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Shrewsbury girls hockey is looking to match last year’s success

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Shrewsbury High coach Frank Panarelli and his captains stand with the Division I girls’ hockey state championship. Photography: Bill Gilman

SHREWSBURY — Since winning its first-ever 2023 Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association Division I championship in March, the Shrewsbury Colonials girls ice hockey team has been busy.

The team visited the State House, Fenway Park and Polar Park, and dropped the ceremonial puck at a Worcester Railers game. Throughout the past few months, the team has taken every opportunity to celebrate its title win over St. Mary’s High School (Lane) at TD Park.

However, with the new season fast approaching – the first official training was scheduled for November 27, and captaincy training is well underway – Shrewsbury are refocusing and looking forward to next season and the chance to return to back-to-back status. Champions.

“They worked really hard,” head coach Frank Panarelli said. “[The players] I know that [the championship] It was great. I finish. Let’s focus on this year.”

After graduating several seniors — including Telegram & Gazette Girls Athlete of the Year Maddie Mrva — the Shrewsbury team will be doing some shuffling. Jasmine McKenzie, who scored the go-ahead goal in the championship game in March, has since transferred to another school and will not return to the Shrewsbury squad.

“We need girls to take on bigger roles… We’re going to have a target on our back, which we’re kind of used to because we’ve had some very successful teams. It seemed like we had everyone’s best game,” Panarelli said.

He noted that Shrewsbury played in “probably the best league in the state.”

The Shrewsbury squad will have plenty of familiar faces and important contributors returning. Marissa Montoya — the team’s goalkeeper and now senior captain — returns to the net. “It all starts with,” Panarelli said [Montoya]”, referring to her “wonderful” performance in the tournament.
Bridget McLaughlin, Paige O’Mell, Kelly Fay, Mia Ryder, Blair Fay, Lauren Albertson, Natalie McCausland, and Sadie Cosson are among those returning to the team.

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Panarelli said the team has a “good balance” of returning players and starters.

“Hockey is a small world, so at some point, it seems like some of these kids are always playing with each other. They know each other a little bit,” he said. “Our first scrimmage, I always make it a good bus ride — this year we’re going out to play a scrimmage at Malden Catholic . It’s a great bonding experience. “We’re on the bus for the first time, all freshmen…it’s great to bond before the season starts.”

Although Shrewsbury enjoyed great success last year, Panarelli said the team will remain focused.

“Our main goal before every season is to get to the playoffs, to get to the championship. That’s where I’ll start on our first day of practice. That’s going to be our goal — let’s get to the championship. There’ll be no talk of championships,” he said.

The Colonials’ season will begin against Billerica on December 14.

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