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Nichols Hockey Looks To Rebound

By Dave Ricci

The final results did not match what they know in their hearts they are capable of. That’s why the losses stung. And that’s what the Nichols School girls’ Prep A hockey team will keep in mind going forward.

Hosting the North American Prep Hockey Association League Weekend, Jan.27-29, the Lady Vikings walked off the ice at the Dann Memorial Rink on Sunday after a disappointing 2-0 loss to Rothesay Nerthwood School, dropping them to 1-3 over the three day event.

Jane Stevens scored the game-winner less than a minute into the game and assisted on Ashlyn Garnett’s insurance goal in the third period.

“It is disappointing, but at the same time we did recognize a lot of things that we need to work on,” said Nichols assistant coach Colleen Harris. “And as the weekend went on, system wise, we got way more responsible. We really started to work together. Rather than 21 individuals we worked as a group. We didn’t win the games, but we’re still making progress and we’re still getting there.”

It was the Lady Vikings final game of the regular season tournament that involved all eight NAPHA teams. Each team played one game against the each of the four teams in the opposing division. The Lady Vikings, who are still in second place in the MacLeod Division, faced the four clubs from the McMaster Division. Nichols fell to unbeaten Stanstead College 8-2 on Friday evening. They rebounded with a 7-1 win over Rice Memorial on Saturday morning, but then lost 3-2 heart breaker to King’s-Edgehill School on Saturday afternoon.

“It really showed us how talented some of these teams are around (the NAPHA) that we’re going to have to play,” captain Allison Attea said. “I just think that when it really counts we’re gonna get ourselves together, fix the little things and we’re gonna show them who the best team really is.”

The look of frustration was clearly etched on the faces of the Lady Vikings as they walked off the ice after the loss to Rothesay Netherwood. Frustration that went deeper than the simple black and white of losses. It was born more out of the fact they all know that if it went for little things-mental breakdowns, missed passes, getting away from the system- the results could have been much different.

“Absolutely. We’re still learning. We’re a young team,” said Harris. “It’s definitely going to be a process. It’s taking care of all the little details. A very little thing makes a big difference, so that’s what we’re going to harp on in practice and it starts there. We’re going to have to be better in practice in order to be better in games.”

Attea agreed with Harris saying that one plus is knowing the mistakes they made are well within their power to correct as they proceed forward. “This is a great learning opportunity for us to see how much harder we have to go in practice,” said Attea. “Now we know what we really need to focus on in practice.”

Nichols did have some positives to build off of. Goalie Jada Brenon was once again workhorse between the pipes. Forward Katy Knoll scored both goals in the loss to King’s-Edgehill and senior defense man Kayla Sienkiewicz returned to the lineup after being on the IR for the past couple of months due to injury. Her veteran presence will no doubt be a boost to the defensive unit which has also lost junior Taylor Pietrowski (shoulder) for the remainder of the season. Nichols saw its four-year run as NAPHA playoff champions end last season when the playoff tournament was held at the HarborCenter. As far as the Vikings are concerned, being the darkhorse suits them just fine.

“We just said I’d rather be the underdogs at the end of the season,” said Harris. “No pressure on us and we can go up there and shock some people.”

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