THE MT. ARARAT/MORSE HIGH SCHOOL girls hockey team, gathering before a game last season, opens tonight at home against Biddeford at Sidney J. Watson Arena. Brunswick and Yarmouth/Freeport open on the road Saturday.

THE MT. ARARAT/MORSE HIGH SCHOOL girls hockey team, gathering before a game last season, opens tonight at home against Biddeford at Sidney J. Watson Arena. Brunswick and Yarmouth/Freeport open on the road Saturday.

BRUNSWICK

The girls high school ice hockey season is set to kick off tonight and Saturday, with all three area teams in action.

Here is a look at the teams:

Brunswick

Third-year coach Dave Boucher has high expectations for his Brunswick Dragons team this season.

The Dragons are coming off an 8-10 season that earned them a No. 5 seed in postseason play. The Dragons beat Gardiner/Winslow, 5-3 in a quarterfinal match before falling to eventual state champion St. Dom’s, 6- 2 in the North semifinals.

This year, the Dragons return a mixture of talent, despite losing Jenna Brooks, their leading goal scorer the last two seasons. They include senior captain Colleen McKearney and junior Shea Sullivan on defense.

“They have played varsity for us since their freshman years,” said Boucher. “They add some stability back on defense. We hope to get them both involved a little more in the offense this year.”

Assistant captain Beth Labbe returns to center and provides some offensive firepower and leadership to the Dragons following a successful soccer season in net. Senior winger Madeline Berry and assistant captain Lydia Ginty both return and give the Dragons strong two-way players on the ice.

Boucher also likes the youth coming into the program, most notably freshmen Emily Factor, Greta White and Elena Palmer.

“Our freshmen are really gelling together with the rest of our team so far,” said Boucher.

Junior Nadia Leiner will man the net while freshman Hanna Wentworth will also see time in the cage.

The coach believes the Dragons will win their share of games in the regular season, playing competitively with the teams on their schedule.

“We have a couple of scoring lines this season that should contribute, and with that, I think we can win our share of games,” said Boucher.

Brunswick opens the season Saturday in Portland against the Portland/Deering squad at 6:10 p.m.

Yarmouth/Freeport

The Clippers open the season

with plenty of optimism, eager to build off their 7-11 season from a year ago.

A more competitive schedule against teams they have not faced in the past few seasons will provide strong competition early on.

Yarmouth/Freeport has several freshmen this season eager to learn, the squad is meshing well with the returning players. Allison Perrotta of Freeport is one of the freshman expected to contribute. Perrotta is one of two goaltenders for the Clippers.

“She has shown strength between the pipes during the teams’ preseason scrimmages,” said Yarmouth/Freeport coach Megan Vaughan. “We look forward to having two competitive goaltenders this season. “

Freeport’s Paige Rinaldi returns to the ice and has moved to the wing following a strong season on the soccer field. She has shown strength in her new role and the team hopes to create more scoring opportunities this season for the senior forward.

Assistant captain Margaret Perrotta of Freeport brings her strong work ethic to the team. She scored several important goals last year and Vaughan looks forward to seeing her create offensive opportunities, while hopefully putting the puck in the net often.

“ She is a hard worker, leader on and off the ice, and has been named assistant captain for the 2017/ 2018 season,” said Vaughan.

The Clippers open their season this Saturday in Auburn against Edward Little/ Leavitt/ Poland, with face- off slated for 3:30 p.m. The Red Hornets ousted Yarmouth/ Freeport in the quarterfinals last February.

Ya r mouth/ Fre e por t opens its home schedule on Wednesday against Gardiner/ Winslow at Travis Roy Arena in Yarmouth.

Mt. Ararat/Morse

Mt. Ararat/Morse looks to transition in both expectations and in coaching this season.

This season marks head coach Ron Hutchins’ 10th behind the glass and being involved with girls ice hockey in Maine. After founding the Eagles program eight years ago and building it into one of the largest female winter sports program in recent Eagles history, Hutchins will be stepping down after this season and looking to turn over the reigns to this year’s co- head coach Jeremy Saxton.

“ Coach Saxton brings an incredible amount of technical expertise that the players need,” said Hutchins. “ The Eagles’ middle school program has won the divisional championships in their first two years and these young champions need the next level of coaching that Saxton can provide.”

In just the first two weeks of practice, Hutchins states his players have responded positively to the new directives and have already shown improvement.

Following a winless campaign in 2016/17, the Eagles have their sights set on moving in the right direction.

They graduated eight seniors from last year’s squad and return some core leadership.

“We’re a balanced team this year,” said Hutchins, noting his team is looking for several players to contribute this season.

The Eagles open their season tonight against Biddeford at Sidney J. Watson Arena at 7 p.m.


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