By Caroline Gordon
NATICK – The Framingham High School girls hockey team lost to Natick 4-0 last night, January 31,
at William L. Chase Arena in Natick, but the Flyers are skating towards a playoff spot, especially after being ranked 21st by the MIAA.
Framingham High has not made the playoff since 2014, a year after their head coach graduated from Framingham High. in 2013.
Hired in 2018 as Head Coach, Casey Diana has helped to revitalize the high school program in less than 4 years, despite all the COVID restrictions and setbacks.
The girls ice hockey program, now in its 25th season, had its first game since February 2020 on December 9, 2022, defeating Hopkinton High 8-1 to open the 2021-2022 season.
Framingham vs Natick is always a great rivalry, but last night it was all Natick.
Head Coach Diana said the girls were “frustrated to drop their second game in a row,” last night.
“With us playing make-up games every Monday right now, in addition to our normal Wednesday/Saturday game schedule, we can’t dwell too much on last night’s game,” she added.
Coach Diana touched on how she motivated the girls to keep positive for a game this week.
“We tell the kids they can be frustrated for the night and when they woke up today, they needed to be ready to look ahead for our next game,” she said.
The Flyers had difficulty “getting pucks on net” during the game, said Coach Diana.
This week, shooting is a skill the team will practice, said the head coach.
Coach Diana said the team’s penalty kill percentage was “solid” and that the defensive zone started off “ugly” in the first quarter, but improved throughout the game.
Leading the Flyers this season in scoring is junior Mason Puumala with four goals and three assists.
Puumala controls the team’s offense by slowing down and making plays, said the head coach.
“She’s got great hands and the other kids feed off of her,” said Coach Diana.
The Flyers have been using two goalies this season – junior Mikal Franklin and freshman Liz Luong, who made 34 saves last night.
Coach Diana described both netminders as both “fabulous.”
Diana added Franklin is close to making 1,000 saves during her career.
She said the goalies motivate each other during practice and give the team confidence that they’re going to make saves.
Flyers captains Ava Sullivan and Logan Steele are “composed” and can be depended on in all three zones to make plays, said the head coach.
“Off the ice they’re well liked, solid students who are involved in the community. So, they help us set the tone for what we expect out of our kids on and off the ice,” added the head coach.
COVID-19 is still impacting the Framingham High girls hockey team this season. The “stop and go” during the first part of the season made it difficult to start off, explained Coach Diana.
During lockdown, Coach Diana said the girls were not able to play for the Framingham High School team, but they did have the opportunity to play a longer season with Framingham Youth Hockey.
“A couple of the dads coached them and they were able to make some memories,” said the head coach.
Diana discussed how the program has changed since she took over.
When hired in 2018, Coach Diana wanted to change the culture of the program and the kids “really took
it to heart.”
The seniors on this year’s team were freshmen when the program changed, explained the head coach.
“They’ve been huge in that culture of wanting to win,” she said.
According to Diana, the team is close to making the playoffs, noting how they are 21 in the last MIAA power rankings released.
The team has a record of 5-3-2 overall and 3-2-1 in the Bay State Conference.
The team has 10 games left in the regular season.
Caroline Gordon is a spring 2022 SOURCE intern. She is a senior English major with a concentration in journalism at Framingham State. Gordon is the Arts and Features editor for Framingham State’s student newspaper, The Gatepost. During her free time on campus, she works as a Student Desk Attendant. Caroline enjoys photography, working out and spending time with friends. Connect with Caroline on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/caroline-gordon98