The Barrington High School girls’ hockey team made quick work of the Narragansett co-op team, beating the Storm in two consecutive games and making high school history by securing the Division II Rhode Island State Championship three years in a row.
“I’m so proud of my team. It’s entirely a team effort,” said goalie and team captain, Sophie Faxon. “Defensively we knew they (Narragansett) were going to come out flying. We prepared for that and we were ready.”
The Eagles took game two of the best-of-three series on Friday night in a 5-0 shut-out after beating Narragansett on Thursday, 4-0.
During their warm-up exercises prior to Friday’s game, seniors Faxon and fellow senior, Olivia Lucas, were confident that the series would not go to a game three, even though in their four season match-ups, the two teams tied twice and posted a win and a loss each.
“Absolutely not,” Lucas said of a game three scenario. “Right now everyone looks at us as equals.”
But after beating the Storm in game one, the senior defenseman believed otherwise.
“They didn’t play any different. I think we stepped up,” she said.
The Barrington team took the ice wearing the dark blue uniforms they wore when they won the championship last year. While the team colors may have been planned for superstition, the outcome of the game was determined by the girls’ ability.
“We came out 100 percent and just played the best that we could,” Faxon said.
During the first period, both teams appeared sluggish on the ice, their fatigued muscles still recovering from the previous night’s physical game. Barrington head coach, Deneen Stebenne, helped the girls to adjust by making frequent substitutions until the momentum of the game changed.
Two-thirds through the first period, that momentum did change for the Eagles. Once the girls began to coordinate their passing efforts and move the puck effectively, it became a matter of game management to secure the win.
The first goal came at 10:42 of the first period when Kelly Kraunelis, named the series’ Most Valuable Player, scored the first of her two goals on an assist from Meghan Miller.
In the second period, a would-be goal by Leah Hoder was discounted by the referee who determined the puck went in after he blew his whistle. Seconds later, Jillian Bannon responded with the second goal of the night on an assist from Meghan Miller.
Still in the second period, Julia Harrigan, team captain representing Portsmouth High School, scored the first of her two goals of the night, unassisted, skating the puck down ice and into the Storm’s net giving the Eagles a 3-0 lead.
Harrigan’s second goal came in the final minute and a half of the game when she scored an empty net goal to end the game 5-0.
In the opening minutes of the third period, the Narragansett co-op team came onto the ice trying desperately to reign in the reigning State Champion Eagles. The Storm held the puck on Eagle ice for several minutes, sending a barrage of shots on goal, all of which were batted back by Faxon.
Clearing the goal, Faxon slipped the puck to Kraunelis who raced the puck on a break-away, chased by Storm players, and scored her second goal for the night on the Faxon assist.
At the final buzzer, the girls cleared the bench and huddled in a mass of navy blue and gold on center ice in celebration of their achievement, and their friendship.
For some it was a bittersweet moment, knowing that the sport they’ve spent the better part of their lives to perfect, would be played only in their memories from now on.
“It’s really exciting,” said Faxon. “A little bittersweet.”
Her teammate and friend, Olivia Lucas, agreed.
“We both started skating when we were three or four years old. This is it,” she said.
But for the moment, the Barrington Eagles team, along with the girls from Portsmouth High School and Mt. Hope’s Destinee deSousa, this was their moment to bask in the glory.
“It’s been a great experience. Barrington has welcomed us with open arms. It’s just one team. We capitalize on everyone’s strengths,” Harrigan said of the co-op team. “It’s a great feeling.”
After the game, Ms. Stebenne reflected on the time she spent coaching the girls, many of them for the entire four years of their high school career.
“Every year you wonder what it’s going to be like. But obviously, this team is special. They are so close. The way they bonded on and off the ice, they are clearly a team.”
And as of now, they are the only team to have won three state championships in a row.
Barrington/Mt. Hope/Portsmouth “Eagles” Girls’ Hockey Team
2014 Division II State Champions
1 Sophie L. Faxon (Cptn.) Goalie, SR
2 Julia Callahan (Portsmouth) Forward, SO
3 Marisa E. Cicione, Forward, JR
4 Allison M. Kelsey, Defense, SO
5 Lily S. Hallgring (Portsmouth) Forward, SO
6 Julia D. Flaherty, Forward, SR
7 Olivia L. Lucas, Defense, SR
9 Ariel R. Jaffe, Defense, SR
10 Kelly D. Kraunelis, Forward, JR
11 Beatrice Bramhall, Forward, SR
12 Mia S. Hallgring (Portsmouth) Forward, JR
13 Casie J. Castello, Forward, SO
14 Julia E. Soares, Forward, SO
15 Meghan E. Miller, Forward, JR
16 Danielle K. Makucevich (Portsmouth) Defense, JR
17 Leah M. Hoder, Defense, JR
18 Julia P. Harrigan (Portsmouth) (Cptn.) Forward, SR
19 Jillian R. Bannon, Defense, FR
22 Stephanie C. Galbraith, Forward, SO
27 Destinee L. deSousa (Mt. Hope) Forward, SR
30 Helen C. Prates, Goalie, JR
Head Coach: Mrs. Deneen Stebenne
Assistant Coach: Ms. Alison Faria