WNY Athletics

Nichols Ready For NAPHA

By Dave Ricci

It’s a three-day test that will go a long way in telling the Lady Vikings just where they stand as they head into the home stretch of the regular season.

This weekend, Jan.27-29, the Nichols School girls’ Prep A hockey team will face one of it’s strongest challenges as they will face four opponents from the North American Prep Hockey Association. Entering the weekend in second place of the NAPHA’s MacLeod Division, the Lady Vikings will face the four teams from the McMaster Division.

“This division that we’re in is really challenging,” said Nichols defenseman Allison Attea, a senior captain. “I think that this whole tournament that is happening this week at Nichols is going to put us in the mind set of what’s coming up for the rest of the season. And I think it’s going to let us know how much better we have to get, what to work on and how we’re going to beat them (in the playoffs) when it counts.”

Not considered a tournament, the three day event will actually be the league’s way of teams getting in their regular season games. It should also serve as an intense primer for the playoffs which are just a few short weeks away.
All games will be played at Dann Memorial Rink on the Nichols campus, with the first game of Trinity v. King’s-Edgehill dropping the puck Friday at 11:15am.

Nichols will hit the ice for its first game on Friday at 6pm as they have the tall task of facing Stanstead College. Entering the weekend with a spotless 9-0 record, Stanstead holds down first place in the McMaster Division and boast a very strong goalie tandem of Kamille Longchamps (0.20 goals against average) and Shaylin McFarlane (0.50). While Rosalie Demers (22 points) is the first of four Stanstead players at the top of the league’s scoring charts.

“Stanstead is a really great team, but I think that if we play as a team and we hustle I think we will (win),” said Attea. “They beat us with five minutes left, they scored two goals on us last game, so we have to get them back now.”
But Nichols has plenty of skill to combat Stanstead. Forward Katy Knoll’s 11 goals ranks first in the league and Jada Brenon leads all goalies in minutes played with 360.

“Just coming together as a team,” Brenon said, when asked where Nichols has made the greatest strides in recent weeks.
“A lot of us have come from different outside teams with different coaches, different systems. I guess as time went on we just came together as a team. We got to know each other better in the locker room. The whole team has just improved so much from the beginning of the year.”

Regardless of the results the Vikings won’t have much time to dwell on that game as they are in action against Rice Memorial Saturday at 9:45am and Kings-Edgehill at 4:45.

They will wrap up the weekend Sunday with against Rothesay-Netherwood at 9:45.

With four high profile games in three days the Vikings feel that hosting this event is a plus in their favor as they don’t have to worry about travel issues and they have the peace of mind of knowing there are sleeping in their own beds.
“It’s definitely a major plus,” said Brenon. “We have the home rink advantage so you know where all the bounces are, so there’s definitely an advantage to that. We’re hoping to get a hometown crowd out. And just the advantage of sleeping in your own bed and coming ready for games.”

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