This has become a regular thing for the Notre Dame Academy (Hingham, Mass.) girls’ hockey team, and one local was a major part of their success.
The Cougars finished their season 23-0-1 and on Sunday, Mar. 19, they topped Canton High, 5-2, in the Division 2 State Championship at TD Garden. The team is led by their three junior captains on defense, including Halifax’s Meredith Stewart.
“It’s amazing,” Stewart said of the win. “I didn’t even think it was real until the final buzzer sounded. It’s just amazing to be able to come here two years in a row and win it with your teammates.”
For the Cougars, not only was the win significant in that they proved themselves as the top school in their division, but they also defended last year’s state title–their first in school history.
Albeit the Cougars returned a talented squad this season, one thing really stood out: they did not have any seniors on their roster. As a result, it led to some players having to step up and lead the squad at a younger age, including Stewart.
“We had good role models last year,” she said. “Our captains last year kind of paved the way for us. We just relied on each other and encouraged each other all year. It worked out well.”
Stewart was a fixture on a Cougars defense that allowed a mere 27 goals in 24 games this season. Statistically speaking, they were arguably the state’s top defense this season. So what made them so special?
“We have some experience back there and worked really hard,” she said. “We encouraged one another, believed in each other which got ourselves through those games.”
While it is still about a year away, perhaps the Cougars could win a third straight title next season. After all, they had no seniors on this year’s squad, so they could retain their entire team and gain talent from an incoming freshman class.
Of course, there are no guarantees as there is always the potential for transfers, but the Cougars should be in contention once again next season.