Somehow Tabor Academy heads into the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council Girls Ice Hockey Tournament as the third seed, despite only losing one game.
The Seawolves’ 20-1-3 record slates them behind No. 2 Noble and Greenough, who won their lone matchup with Tabor 4-3, as well as No. 1 Williston Northampton School. Tabor could get another shot at Noble, but only if the Seawolves take care of business in the opening round on Wednesday at 2:30 pm at Travis Roy Ice Arena against No. 6 Phillips Andover. The two teams met earlier in the year with Tabor coming out on top by a score of 3-1.
“They’ve got some really good players,” Tabor coach Eric Long said. “They had a great year; they have a great goalie, and it’s going to be another close game.”
Phillips Andover is among the eight Division I prep schools in New England featured, but there’s a reason Tabor is a top-three team.
The Seawolves have had a few close games throughout the season, but they’ve won a fair share of games by wide margins. In their first three games of the season, they outscored their opponents 15-3. Their next three games, 15-3 again.
There were other impressive stretches mixed in – like the first three games of February where they won 8-0, 8-1 and 9-1 – but that second 15-3 run was an important one. That was the start of the Taft Tournament, right before the holidays. Tabor went on to win it for the first time since 2011, walking out with a 7-0-1 record. At that point, it was evident to Long his team could have a memorable season.
“Six of the top-10 teams in New England were at that tournament,” Long said. “Once we got through that without a loss – typically it’s hard to get through that tournament – at that point it was like, ‘Alright, we have a handful of hard games left, but we just got through a handful of hard games the first (portion) of the year and we don’t have a loss.’”
A big reason for the continued success and outpouring of offense is Tabor has two lines that can score. The first group of Skylar Irving, Annie Berry,and Abby Newhookhas combined for 44 goals and 39 assists. Irving leads the team with 18 goals and 15 assists (33 points), while Newhook has 15 goals and 11 assists (26 points) and Berry has 11 goals and 13 assists (24 points).
Meanwhile, the second line of Olivia O’Brien, Cindy Giandomenico, and Ashley Clarkhas scored 27 goals and logged 17 assists. Giandomenico (15 points) leads the trio with 11 goals, while Clark (15 points) and O’Brien (14 points) each have eight. There’s also been help at the blue line with Julia Shaunessy(19 points) scoring 12 goals on the season to go with her seven assists.
“I think that’s really been the difference this year to last year, the depth. And we’re a little bit healthier,” Long said.
Among the group, Berry, O’Brien, and Giandomenico will play college hockey next year. Giandomenico will play for Colby College; Berry is heading to the University of New Hampshire; O’Brien is Yale-bound.
The Seawolves will need all of them to be at their best, as well as goalie Christine Steege(.927 save percentage and 1.19 goals-against average), if they hope to play on Saturday in the semi-finals of the NEPSAC tournament and Sunday in the finals.
Tabor Academy girls basketball qualified for the NEPSAC Class AA tournament as the second seed and plays host to Northfield Mount Hermon on Wednesday at 4:00 pm. If the Seawolves win, they play again on Sunday against the winner of No. 1 Worcester Academy and No. 4 The Rivers School.
Tabor boys basketball enters the NEPSAC Class A tournament as the sixth seed. They play on Wednesday, on the road at Avon Old Farms against No. 2 The Hotchkiss School. If the Seawolves win, they take on the winner of No. 2 Williston Northampton School and No. 7 Choate Rosemary Hall in the semi-finals on Saturday.
High School Sports
By Nick Friar