Head coach: Bruce Driver, 23rd season (325-81-20 career record)
Division: NJIIHL Librera Division, also in the WIHLMA
Last year: Morristown-Beard won the program’s second-straight NJSIAA state title, as it downed Princeton Day, 7-0, at Prudential Center in the final. It finished with a 17-3-1 record.
Key losses: Leah Stecker, F (19 g., 20 a.); Logan Sutera, F (21 g., 14 a.); Alexa Degan, D (senior, out for season due to injury).
Top returners: Lilli Warnock, F, Sr. (28 g., 16 a.); Jessica Sperling, F, Jr. (28 g., 22 a.); Kailin Kane, F, Jr. (14 g., 19 a.); Carly Greer, F, So. (7 g., 18 a.); Brooklyn Chen, D, Jr. (2 g., 28 a.); Julie Jasaitis, D, So. (4 g., 19 a.); Keira Redmond, D, Jr. (1 g., 14 a.); Gracie Meyers, G, Sr. (.930 sv%).
Potential incoming impact players: Reid Snyder, D, Fr.; Hannah Mortazavi, G, Fr.; Gabriella DiGeronimo, F, Fr.
Burning question: How will the Crimson replace the one-two punch of Stecker and Sutera?
Those two players were dynamic for the last four years for Morristown-Beard, and they will be difficult talents to replace with Stecker off to Penn State and Sutera at Arizona State. But if last season showed anything, its that Morristown-Beard was deep around them. Stecker missed a month last season, yet Morristown-Beard kept rolling. Jessica Sperling was the NJ.com Player of the Year last year and actually led the team in scoring, while Lilli Warnock also put up strong production.
The loss of those two will be tough, but Morristown-Beard has so much returning talent as well as some promising incoming talent, that it should be able to overcome as much.
Outlook: Morristown-Beard has long been the gold standard for girls ice hockey in New Jersey, and this year figures to be no different. It will have no shortage of scoring ability with Warnock, Sperling, Kane, and Greer back up front along with freshman Gabriella DiGeronimo. Defensively it should be sound with Chen, Jasaitis, Redmond, and freshman Reid Snyder, along with a very strong goalie in Gracie Meyers.
Staying healthy will be key, but Morristown-Beard should once again be one of the top contenders, if not the favorite, to win the state title again.
E-mail Mike Gurnis at email@example.com
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