The Yarmouth/Freeport girls’ hockey team features so much depth that even a little drama doesn’t hurt.
Yarmouth/Freeport welcomed five freshmen this year and features a 17-player roster. So when two players missed a game because of their involvement in a play, the Clippers coasted along.
The team is off to a 2-0 start and eyes a return to the postseason this year.
Yarmouth/Freeport, which beat Brunswick 7-2 and Mt. Ararat 7-1, goes for win No. 3 on Wednesday against Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete.
“We really have some good chemistry and a little depth this year,” second-year coach Jeff Haley said. “And we have some good leadership in juniors and seniors.”
Senior captain Ariel Potter continues to lead the team. A standout since her freshman season, Potter is off to a fine start with eight points in the first two games.
But Potter has another challenge besides pacing the offense.
“With our early practice times, it’s hard to bring your A game to the rink at 4:45 or 5:15 a.m.,” Potter said. “As captain I’m focusing on setting a balanced tone for the team – of hard work and fun.”
Haley called Potter “a great leader. She has great ambition, a lot of energy and is very coachable.
“Extremely unselfish. Last year she had 25 points – 13 goals and 12 assists. She’s playing with two sophomores on her line and she’s helped them a lot.”
Those two sophomores, Colleen Sullivan and Breanna Morrill, have complemented Potter well.
They’ve combined for five points in the first two games.
The second line consists of three experienced juniors – Emily Johnson, Michele Robichaud and Katie Brown – who have played together since they were freshmen. They have accounted for five goals in the first two games.
“In the past we’ve had many girls just learning to skate,” Potter said. “This year we have more experienced hockey players.”
When needing to rest those top two lines, Haley can turn to a third and fourth line.
On defense, senior Meredith McLoon is the leader. Goalie Hannah Williams is starting for her third season.
“Her game has really developed,” said Haley, a goalie in his playing days.
This is Haley’s fifth year with the program; he was an assistant his first three seasons. His assistant, Elaine Driscoll, has been with the program for six years.
Both coaches were on the bench when Yarmouth/Freeport made the playoffs in the 2011-12 season, beating Lewiston in the first round before losing to Brunswick in the East semifinals.
The Clippers finished 6-11-1 last year and just missed the postseason. With their returning players, they’re hoping to contend again.
“It’s great that we’ve won our first two games,” Potter said, “but we’re aware we’re coming up against some tough teams.”
Reaching the top of the East region will be tough, competing against two-time defending state champion Greely, along with Lewiston and Leavitt/Edward Little.
“They are teams that will give us the biggest challenge, no doubt,” Haley said. “With our experience, we look forward to that challenge. We know everything has to run through (Greely).”
Yarmouth/Freeport has three remaining games – including Wednesday’s 4:30 p.m. game – before going up against Greely next Wednesday.
GREELY FIGURED to be in a slight rebuilding season but showed some might in beating Leavitt/Edward Little 2-1 last week. Greely, which took a 2-0 lead on Danita Storey’s goals, featured its typical team defense, allowing the Red Hornets only 10 shots. Maura Perry saved nine.
SCARBOROUGH ALSO beat Leavitt/Edward Little 2-1 but had to rally from a 1-0 first-period deficit. The Red Storm scored twice in the second period on goals from Hannah Snyder and Alyssa Hulst.
BRUNSWICK IS winless in three games, but senior goalie Claire Mendes is trying to keep the Dragons competitive. Although Brunswick lost 4-0 to powerful Lewiston, Mendes made 40 saves.
Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or: email@example.com