March 29, 2013

Junior Pirates build to their best for hockey nationals

The girls' U19 team -- 14 players from nine area programs -- earned the right to play in California.

By Steve Craig
Staff Writer

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Kendall Carr, on the left, elicits a laugh from her teammates on the Portland Junior Pirates U19 girls’ hockey team at a practice in Saco.

Photos by Tim Greenway/Staff Photographer

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Matt Libby, coach of the Portland Junior Pirates girls’ U19 team, diagrams instructions at the MHG Ice Center in Saco on Thursday. And Libby has a lot to offer – he played for both Providence College and professionally for the Portland Pirates.

Tim Greenway

Additional Photos Below

The roster includes center Finlay and winger Paige Tuller of Greely; goalie Devan Kane, defender Samantha Nablo and Martens from Scarborough; York defender Kendall Carr and goalie Olivia Drew; defender Drew Barry of Portland/Deering; forward Ariel Potter of Yarmouth; and forward Jennifer Pepin of Sanford.

Pepin played on the Massabesic boys' junior varsity team. Also on the team are Cape Neddick's Gabrielle Boualavanh, who plays at Berwick Academy, and Sandra Strogen of Madbury, N.H. (Oyster River High).

Drew and Kane have split time evenly in the goal and been key parts of the team's success. "Starting out, I never imagined we'd make it this far and be this tight and close together," Martens said.

During Wednesday's practice at the team's home facility, the MHG Ice Center in Saco, it was easy to spot big grins behind the face masks.

"I always look forward to coming here because everyone here loves to play hockey and loves to have fun," Carr said.

Libby said "That's really the most important thing; having fun and enjoying the game. The girls do a very good job of that."

Still, there is a vein of old-time hockey in Libby -- he played ECHL games in the Johnstown Chiefs' barn after all. He said he's "been on the girls to prepare for games with a little more focus."

Roy said that type of clarity of purpose will be needed at the Tier II nationals. "We just need to play our game ... just do our thing and calm down."


Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or at:


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Additional Photos

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Goalie Devan Kane of Scarborough blocks a puck during practice, as the girls’ U19 team gets ready for the upcoming national tournament in early April at San Jose, Calif.


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