Morristown-Beard 2021-22 girls preview: Crimson reload for run at multiple titles

MORRISTOWN-BEARD CRIMSON

Head coach: Bruce Driver, 21st year (309-78-19 career record).

Division: NJIGHL and WIHLMA

Last year: In limited action, Morristown-Beard was dominant in 2020-21, as it finished with a perfect 6-0 record. It reached the NJIGHL Cup final, but the game was not played due to COVID-19 issues so it was declared co-champions with Summit.

Key losses: Faith Facchini, F/D; Annabel Plante, F.

Top returners: Brooklyn Chen, D, So.; Katie Ewig, F, Sr.; Emma Hughes, F, Jr.; Kaitlin Kane, D, So.; Gracie Meyers, G, Jr.; Keira Redmond, D, So.; Jesse Sperling, F, So.; Leah Stecker, F, Sr.; Logan Sutera, F, Sr.; Lili Warnock, F, Jr.

Newcomers: Carly Greer, F, Fr.; Julie Jasaitis, D, Fr.; Julie Kirshenbaum, F, Fr.

Outlook: Morristown-Beard has long been the gold standard in girls ice hockey in New Jersey, and there’s no reason to think that won’t continue in 2021-22.

The Crimson will be led by a talented group of forwards, headlined by Leah Stecker (11 g., 6 a.), Jessica Sperling (10 g., 6 a.), and Lili Warnock (10 g., 5 a.). Logan Sutera (5 g., 4 a.) and Katie Ewig (3 g., 3 a.) also figure to play a big role once again. Freshman Carly Greer is expected to step in and contribute.

Defensively, the Crimson suffered a big loss in the offseason as its top threat from the blue line in junior Alexa Degan (3 g., 8 a.) sustained an injury and will not be able to play this season. Stepping up to fill that void will be sophomores Brooklyn Chen (1 g., 6 a.), Keira Redmond (1 g., 5 a.), and Kailin Kane (1 g., 5 a.). Freshman Julie Jasaitis will also be counted on to make an immediate impact.

Gracie Meyers, who posted sparkling numbers last year with a .957 save percentage in limited action, is back in goal, giving the Crimson an experienced and reliable presence in between the pipes.

This program will look to compete for multiple titles this winter- the NJIGIHL regular season title, NJISAA Prep title, and the WIHLMA playoff title. After winning the inaugural NJSIAA Invitational Tournament in 2019-20, the Crimson figure to be a top contender for the first-ever NJSIAA-official state tournament title.

E-mail Mike Gurnis at michaelgurnis@gmail.com

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