×

Meet the new-look Griffins

  • The ConVal-Conant girls' hockey team hosted Bedford on Saturday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal-Conant girls' hockey team hosted Bedford on Saturday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal-Conant girls' hockey team hosted Bedford on Saturday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal-Conant girls' hockey team hosted Bedford on Saturday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal-Conant girls' hockey team hosted Bedford on Saturday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal-Conant girls' hockey team hosted Bedford on Saturday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal-Conant girls' hockey team hosted Bedford on Saturday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal-Conant girls' hockey team hosted Bedford on Saturday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal-Conant girls' hockey team hosted Bedford on Saturday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal-Conant girls' hockey team hosted Bedford on Saturday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant’s Abby Drew (13) fights for the puck as the ConVal-Conant girls' hockey team hosted Bedford on Saturday. Drew scored both goals for the Griffins as they fell to the Bulldogs 8-2. Staff photo by Ben Conant

  • The ConVal-Conant girls' hockey team hosted Bedford on Saturday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal-Conant girls' hockey team hosted Bedford on Saturday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, December 18, 2017 5:49PM

The ConVal-Conant girls’ hockey team has found the right combination of athleticism and attitude as they begin a new era.

The Griffins took the ice Saturday against Bedford with a slew of new players — some who’d never skated prior to this season — and a new head coach in Chris Spingola.

Spingola took over for Courtney McKay, who ushered the program from its infancy to the first goal and last year, the first win. Now, Spingola hopes to keep building on the foundation. 

“Courtney did a great job, we’re not here if it wasn’t for her,” said Spingola.

The Griffins’ new coach has set his expectations low for the season — “If we win two this year, I’ll do a cartwheel at center ice,” he said — but given what they showed against Bedford, Spingola might do well to keep limber.

Conant’s athletic duo of long-jumpers, Abby and Hayley Drew, chose hockey this winter after playing hoops last year, and their presence was felt quickly. Despite neither having skated before a nine-week preseason clinic, the twins looked instrumental in the Griffin offense.

“Those are two girls that are going to score a majority of our goals for the next three years,” Spingola said. “They’re animals, they’re tall, they’re lanky, they’ve got plenty of wingspan out there. It will be fun to watch them grow. They’ll be the backbone of this team.”

Abby Drew put ConVal-Conant on the board in the second period, unassisted, and then followed up a shot by Hayley in the third for another goal.

“I've always been told whenever I shoot to never give up, always get my rebound,” Abby Drew said, “So whenever I would shoot, I would just continue 'til the whistle's blown.”

That never-give-up attitude is just what Spingola hoped to get when he recruited the sisters to the team. Hayley’s perhaps a step slow at this point due to a preseason ankle injury, but once she catches up, there’s great potential. And Abby?

“Abby’s a gamer,” Spingola said. “I think she’d fight you over chess or checkers.”

Despite a strong showing, the Griffins were no match for Bedford, as the Bulldogs’ star Maddy Lucontoni seemed capable of literally skating circles around the competition, slipping around and slicing through the ConVal-Conant defense. Lucontoni was happy to look for the pass on nearly every possession, floating the puck through the Griffin zone in hopes that her teammates could finish the job.

Lucontoni finished with a hat trick and an assist, garnering praise for her restraint and grace.

“She was unselfish, she was smart, and she made every player on that other team a better player,” Spingola said. “Good for her.”

With tempered expectations, Abby Drew thought her new team looked pretty good in their first game.

“For the most part we were really good for our first game,” she said. “I see potential in us, I'm really proud. I'm looking forward to the season.”

Conant freshman Abby Friend was more than serviceable in net, turning away her share of Bedford shots, as Lucontoni tested the keeper over and over again with hard shots and tantalizing passes.

Spingola’s looking forward not just to a season-long improvement, but ever further, to the long game. With a strong, young core and his own hockey-playing daughters due up to the high school in a few years, the future looks bright.

“My biggest goal is to grow the freshman class all the way through,” Spingola said. I'd like to compete for wins every week, I'd like to get into a spot where we can maybe sniff the playoffs in four years. I think that's pretty reasonable with this core of girls we have right now. A two-, three-, four-win season would make me happy as a clam next year.”

ConVal-Conant (0-1) travels to play Oyster River (0-2) today at 5 p.m. at UNH. The Griffins host Bishop Brady (0-0) Thursday at 4 p.m.