St. Mary's is loaded with young and talented skaters. That starts with Aylah Cioffi, who is still only in eighth grade, even though it feels like she's made a name for herself in the girls hockey landscape already.
That's because she has.
Last year, in her second year on varsity, the Revere native racked up 28 points, which was tied for second on the team (behind only graduated seniors Sarah Ryan and Adara Nazarian). She's picked up where she left off as an offensive powerhouse for St. Mary's.
The 4-1 Spartans also have a couple of returning varsity underclassmen in sophomores Kelsey Sullivan and Zoe Solomons, as well as newcomers Makayla McGrath (who had two goals in St. Mary's decisive win over Weymouth Wednesday), Haley Jackson and Jenna Chaplain, all of whom have scored goals this year.
Over in Peabody, Fenwick is having a strong season at 4-2, and the Crusaders are getting a lot of help from the less-experienced players on their roster. Freshman Gabby Davern earned a spot on the first line, and she's made the most of it with 11 points (6 goals, 5 assists) so far. Freshman forward Shannon Nagy (3 goals, 3 assists) has been another big addition for Fenwick, and sophomore goalie Cailyn Wesley is averaging less than two goals allowed per game. Wesley relies on some young defenders in front of her as well, like freshman Alison Countie.
Fenwick's rinkmate at McVann-O'Keefe in Peabody, the Tanners, are also enjoying on of their better seasons so far at 3-2-1. Sophomore Sammie Mirasolo has been a force to be reckoned with on offense with seven goals and seven assists. While Peabody/Lynnfield has a sound starting goalie in junior Abby Buckley, sophomore Jeny Collins has been in net for two of the Tanners' three wins, allowing an average of 1.70 goals per game.
Marblehead is easily one of the youngest teams in the area, with the bulk of the Magicians offense coming from underclassmen. Sophomore Bella Peters leads the way with four goals and six assists. Freshman Mia Salah, from Gloucester, has three goals and an assist, and seventh-grader Juliette Piersol has a goal and assist. Also logging points for Marblehead are freshman Abby Kalinowski (2 assists), sophomore Isabell Amigo (goal), sophomore Cate Delaney (3 assists) and eighth-grader Chloe Trudel (2 assists).
Winthrop has an eighth-grader doing damage as well, as Sophia Kennedy has four goals and three assists so far. Freshman Gemma DiMento had two goals and four assists for the Vikings.
There are a few underclassmen around the region making their presence felt for boys teams as well. It starts in Lynn, with one of the premier teams in the area, St. Mary's.
The Spartans have beaten perennial Super 8 contenders like Austin Prep and Hingham already this season, and underclassmen have played big roles in the wins. In a shootout win over Hingham in the Christie Serino Christmas Classic last week, it was goals from eighth-grader Davis Kinne and freshman Jaiden Moriello that boosted St. Mary's to the tournament title. Freshman Colby Magliozzi also had an assist in the win.
Kinne has been a force for the Spartans, and he certainly doesn't look like an eighth-grader on the ice. The big defenseman from Swampscott has two goals and three assists this season. Moriello, a forward from Saugus, has six points (2 goals and 4 assists). Brady Carpenter, a freshman from Peabody, has two goals and an assist, and Lynn native Christian Moran, another freshman, has a goal in two varsity games. Sophomore goalie Joe Purtell has done a nice job giving starting goalie senior Kevin McMullen a break here and there, allowing just three goals on 48 shots over three games.
In the NEC, Lynn freshman Matt Devin has logged a pair of assists and sophomore John MacDonald has a goal in some serious minutes for the Jets.