Girls hockey: Williston buries season-high 12 goals in shutout win over Worcester Academy

By CONNOR PIGNATELLO

Staff Writer

Published: 02-14-2024 8:28 PM

EASTHAMPTON – When Emily Hamann joined the Williston Northampton girls ice hockey team in 2020, the Wildcats had never won a NEPSAC crown. They only played five games in her Covid-shortened debut season.

But in Hamann’s sophomore campaign, they won the program’s first-ever NEPSAC title. Last year, they did it again. And they went undefeated. 

This time around, Hamann is a senior and an assistant captain, and she and the rest of the Williston team are gunning for a third straight title.

“That (freshman season) kind of put the rest of our careers into perspective,” Hamann said. “We agreed as a team, there is no other option than winning and this is what we’re going to do. I think that started a new mindset on the team – a tradition of, you come here to work hard, you come here to win.”

On Wednesday afternoon at Lossone Rink, Williston scored a season-high 12 goals and only allowed Worcester Academy five shots in a 12-0 win. The Wildcats improved to 17-2-2, second in the NEPSAC standings.

Hamann and fellow senior assistant captain Monique Lyons each notched two goals and an assist.

The win came on the back of Williston’s second loss of the season on Saturday against Andover – which the Wildcats beat 4-1 in last year’s NEPSAC championship. Williston outshot Andover, but lost 1-0 on a goal with only two minutes remaining.

“(We wanted to) get the chemistry back in our lines, and we did just that,” Hamann said. “We were having fun out there. As we started scoring, as we started finding each other again, the energy was high on the bench, high on the ice and it was a good bounce back.”

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Williston scored six times in the first period without allowing a shot and then scored four more in the second before a pair in the third period. Worcester Academy didn’t manage much possession of the puck.

Even when the Wildcats held an insurmountable advantage in the second and third periods, they kept tallies of clean breakouts, good cycles and hard forechecks to make sure they were staying disciplined despite the sizable lead. They tried to get as many players to touch the puck as possible, and 15 players ended up registering at least one point.

Williston head coach Christa Talbot Syfu said the team is moving in the right direction. 

“We’re looking to put ourselves in the best position possible for playoffs,” Hamann said. “We want to play here as much as we can.”

Williston enjoyed home-ice advantage throughout last year’s playoffs thanks to a 21-0-1 regular season record, but it faces a challenging slate in the final three games of the regular season. The Wildcats face Loomis Chafee (17-4-1), Deerfield Academy (16-4-2) and Buckingham Browne & Nichols (10-5-2) to finish out the season before the NEPSAC tournament begins.

Practices for the next couple weeks before NEPSAC playoffs will be uptempo and confidence-building, Talbot Syfu said. She’s looking to refine some details in the final two weeks of the regular season.

After those three final games, Williston will begin its quest to add a third trophy to its quickly-growing silverware cabinet. And the seniors are looking to finish what they started four years ago, back in that five-game freshman season.

“As seniors, leaving on a good note, this means everything to us. This is what we’ve worked for for the past four years,” Hamann said. “it would be awesome if we could leave on a high note.”

Other results

In other Williston action from Wednesday...

Girls swimming and diving swept with wins over Ethel Walker (58-44) and Wilbraham Monson (89-13). Gabi Bobiak, Lucy Hoyt and Mya Schattin led the way.

Boys swimming and diving picked up two wins on Senior Day, as the Cats earn a 59-42 win over Avon and a 62-39 win over Wilbraham.

Boys varsity squash fell to Pomfret 7-0 despite some competitive matches. Nevin Conroy received the Williston game ball for playing the strongest game of his season.

Boys Varsity Basketball lost to a talented Loomis squad, 62-48.