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Excellence in hockey: Nobles girls’ program keeps churning out talent

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 12: Michelle Picard #23 of United States warms up prior to the Women's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group A game on day five of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Shayba Arena on February 12, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Team USA’s Michelle Picard is a Nobles & Greenough graduate who is currently making her mark in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)Getty Images

The Noble & Greenough girls’ hockey program produces high-caliber athletes that succeed at the most elite level — the Olympics.

For 14 years Nobles coach Tom Resor has mentored such talent, players who radiate hockey sense, have an innate ability to play at a high speed, and are all-around tremendous athletes. Present Olympian and Nobles alumna Michelle Picard exudes that confidence.

To Resor, it looks like there are a few players on his current squad on the same track.

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Seniors Lexie Laing (26 goals, 19 assists) and Kenzie Kent and freshman Becca Gilmore have all been named to the US National Under-18 team, which Resor says, “serves as the first step to get to that pyramid that gets smaller at the top as you’re recognized on a national level.”

Captains and forwards Laing, Courtney Pensavalle (14 goals, 27 assists), and Haley Mullins (10 goals, 24 assists) are among the players who have set a great tone for a 24-0-1 squad, said Resor.

Nobles has two games remaining on its schedule that will decide its fate in the race against St. Paul’s for the ISL title and seeding in the New England Prep Girls Ice Hockey Association Division 1 Tournament. Nobles, the defending New England Division 1 champion, leads the race by one point after tying St. Paul’s, 1-1, on Saturday.

“We really take pride in our league and being able to win the title,” said Resor.

Until their matchup with St. Paul’s, Nobles had not been down a goal all season. With the Pelicans taking the lead Saturday in the second period, Nobles was looking up at an opponent for the first time.

“We’ve been fortunate to get the lead in all our games I knew at some point another team would score first, you just hope it happens before you play a No. 1 or 2 team,” said Resor.

“I was concerned with how we were going to respond but was pleased with third period in tying quickly because the more a game goes the more you start pressing to make the perfect play and a lot of good plays,” he said.

It’s been a smooth ride for Resor and his squad. He he credits the team’s competitive nature for helping him run high-paced practices.

For Resor, cultivating elite hockey players means “I demand a lot of high expectations on and off the ice, in school and how they treat people, and I also know they’re kids and they need positive reinforcement.”

Star turns

The Southeastern Massachusetts Girls’ Hockey League will run its annual All-Star Game Feb. 22 at the Gallo Rink in Bourne starting at 4 pm.

Other tournaments for girls’ hockey this week include the Gould Memorial at the Hobomock Ice Arena in Pembroke (championship Feb. 19 at 3:40 p.m.) and the Cape Cod Classic at the Falmouth Ice Arena (Feb. 18 and 20 at 1 and 3 p.m., featuring Wellesley, Barnstable, Falmouth, and Norwood.

Two of the bigger tournaments are the Cougar Classic at the Rockland Arena and the Hingham Girls’ Hockey Showcase at Pilgrim Arena in Hingham.

The schedule is as follows:

COUGAR CLASSIC

Tuesday, Feb. 18

Red Division — Notre Dame (H) vs. Newton North, 8 am; Beverly/Danvers vs. Auburn, 12:15 p.m.

Blue Division — Milton vs. St Mary Bay View (R.I.), 9:25 a.m.; Austin Prep vs. Leominster/St. Bernards 1:40 p.m.

White Division — Westwood vs. Warwick (R.I.), 10:50 a.m.; Winchester vs. Springfield Cathedral 3:05 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 20

Consolation games — Red Division, 8 a.m.; Blue Division, 9:25 a.m.; White Division, 10:50 a.m.; Championships — White Division, 12:15 p.m.; Blue Division , 1:40 p.m.; Red Division , 3:05 p.m.

HINGHAM GIRLS HOCKEY SHOWCASE

Tuesday, Feb. 18

Duxbury vs. Reading, noon; Arlington Catholic vs. Westford Academy, 2 p.m.; St. Mary’s vs. Acton-Boxboro 4 p.m.; Woburn vs. Hingham, 6 p.m.; Arlington vs. Braintree, 8 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 20

Reading vs. Braintree, noon; Arlington Catholic vs. Duxbury, 2 p.m.; Woburn vs. Acton-Boxboro 4 p.m.; Arlington vs. Westford, 6 p.m.; Hingham vs. St. Mary’s, 8 p.m.

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