HALLOWELL — The Black Tigers girls hockey team enjoyed a standout season last winter, reaching the state semifinals.

The nine-team co-op is eager to build off that success.

“I’m really excited (to start the season),” said Black Tigers senior Hannah Daigneault. “We have a lot of returning players. It should be right where we left off.”

The team is comprised of players from the following schools: Gardiner, Winslow, Cony, Messalonskee, Maranacook, Erskine Academy, Lawrence, Mt. Blue and, new this season, Waterville.

The Black Tigers, who finished 14-6 last season, open the season Saturday against Mt. Ararat. And they’ll do so with a deep roster of 26 players.

“Some (of the 26) are freshmen and are new to the game,” Black Tigers head coach Bill Boardman said. “But that’s great, it means the game is growing. We’re a pretty young team.”


“(The numbers) are crazy, it’s such a good thing,” senior Evelyn Rousseau added. “Especially being my last year with this team, it’s amazing to see all of it coming together. I’ve grown up playing with these girls, and to see it go from Winslow/Gardiner/Cony to nine schools… I think that’s good not only for this season, but for seasons after me as well.”

Black Tigers coach Bill Boardman goes over some plays during a Nov. 17 girls hockey practice at The Camden National Bank Ice Vault in Hallowell. The Black Tigers are a nine-team co-op, featuring players from the following schools: Winslow, Gardiner, Cony, Lawrence, Messalonskee, Maranacook, Erskine Academy, Mt. Blue and Waterville. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

There’s plenty of reason to believe the Black Tigers can be successful yet again this season. The team returns top scoring threat Katie Berard. As a freshman last season, Berard led the team with 40 goals and 12 assists. She’ll be joined with returners Leah Michaud and Molly Hambrick, who are also sophomores. Daigneault, Rousseau and Alexa Caccamo are among the top returning defensemen.

“A huge strength is how defensive we can play,” senior Abby Allen said. “Our first offensive line plays super, and the chemistry is clicking super-fast.”

“We’re going to have to score some goals, I think we can do that,” Boardman added. “We’ll have to put the puck in the net, not miss as much as we did last year. We tend to shoot it high or wide. We’ve got to be a little more accurate with our shots on net.”

There are some voids in the starting lineup the Black Tigers will look to fill. The team graduated defenseman Kylie Boardman, who had 21 points last season, including 17 assists. The Black Tigers must also replace longtime starting goaltender Emma Michaud, who went 13-6 and had a 2.38 goals against average last season. Senior Lily Berard will take over between the pipes.

“We’ve had a couple practices, so we’ve had a chance to see what’s going on,” Daigneault said. “Our first line should be really strong. And I think our defense should be able to step up enough where it won’t make too much of a difference, and our forwards should be able to score a lot of goals.

Boardman said the team is working to improve its special teams play.

“We were horrible on special teams last year,” Boardman said. “Had we had more success there, we might have taken that next step. We’re looking to improve on special teams; penalty kill, the power play. We have to get better on that, or we’ll end up in the same place we were last year.”

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