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Monday, April 6 High School Sports

15 CHSGHA girls ice hockey players to watch for 2019-20

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Kate Bellissimo, Junior, Forward, Darien: An All-FCIAC first team selection as a sophomore, Bellissimo will be a key weapon on what could be one of the fastest lines in the FCIAC. She had one of the Wave’s two goals in a season-opening 2-0 win over Greenwich.

Demeri Carangelo, Senior, Forward, Hamden/Wilbur Cross/Sheehan/Lyman Hall: Carangelo collected 37 points on 29 goals and eight assists as a junior last year. She earned All-State and All-SCC South first-team honors, and is one of the conference’s top returning forwards.

Tess Csejka, Senior, Forward, Amity/North Haven/Cheshire: A three-sport standout at Amity High School, Cjeska helped the Blades win the 2019 SCC South Division championship and was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. She also earned a place in the All-SCC second team last year. Csejka plays field hockey and golf and has committed to play field hockey at Boston University next fall.

Sidney Falterer, Junior, Goalie, Fairfield co-op: Falterer delivered some outstanding performances last year, including a 47-save effort against New Canaan’s high-powered offense, and helped the Fairfield co-op earn a trip to both the FCIAC and state playoffs. Falterer was one of two goalies named to the All-FCIAC first team.

Kaleigh Harden, Sophomore, Forward, New Canaan: Harden led a fantastic group of New Canaan freshmen last season, finishing near the top of the team rankings with 31 points on 15 goals and 16 assists. After earning All-State and All-FCIAC first-team honors, she again figures to be among the league’s best offensive weapons.

Catherine Martin, Junior, Defense, Darien: Martin has been a key player on defense for the Blue Wave the past two seasons and last year earned a spot on the All-FCIAC first team. She’s one of the keys to the Blue Wave defense, which had seven shutouts and allowed more than one goal in just six of 22 games last year.

Grace Melanson, Junior, Forward, Simsbury: Melanson, a two-time All-State selection, was named the SCC North Player of the Year as a sophomore. She was named to the conference first team in each of the past two seasons, and is the Trojans’ lead returning scorer this winter.

Sophia Mughal, Junior, Forward, Fairfield co-op: Mughal has been an offensive force for the Fairfield co-op since her freshman season, when she earned All-State honors. A two-time All-FCIAC first-teamer, she’ll be a key player in Fairfield’s bid to get back to the conference and state tournaments.

Blythe Novick, Junior, Goalie, New Canaan: Arguably the top high school goalie in Connecticut, Novick has been an impact player since she stepped onto the ice as a freshman. She’s already earned two All-State nods and has been named to the All-FCIAC first team twice.

Taylor Nowak, Senior, Forward, West Haven/SHA: Nowak became the West Haven/SHA co-op’s first 100-point player when she reached the milestone near the end of her junior season last winter. A two-time All-State honoree and the SCC South Division Player of the Year, she’s ready to help the team build on its 20-4-0 record from last year.

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Kaitlyn O’Brien, Sophomore, Goalie, Simsbury: O’Brien was an All-SCC North second-team selection as a freshman, and pairs with junior Tori LaCroix to form a great one-two goalie punch for the Trojans. She made 24 saves in Simsbury’s loss to New Canaan in last year’s state semis, and was 10-for-10 against those same Rams in a season-opening 3-2 win.

Courtney O’Connell, Junior, Forward, New Canaan: O’Connell was one of six Rams to finish with 15 or more points last winter as she collected eight goals and 11 assists. With several top scorers gone from the roster, O’Connell takes on an even bigger role. She’s had a knack for scoring in big spots, even netting a dramatic game-winner in overtime to beat rival Darien in the FCIAC semis two years ago.

Sydney Orszulak, Senior, Defense, Greenwich: Orszulak was an All-FCIAC second-team selection as a junior and, together with Piotrzkowski, provides Greenwich with an impressive defensive line. The Cards held opponents to two or fewer goals in 14 of 22 games last year, and defense should again be a strength. Orszulak also contributed to the offense with 23 points.

Katie Piotrzkowski, Senior, Defense, Greenwich: A four-year standout on defense, Piotrzkowski has been named to the All-FCIAC first team in each of the past three seasons, and is a two-time All-State honoree. She’ll help lead the Greenwich defense, and is very capable as an offensive weapon as well.

Julia Swanson, Senior, Defense, East Catholic/Glastonbury/South Windsor: Swanson had a plus-6 rating for the East Catholic defense last season, and also got involved with the offense by dishing out eight assists. The All-State and All-SCC South first-teamer returns to lead the defense again as a senior.

— Dave Stewart