FRAMINGHAM – After a stunning overtime victory over longtime rival Natick, the Framingham Youth Hockey Program is sending their Women’s League Flyer squad to the United States for the first time.
The U19 A team, made up mostly of varsity hockey players from Framingham High, will face Massachusetts’ best programs this weekend at Veterans Memorial Arena in Waltham.
The Youth Girls’ Hockey Program was born several years ago when a group of parents, coaches and volunteers realized that although more girls were signing up for the hockey program, they were not. not necessarily. This group did the work of creating a new program starting with a squad – and many of these original players are playing in the United States for the first time.
“I remember when it all started as a simple question of ‘why’ aren’t there any women’s hockey teams in our program,” said Pam Chalmers, one of the founders of that first team. . “This question sparked a movement where a bold group of young girls and very dedicated coaches have worked tirelessly to prove that we ‘can’ make it happen. “
The program was supported by Framingham Youth Hockey coaches and board members Kevin Houlker and Jeff Quinn.
The dynamic program has now grown to 8 separate teams across 5 age groups, as well as a large number of young girls in FYHP’s Learn to Play program.
“Winning District 8 is a huge achievement,” said Quinn, who is also an assistant coach for the U19 A team. “We have helped hundreds of girls discover and play the sport who otherwise would never have had the chance at Framingham. ”
“I’m very proud to have achieved our goal of having several girls’ teams playing junior hockey for Framingham at all age levels in such a short time,” said Houlker, who is also an Under-19 coach. “Congratulations to the 19U A team and thank you to all the players, coaches and parents who support our program”
It’s an opportunity that seemed unlikely just a few years ago.
“A lot of these players started in mixed teams and we were in danger of losing them,” said Franklin, who is also an assistant coach for the U19 A team. “But they really started to shine once they started. to play on a women’s team and transgender in a women’s league. ”
“I feel so proud and happy for these players,” said U19A assistant coach Blaise Tersoni. “They worked really hard. Hockey is not an easy sport to play – it takes a lot of players, parents and volunteers to make it happen. For them, beating their biggest rival, at home in front of relatives, friends, classmates, going to the United States for the first time, it was really special.
The U19 A team won the District 8 championship against rival Natick at the Loring Arena in spectacular fashion last Sunday.
Framingham led most of the game, with two goals from Framingham High senior Rachael Neiberger and a leading snipe from junior Ryen Taylor.
The strong defense and strong goalkeepers of junior Mikal Franklin and rookie Liz Luong kept Natick at bay; but the Comets managed to tie with about a minute remaining in regulation time. That meant an additional three to three for sudden death.
“Our children had played so well. I could tell they were feeling confident, ”said head coach Mike Clark. “We train hard, we prepare for situations like these. So I sent my first three players out there with a simple message: do what you’ve been doing all year and win it. About a minute into overtime, junior Molly Clark blocked a shot from the blue line, chased the puck into the neutral zone and broke into the breakaway.
It wasn’t easy watching his daughter with the puck on her stick and the game on the line.
“It was an aggressive game, but she managed to pull apart, come in on her own and finish it, eventually hitting her own rebound. It was an incredible feeling to see her succeed, ”he said.
Many Framingham Youth Hockey midget players (high school players) were in Loring that evening to prepare for their Sunday night House League games. Like so many times before, an old barn erupted as they watched their friends and classmates beat Natick – which is always a thrill – to sudden death. This time, it was history on the move.
Banknote to the States: hallmarked.
According to Clark, the team is solid from top to bottom of the roster.
“Our group of attackers can compete with anyone. Whether they’re tackling a tough front check or getting offensive creativity, they do. Ava Sullivan, Sophia Tersoni, Molly Clark, Maggie Robinson, Mason Puumala, Amber Welch, Rachel Neiberger, Brooke Anderson and Zoe Yale have been amazing all year, ”said Clark.
“Our defensive body is just as great. We’ve encouraged them to play offensively and they contribute to the scoreboard, but they can knock out the best of the best as well. Ryen Taylor, Alix Russo, Charlotte Felz, Peyton Wolfe and Katie Quinn have been a force and I expect that to continue this weekend, ”said the head coach.
“The backbone of our team has been the tandem of goalies Liz Luong and Mikal Franklin, two of the best goalies in the state in my opinion. We are fortunate to have two exceptional players at the most important position on the ice, who constantly support each other and give our team a chance to win every game we play, ”said Clark.
“Our strong, dedicated coaching staff bring so many years of experience to the table. We couldn’t have come this far without Blaise Tersoni, Josh Franklin, Jeff Quinn and Mara Yale – all exceptional coaches who continue to place our player development as their top priority. It really is the unpaid professionals who are some of the best in the business, ”said Clark.
The Framingham U19 team will play at 5:20 p.m. Friday at the Ryan Arena in Watertown to face the Stoneham Spartans.
The tournament moves to the Veterans Memorial Ice Rink in Waltham on Saturday, where the Flyers face Milton at 8:10 a.m. and MassBay at 6:10 p.m.
If they qualified for the semi-finals, they would face off Sunday morning and afternoon at Waltham.
Photo and report submitted to SOURCE