Comparing boys hockey and girls hockey isn’t always fair. But to put into context just how good Beverly’s Nicole Woods, Kristen McCarthy and Julia Nearis were together, you don’t have any other choice.
The trio combined for 191 points this season. That number is so far outside the scope of what’s been done in girls hockey around these parts that comparing them to the best boys lines of the last five years is the only recourse.
The Beverly boys’ high-scoring Connor Irving-Andrew Irving-Graham Doherty line last year was good for 117 points. Peabody’s ‘Three Amigos’ of a few years back scored 158. St. John’s Prep’s powerful trio of Colin Blackwell-Jon Farrow-Shane Eiserman scored 150.
The Panther girls topped them all by quite a bit. They scored a total of 80 goals (averaging 3-and-a-half per game).
Wood, McCarthy and Nearis go down as one of the most productive, prolific lines the North Shore has ever seen — boys or girls.
“They clicked right away,” said Beverly coach Brian Seabury. “When they were flying, it was something to see.”
According to unofficial state records kept by MassHSHockey.com, only five girls had ever scored 60 points in a season before this year. All three of Beverly’s top-line girls did so, with Woods scoring a Panther (and area) record 70 points. Nearis added 61 and McCarthy notched 60.
As a trio, the fabulous whole was much greater than the sum of the parts.
“I think our skills individually helped us work as a whole,” said McCarthy, the state’s leader in assists with 41. “We each brought our own skills to the table. I didn’t know what to expect but the numbers we put up were crazy, especially in the first half of the year.”
Nearis, an eighth grader, had a ferocious shot that could find the net from anywhere on the ice. Her size and strength opened up room for Woods and McCarthy, and Nearis was excellent at controlling the play along the wall and in the corners of the offensive zone.