Even after the Hopkinton/Dover-Sherborn co-op girls ice hockey team went 10 games without a victory, coach Ron Chin had the sense that his team was getting close.
“We were right in it every game,” Chin said. “The girls were working hard and putting in the time in practice and really coming together as a team.”
The effort is paying off. The team rattled off three wins and a tie after the early rough start, putting itself back in the mix for a potential playoff spot due to its difficult schedule.
“The wins are a result of all the hard work,” Chin said. “I am pretty happy with how we are doing right now.”
Chin said the Hillers started to jell as they got used to the system he is trying to implement.
“It’s starting to click,” he said. “Everybody is contributing.”
The team has one senior, Dover-Sherborn’s Avery Bent, the team captain.
“She does everything right, at practice and in games,” her coach said. “She is creating opportunities for us and moving the puck well. She sets an example for the other girls, and she has been rewarded with goals and points.”
Chin calls Hopkinton sophomore Lucey Jean the team’s most “dynamic” forward.
“She is always creating opportunities,” he said. “She is hungry for the puck and has been one of our top scoring threats.”
Two more Hopkinton students have been standouts on defense. Sophomore Callie Arthur has impressed Chin with her energy and effort, and another sophomore, Mary Finnegan, has excelled despite being a converted forward.
“She has put in a tremendous amount of work to learn a new position,” Chin said.
The co-op also has been lifted by contributors from the Mendon-Upton school district. Nipmuc High School student Riley Collura, the goaltender, and eighth-grader Madalin Barroso, a top scorer, have been key cogs all winter long. Dover-Sherborn junior Reece Perdoni has logged significant minutes on the blue line, Chin added.
The team has set goals for itself both in the short term and for the future. This season, the Hillers are still hoping to bring home a win in the Tri-Valley League, something that escaped the team through January’s games. Hopkinton also is potentially in the mix for a postseason spot with a strong finish.
“We want to minimize mistakes and create more opportunities where we can capitalize,” Chin said. “We think that will keep us in games, help us in the power rankings, and maybe get us in the tournament.”
Overall, Chin sees this winter as a great building year for the program, with nearly the entire roster slated to return next season.
“I love what we have,” he said. “It’s good for this group to get used to the style of playing that we want and understand the system. They are seeing the results, so we want to build on that and increase the level of experience that we have.”