When you're a top tier hockey player, cooling off in the summer doesn't happen under an umbrella by the beach or on a float in the pool. Mostly, keeping cool gets done between the boards since as the temperature outside heats up so does the competition on the summer showcase circuit.
It was a busy month of August for Peabody native Jenna Chaplain, a sophomore at St. Mary's Lynn. A dynamic and high-scoring forward who's been a varsity Spartan since she was in seventh grade, Chaplain turned in an impressive showing at this year's Hockey Night in Boston girls major showcase while also playing well for the North Suburban Wings in their Labor Day Faceoff down in Connecticut this past weekend.
"It's been a great feeling to get back on the ice and especially seeing my teammates," said Chaplain, who already has more than 60 varsity points. "It made me feel like things were getting a little closer to being back to normal."
This year's Hockey Night showcase moved up to New Hampshire because of the COVID-19 tournament restrictions in place in the Bay State. There were rules changes in the tourney to accommodate social distancing such as wearing masks on the bench, frequent hand sanitizing and limits on time in the rink and the number of spectators allowed.
It was a different atmosphere than previous year's Hockey Night showcases, but that didn't change the typical success of the Mass. Public/Catholic team that Chaplain skated with. The squad went 4-1-1 in round robin play to win its division and then made it to the gold medal game for a fifth consecutive season.
Along with Chaplain, St. Mary's teammates Sam Porazinski (Revere) was second in goals for the entire tournament while Maggie Pierce (Melrose) and Aria Kader (Everett) also made big contributions.
Mixing in with her Spartan teammates as well as talented skaters from the region and powerhouses like Austin Prep, Woburn and Methuen-Tewksbury were among the highlights for Chaplain, who skated on the wing with Maggie Milne from Arlington Catholic and Kathryn Karo from Hingham.
"It’s always fun playing with my teammates from St. Mary's, but i also really like playing with other girls from around the area because it shows you a lot of different levels of play," she said. "Getting to know new players and going against some very talented players is always rewarding."
A great skater with solid hockey sense, Chaplain typically lines up at center during the high school season. She also possesses a deadly accurate shot that makes her a weapon from inside the offense zone circle, so the time on the wing in the Hockey Night tourney helped her hone those offensive instincts. Being able to go to battle for loose pucks deep in the zone along the wall rather than remaining focused on the backchecking and defensive responsibilities that come with playing center also helped her see the the game from a new perspective.
"I think it helped it improve my physical play," Chaplain said. "I'm working on my consistency and on making sure I'm playing with an edge."
Chaplain had a big hand in getting her Mass Public/Catholics team to the finals, scoring the winning shootout goal after the semifinal bout was tied.
Also playing well at the Hockey Night showcase from around the North Shore was Bishop Fenwick's Abbey Millman, a forward who skated with the Metro team that had a 2-2-1 record. Pingree's Gaby Nagahama also had a solid tourney at defense for Metro.
Meanwhile at last weekend's National Girls Hockey League Labor Day Faceoff, Chaplain showed off some strong chemistry with Fenwick forward Gabby Davern while helping the NS Wings' U-19 squad make the semifinals. Marblehead's Abby Kalinowski and Peabody's Chloe Shapleigh also had good weekends for the Wings, along with several of the St. Mary's skaters.
"It's been a high level of competition from every team. All the games were very close, which brings out the highest compete level in each player," said Chaplain.