CHATHAM, NJ - No matter what happens this season, Molly Coyne will leave Chatham High ranked No. 1 on the list of all-time scorers for the Cougar girls ice hockey team.
Coyne brings 99 career points (58 goals, 41 assists) into her senior year, but she plans to let others do more of the scoring this season. Co-captain Coyne and other veterans on the team such as co-captain Cate Gallagher, assistant captain Lauren Arias and senior Hannah Bedell could be switching to defense.
Chatham coach Kevin Hannon and Coyne came up with the idea for a "stacked" defense during a recent scrimmage against Princeton Day.
"I was talking to coach Hannon on the bench during the PDS game and it came up," Coyne said. "The idea is to have a strong defense, shooting from the outside and getting on net. Hard shots from the point and look for the rebound.
"My goal is to get more assists this year. I try to keep everyone going, so if I can get the puck to somebody else for a goal it's worth it. I think it might be a little rough at the start. Getting the positioning down will be the key. Once we do that the goals will come and the wins will follow."
- Senior Molly Coyne talks about 2021 Chatham season
Coyne has been dedicated to the Chatham program throughout her high school tenure. She was on the original Chatham-Madison combined team for two years before playing for the first-ever all-Chatham team last year. It was Coyne who recruited field hockey goalie Grace Zinn during a CHS physics class. Zinn returns for her senior year in goal.
"We lost three of our four defenders from last year, so we'll probably put some of our seniors back there and attack with some of our younger players," Hannon said. "We've only been on the ice three times, so I can't tell you for sure. After a scrimmage or two, we'll figure it out."
Newcomers to the team include senior Maia Horowitz, and the Jepsen sisters, junior Sofie Jepsen and freshman Maddie Jepsen.
The junior class features Kara Groh, Campbell Ragins, Audrey Van Wie, and Sophia Gaysinskiy. Representing the sophomore class are Kate Romano and Georgia Tully.
"We lost a lot of people from last year," Gallagher said. "We're hoping to grow the program. This year should be sort of like a foundation year. Maybe we can get more people interested in the program so that in years to come it can keep growing.
"Obviously, we want to be successful and we're going to work on that. We're a little light on skaters but we've been moving around and playing wherever coach needs us. We don't have that many defenseman so we have to be flexible."
Chatham opens 2:30 Thursday, Jan. 21 vs. Immaculate Heart Academy at the Ice Vault in Wayne.