The Hamden girls hockey team has a tradition of success and that trend continues this season due in large part to an experienced team that features 14 returning players.
Coming off a 4-2 win over SCC South division rival West Haven/Sacred Heart Academy on Monday, the Green Dragons are 8-1-1and have outscored opponents 55-12.
Last season, Hamden won the SCC regular season championship and advanced to the Connecticut Division I final where it lost 4-3 in overtime to Darien.
“Our team’s good start isn’t a surprise to any of us coming off the 18-4-3 season we had last season,” Hamden girls hockey coach Mike Callan said. “We recently won the Vermont Hockey For Hope tournament in South Burlington, Vermont where we beat Mount Mansfield (Vt.) in the semifinals (4-0 win) and Plattsburgh (N.Y.) in the final (6-0 victory) to win the championship for the second year in a row.”
Defeating a strong Hingham (Mass.) team in a scrimmage in December was another indication for Callan of how good the Green Dragons would be this season.
“We returned 14 players from last season on a team that features depth, balanced scoring from all three lines and strong goaltending from our four-year starter Gianna Spino,” Callan said. “The team is led by the leadership of senior co-captains Kelsey Carignan and Mackenzie Sargolini.”
The leading scorers for the Green Dragons include senior Taylor Kleysk, juniors Ari Martin and Megan McKiernan and sophomores Demeri Carangelo and Reilly Sargolini.
Defense has been another strength for Hamden with five shutouts this season. The defense is led by Mackenzie Sargolini, senior Maggie Gould and junior Claire Boncek who also contribute on offense.
“Our players and coaching staff, which includes (assistant coaches) Nik Bakos, Jessica Morgillo and Taylor Teulings, have high expectations for this season,” Callan said. “We will need to continue pushing ourselves in practices and games to get better collectively as a team every day.
“By doing that we can earn the opportunity for a chance to compete for the SCC and state championship titles again this season.”
West Haven/SHA starts strong too
Despite losing to Hamden on Monday, West Haven/Sacred Heart Academy has also enjoyed a strong start to the season. West Haven/SHA is 8-2 with three shutouts and have outscored opponents 36-15.
“We lost our first game of the season to Darien and since then we have continued to grow as a team each practice and game since,” West Haven/SHA coach Erin Blake said. “Every game the girls give 110 percent from start to finish, and as a coach, what more can you ask for? We take it one game at a time.
“The girls keep pushing themselves with the hope for qualifying for the postseason tournament. One of the strengths of the team has been the leadership of our captain and senior Shannon Siclari and assistant captains and juniors Francesca Criscuolo and Veronica Lynn.”
Among the top scores for West Haven/SHA are Taylor Nowak (15 goals, six assists), Megan Froehlich (four goals, six assists), Mia Celanto (four goals, six assists), Celina Condon (four goals, two assists), Jianna Cohrs (five goals, one assist), Jenna Hunt (one goal, five assists), Francesca Criscoulo (two goals, one assist) and Shannon Siclari (one goal, one assist).
“Taylor Nowak is strong offensively and defensively,” Blake said. “Grace Plunkett and Zoe DeFalco and freshman Hailey Alfano see time on the third line and continue to work hard every game for us. Our defense is led by Veronica Lynn (9 points), Brooke McNabola and added to our lineup this season is (freshman) Mackenzie Gardner (seven points) who has done an outstanding job.”
Blake said both of the team’s goalies have been strong.
“Kyleen Crowe and Tatum Courtmanche both have seen equal time so far in goal and are the combined backbone of our team,” Blake said. “No matter who is in net we know we have 100 percent faith in our girls. This team is something special. The girls work together offensively and defensively with the entire roster earning points so far this season.”