T-Hawks committed six penalties, pushing and shoving after the whistle blew as well.
“It [penalties] was definitely frustration,” Coach Monfreda said. “They showed frustration in between periods and their hard work just really wasn’t paying off. You do tend to see that towards the end of the game. You get frustrated, you get bumped, and you wanna shove her back. It gets kinda crazy and frustrating.”
Kayla Currin described the penalties and the reasons for them as frustration. “We could hear the girls [on Shrewsbury] talk about us in their locker room so that kinda got to us,” Currin said.
Saturday’s loss served as a harsh setback for the previously surging T-Hawks. Nevertheless, they remain in a favorable position in their league. Furthermore, they are eager to make January 10 seem like an anomaly rather than a defining game; especially as the playoffs approach.
“I definitely feel that we have a team that can go deep in the playoffs,” said Monfreda. “We’re a young team so scheduling these good teams, these tougher teams on our schedule, it definitely gives them [the freshmen] a bigger learning curve. With a young team, it’s a learning process for all and we just gotta move forward from here.”
In a season of despair, struggles, and calamity the boys hockey team(2-13-5) found a silver lining in a very unusual place
After starting the season off with a 1-7-2 record Coach Nanartowich decided to institute the “ Hard Hat,” a white hard hat with a big red “H” on the front. By “recognizing the little guy that you don’t always notice,” Coach Naz was believed it would boost team building and the general atmosphere within the locker room.
But according to senior caption Alex Sleeper, who was awarded the hat after scoring his first varsity goal, it did much more than that. “It forced everyone to work harder and work 110% all the time.”
Starting goalie Trevor Currin also attested to this. “Although as a team we did not have much success throughout the season, we used the hard hat as a goal, showing who the MVP of that game was. It was a good thing to thrive for when playing.”
After every game the player who received the hat in the previous game would give it to another player who went above and beyond, in that game, to benefit the team.
“The hat was player chosen, handed down from one player to another. Whoever got the hat would give it out next game. Amazingly it didn’t just go through a friend clique but more who deserved it. It allowed us to mend and bond more as a team,” Curran explained.
After the coaches instituted the hat, the players ran with it. On game day whoever received the hard hat in the previous game would wear it to school and then to the game.
In addition, to keep the team’s legacy alive, each recipient would sign the hat and write the score of the game.
Despite not having their best season, the boy’s hockey team found inspiration in a rather unusual place.
by Adam Colbert
Senior Dan Borella suffered an injury over the summer that threatened to end his senior season. Hockey is Dan’s only sport that he plays in high school, and he’s been learning to skate and play since age two. He’s been competing with a year-round team for the past ten years. Hockey is Dan’s life.
On July 13, 2013, the summer before his senior year, Dan was playing on a summer hockey team called the New England Renegades. Borella was hit during a game, knocked unconscious and then fell to the ground. This is when another player accidentally skated on Borella’s arm. Blood started gushing out of his arm, and his coach ran out onto the rink. He was then rushed to the door of the rink and went straight to the emergency room.
Borella suffered a lacerated right wrist with severed nerves and tendons. He lost nearly all feeling in his hand and wore a splint for two months. After that, his hand was stiff, making it hard for him to move it. Blood flow to the hand is slow, so Borella wears a glove to keep his hand warm. Without the glove, his hand would get cold without him knowing it.
The best case scenario for Borella was to get back to 100% in five months and be ready for hockey season. Slowly he realized he would not reach that goal because his hand was not getting any feeling after hockey season started. The second best scenario was a possible return in January, still enough time to return to the team. But then January came.
This put the worst case scenario into the conversation: no feeling in his hand and little motion for the rest of his life. After six months, it is starting to move better. He has been doing physical therapy two times a week since August which involves stretching and squeezing things to make his hand stronger.
“It’s rough to deal with. I’m just trying to fight it and deal with it. It could’ve been worse,” says Borella. In school, he had to switch to his left hand to write. It was difficult for him to keep up with notes and get through assignments quickly. He also had to stay away from driving for two months and still has a hard time picking heavy things up. Borella also has to deal with the emotional side of the injury.
“It’s made me stronger and made me think about how fortunate I am.” He could’ve bled to death or lost an arm if the skate landed in a different way.
“[It has] made him a more calm person. He now looks at the bigger picture. He almost died, so he looks at things differently now,” says Borella’s girlfriend Bryana Cox.
The team has really missed Borella’s presence on the ice during games. Last year he scored 14 goals and 16 assists while the team went 7-9-4. This year, the team has only been able to post a 2-9-3 record.
“I know if I was on the ice it would be so different,” Borella says. Borella brings speed and energy when he’s on the ice.
This year, Borella is there to support the team during games and practices with them. He does whatever he can in practice to help the team.
“He’s a lot more of a vocal leader because he can’t be on ice. He encourages us with compliments,” says teammate Tyler Casey. “He’s a playmaker and always gives good advice.”
Casey feels Borella’s pain because Casey shattered his scaphoid bone(wrist) into three pieces over the summer, which caused him to miss football season. “We talked about how badly we wanted to get back on the ice. He was saying how he wanted to return for senior year and be captain,” says Casey.
“He was always around the team even when he couldn’t play,” says hockey coach Mike Nanartowich. Borella was there when the team took the trip to Lake Placid in the beginning of the season. “We’re there for him, and we are going to keep him a part of the team,” says Nanartowich.
Borella is continuing to work hard every day to get cleared and return to his passion. “You can tell he’s excited to get back out there. He really misses playing,” says Casey.