Bishop Brady-Trinity-Londonderry girls’ hockey prepares to take on rival Concord in quarterfinals

By ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL

Monitor staff

Published: 03-02-2023 12:31 AM

Not much separated Bishop Brady-Trinity-Londonderry (13-4-0) from Concord (13-5-0) in the standings this season. In their lone matchup in mid-January, the Tide emerged victorious, 4-1. 

But both teams have evolved since that meeting: Brady won nine of the last 11 games to close out the regular season, including seven shutouts, while Concord scuffled down the stretch, losing three of its last five games. 

Despite the Tide’s recent struggles, Brady head coach Dan Earley knows these are two evenly-matched teams. There’s also tremendous familiarity between both rosters.

“A lot of the kids know each other and are friends with each other, so it kind of makes the game multi-dimensional,” Earley said.

It’s the friendliest rivalry one could imagine for two schools only one mile apart from each other.

The big difference between them though? Roster size. Brady only has 11 players on the entire roster; the Tide have 16. 

Earley said he only plays “one and a quarter” lines of forwards, significantly testing his players’ levels of endurance. A game against Oyster River-Portsmouth at the Whittemore Center on Jan. 3 tested that endurance on an Olympic-sized rink; Brady lost 10-0.

But otherwise, the team overcame that obstacle quite well this season. The performance of goaltender Kacey Yorston played a key role.

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“We have an exceptional goalie,” Earley said. “Last year, I think she made 35 saves (against Concord). If she’s on her game, that’s what we’ll get from her.”

Beyond that, the team’s mindset of never feeling intimidated by an opponent allows Brady to just keep its head down and play hard.

“We have the ability to not be impressed by anybody as far as what their record is or who everybody says they are,” Earley said. “We just play. … A lot of it is I’ve got the right people in the right place to do their job, and that’s the key.”

Looking at Friday’s matchup, Earley’s main focus remains continuing to play steady hockey and avoiding those costly turnovers that can decide a game of this magnitude. 

Concord’s had several games this year where the team’s started slow in the first period before turning it on in the subsequent two, so Brady will have to remain weary of that as well. Leah Beauregard and Greta Norton have led the way for strong play from the Tide all season.

But overall, Earley said he’s pleased with where his team sits. You don’t finish the regular season 13-4-0 by accident.

“For the whole season, the same people have been in the same positions they’re in now,” he said. “The key to me is you have to have confidence with what you’re doing. You can’t doubt yourself. For seven or eight girls to go out and win 13 games in this league is pretty good.”

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