Optimism runs high in Hopkins girls hockey program
Although the 2012-13 season ended in disappointment with a 3-1 loss to Armstrong/Cooper, the Hopkins High girls hockey team is primed for continued success next winter.
The Royals will graduate only two players, Leah Chase and Melaina Johnson, from a team that had a 17-7-2 record this season. Not only that, they return better than 95 percent of their scoring.
For starters, the Royals will have forward Corbin Boyd, their leading scorer with 54 points on 19 goals and 35 assists. Nina Rodgers is eligible to come back for her senior year after amassing 47 points on 27 goals and 20 assists this season. Defenseman Grace Bizal, the third-leading scorer with 29 points on 10 goals and 19 assists, is also coming back.
And if you’re wondering about the goaltending, Hopkins will return Erin O’Neil, one of the best in the Lake Conference.
Other varsity players eligible to come back are goalie Molly Dione, defensemen Laura Clemens, Alexandra Freie, Kate Glover and Gretchen Patterson and forwards Jillaine DeYoung, Hope Docter, Stella Haberman, Kylie Hanley, Rachael St. Clair, Shortie Sheran, Hannah Spooner, Stephanie Sween and Terese Warden.
“We’ve got to get faster and we’ve got to get stronger in the off-season,” said Royal head coach Vin Paolucci. “I know that our girls are highly motivated to put in the work.”
Boyd and Bizal, two of the highest scoring sophomores in the metro area, could hold the key.
“You have to know hockey to know how good Corbin is,” said Paolucci. “She makes everyone around her better. Grace is a very dynamic player; a defenseman who can score goals. They will rally the other kids next season.”
The playoff loss to Armstrong/Cooper was something no one on the Hopkins side anticipated.
A bad bounce at the end of the second period gave Armstrong/Cooper its third goal of the game. As the puck hit the back of the net, only one second remained in the period.
“The Armstrong/Cooper girl got the shot off and it bounced over Erin’s stick,” said Paolucci. “It is always tough to overcome a goal like that [at the end of the period]. That’s puck luck.
“Give Armstrong/Cooper credit. Their goalie [Lexi Ripka] played well and they did a lot of other things well, too.”
Paolucci said his two seniors, Chase and Johnson, fit in well with the younger players.
“We will miss those two,” the coach noted. “They were outstanding. I was proud to coach this team. They all came to the rink with a great attitude every day. From start to finish, they controlled the two things they could control – attitude and effort.”
Contact John Sherman at firstname.lastname@example.org