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Girls hockey preview: Wilton looks for turnaround under new coach


Coming off a 5-11 season, on the heels of a six-win campaign the year before, the Wilton High girls hockey team begins the 2012-13 season next week looking to turn things around.

“They want to compete. They want to show it’s a new year and they’re a new team,” said first-year head coach Melissa Hawkins. “They want it to be a different season than they had last year.”

In terms of experience, Wilton returns almost everybody from last year’s team, which had only one senior in Erin O’Connell, a first-team All-FCIAC defenseman who tallied 11 goals.

The lineup will blend the many veterans with several talented newcomers, although, as of deadline, coach Hawkins was still in the process of finalizing the roster.

Offensively, the Warriors will be led by senior forward Nicole Lue, a first-team All-FCIAC pick last season who led the team in scoring with 21 goals — including back-to-back seven-goal games. The forward line will also feature returning seniors Samantha Engborg (three goals, eight assists) and Alex Marcarelli, and freshman Meghan Keating.

“They’re going to be a really intense forward line,” said the coach.

Sophomores Amanda Craven and Liz Craven also return on the forward line, while senior forward Emmie Arrix returns to the team after opting not to play last year.

The Wilton defense will be anchored by senior Perri Blicht, an All-FCIAC honorable mention pick last year (with eight goals), and returning junior Jenny Hojnacki, while speedy freshman Izzy Thelen is a key addition to the back line.

In goal, the Warriors are solid with returning starter Brooke Jonsson, a sophomore.

Coach Hawkins said she’ll have a better idea of her lineup and the overall strength of the team once the Wrriors have a few scrimmages under their belts. For now, she’s happy with what she’s seen.

“They’re dedicated. They’re working hard. The girls all look great,” she said. “We’re very excited, and they’re looking forward to the first game.”

Notes: Wilton opens the season next Wednesday at 6 against Trumbull at the SoNo Ice House in Norwalk, where Hawkins is the director of hockey.

Before coming to SoNo, she was the hockey coordinator for seven years at the Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich. She played on the collegiate level for the Manhattanville College women’s ice hockey team from 2000 to 2004. Manhattanville finished as ECAC East Conference champions all four seasons she attended, and were NCAA national runner-ups her sophomore and junior seasons.