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Austin Prep girls’ hockey has high goals under second-year coach Stephanie Wood

The Austin Prep girls’ program has seen a resurgence since Stephanie Wood became coach two years ago.  Here, she talks strategy in the locker room in the game against St. Mary’s.
The Austin Prep girls’ program has seen a resurgence since Stephanie Wood became coach two years ago. Here, she talks strategy in the locker room in the game against St. Mary’s. Jay Connor for the boston Globe

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Lacing up the skates against St. Mary’s of Lynn, the defending Division 1 girls’ hockey state champion, has become a seasonal bar-setting experience for Austin Prep.

While every matchup between the two Catholic Central League heavyweights has swayed in St. Mary’s favor the past six years—including the Spartans’ thrilling 1-0 victory on Saturday night—Prep feels that it will be well positioned for a possible rematch at tournament time.

Building off last season’s unexpected run to the Division 1 quarterfinals, in which Prep was ousted by, yes, St. Mary’s, 3-0, expectations have changed in Reading under second-year coach Stephanie Wood.

Reaching the quarterfinals was the program’s best run in eight years, and first tourney appearance since the 2009-10 season.

Austin Prep is not a legit title threat.

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