Franklin Girls Hockey Looks to Strong Defense

Christopher Tremblay, Staff Sports Writer
Franklin girls’ ice hockey graduated two top scorers last year, so this year, the team will look to a strong defense as it hones young talent.
Issue Date: 
February, 2020
Article Body: 

Last winter, the Franklin girl’s ice hockey team went 16-2-2, earning themselves a five seed in the Division 1 Tournament, where the Panthers would eventually be eliminated by Andover in the Quarter Finals. Having lost their two big point scorers from that team, coach Marjorie Burke is looking at a different type of team this season. Despite losing those goal scorers Burke has always coached from the goalie out, so this year’s play shouldn’t be an issue.
“Having lost those goal scorers, we are really going to depend on our defense a lot this year,” the Franklin Coach said. “We have three senior defenders and a junior goalie that we’re going to relay on heavily, as I’m expecting a lot of close, low scoring games.”
Through the early part of the season, the Coach has hit the nail right on the head. Franklin has defeated Stoughton and tied a tough Austin Prep team 3-3 while losing to King Philip 2-1 and Methuen 3-2.
“The Methuen game, we were right there and had the opportunities, but just couldn’t score, but losing to King Philip this early was a cause for concern,” the Coach said. “Last year, we had the goal scorers, but the rest of the team had to play to give them the opportunity to score. The girls just didn’t believe that they could do it, but after the last two games, and the way we’ve played the last two games, has given them confidence.”
Looking to lead the Panthers on the defensive end of the ice are senior captains Tina Pisano, Gianna Cameron and Gina Vignone; all three girls have been with the team since their freshman campaign, have the experience and know what the coach is looking for.
Junior Gabby Colace will be back between the pipes for her second year for Franklin. Although not big stature-wise, the junior has the quickness to move around the crease and make those athletic saves. Being a softball player, she brings a good glove to the ice.
Joining the senior defenders on the blue line will also be freshman Shaw Downing, who according to the Coach came into camp already being a strong skater that handles the puck well and plays with confidence.
On the offensive side, senior captain Jordan Dwyer is a steady player, who, although last season didn’t find the back of the net on a regular basis, has already shown she has a knack for scoring big goals this season. Dwyer will be joined by juniors Amanda Lewandowski and Libby Carter.
“If the defense plays aggressively, nothing else will really change except for putting the puck in the net,” Burke said. “Last year, we had several girls who had double digit points. This year, I’m expecting Jordan, Libby and Amanda to lead the team in the offensive zone. The rest of our forwards are young (freshman and sophomores).”
Playing in the Hockomock League, Burke knows things are always going to be competitive and up for grabs. Entering its third year with girl’s hockey, Franklin has won one title and Canton the other.
“Canton is probably the team to beat this year,” the Panther Coach said. “To be able to take the league, we obviously need to beat Canton while not affording to lose another league game. Losing to KP took our flexibility away, and, happening this early, we need to be diligent the rest of the season.”