MIDDLETON — Over the past couple of weeks several local hockey stars have competed in the prestigious Hockey Night in Boston Major Showcase Tournaments. The Major Showcase Tournaments are the culmination of a series of HNIB Tournaments throughout the summer, featuring the players who performed best in the earlier tournaments.
The Hockey Night in Boston Tournament is one of the most prestigious summer hockey tournaments for both boys and girls in the country, bringing together some of the best players in the country and particularly in the Northeast.
Local players were particularly well represented this year in the Girls 25th Annual Major Showcase, which was played this past week from July 31 to August 3 at the Essex Sports Center in Middleton.
Three local players helped lead the Mass Public/Catholic team to the tournament championship, led by Cushing Academy freshman forward Sam Taber of Tewksbury, who led all scorers in the tournament with six goals and three assists for nine point, including three goals and an assist in the team’s 5-0 win over Mass Preps in the championship game on Saturday.
Sam was joined on the championship squad by her older sister Erin Taber, a senior at Austin Prep, who had one goal and two assists in the tournament and helped lead a defense that allowed only two goals for the entire six game tournament which saw Mass Public/Catholic go undefeated and outscore their opponents 23-2 overall.
Leading that tremendous defensive effort was goalie Kaia Hollingsworth of Methuen, who last spring helped lead the Tewksbury/Methuen Girls Hockey team to the state championship at the TD Garden. Hollingsworth did not allow a goal throughout the HNIB Tournament, stopping all 56 shots she faced while splitting goaltending duties with Riley MacCausland of Shrewsbury. For efforts, Hollingsworth was named the top goalie of the tournament.
The three members of the championship team were not the only local players doing their towns proud, however, as Winchendon School sophomore forward Kaylen Taddia of Tewksbury and sophomore defenseman Maura Fiorenza led the Mass Preps squad all the way to the championship game before they were finally defeated by the Mass Public/Catholic squad.
Tewksbury High sophomore forward Jessica Driscoll and Tewksbury High senior forward Lydia Pendleton, both members of the championship Tewksbury/Methuen squad, helped lead the Northeast team to a 3-1-1 record, with Driscoll contributing three goals to the team’s cause.
Other players who played in the tournament included Brewster Academy junior defenseman Erin Carter of Wilmington and Austin Prep junior defenseman Jade Owirka of Tewksbury, both of whom played for the Junior Shamrocks. Tewksbury High sophomore goalie Michelle Kusmaul played two and a half games for the Metro team, posting a 2.80 Goals Against Average.
On the boys side, several players competed in the 45th Annual Boys Major Showcase, which was held at the Haverhill Valley Forum from July 24-28. Three players helped lead team New England to a 3-0-2 record and a second place finish in the Gilmartin Division, advancing all the way to the semifinals where they lost to eventual champ Middlesex.
Tewksbury High senior forward Campbell Pierce helped lead New England with two goals and two assists for the tournament, including a goal and an assist in their 6-2 quarterfinal win over Tri-State.
Wilmington resident David Bazile was team New England’s leading scorer in the tournament with three goals and five assists for eight points, while fellow Wilmington resident, junior Matthew Pendenza also contributed to the team’s success.
Other players in the Boys Showcase included junior Paidric Green of Tewksbury, who helped lead Team Suburban to a 3-2 record, and Austin Prep sophomore Ryan Ackerly of Wilmington, who led the Sophomore All-Stars to a 2-1-2 record.
In addition to their great run to the semifinals with Team New England, Colby Pierce and David Bazile were also selected to play in the Boys Major All-Star Game on July 27. Pierce and Bazile played for Team Teal, who skated to a 3-3 tie with Team Maroon, with Bazile scoring one of the goals for Team Teal.