on family tradition
Stephanie Invernizzi’s late grandfather, John, had played minor league baseball, rooted for the Bruins from the Gallery Gods section in the old Garden, and started a club hockey program in Hingham.
Her dad, Barry, skated for Archbishop Williams High and Norwich University and along with his wife, Heidi, founded the South Shore Lady Hawks club team.
“It all started with my grandfather, who taught the game to my dad, who taught the game to me,” said Invernizzi, who has carried on the family tradition at Norwich as a senior captain and feisty winger for the Cadets.
“Steph is playing the best all-around hockey of her career,” said Norwich women’s coach Mark Bolding, whose team carried a 12-game winning streak into its final regular-season games this weekend.
“She has more poise with the puck and more swagger to her game. And she’s a fast, furious skater who gets into your face and she can also get wide open and bury the puck.”
Invernizzi, a 200-point career scorer at Hingham High, where she helped lead her team to the Division 2 state title as a junior and Division 1 semifinals her senior season, is clearly stepping forward as a leader.
Her goal against Amherst Feb. 6 turned out to be the game-winner. The 3-1 victory was Norwich’s first at Amherst’s Orr Rink. Last Tuesday, her typical hard work in the offensive zone and sweet backhand pass set up the go-ahead as the Cadets triumphed at Middlebury to improve to 18-2-3 overall (15-1-0 ECAC East).
“It’s been an awesome four years and very special because of my dad’s time at Norwich,” said Invernizzi, who was in the right rink at the right time when Bolding made a recruiting trip to Middleborough in 2008.
In that game, she scored three goals as the Lady Hawks knocked off Assabet Valley for the state club hockey title.
“I play hard every game, but for sure, it was great timing,” said Invernizzi, whose quick strides are well suited to the 200-by-90-foot sheet at Kreitzberg Rink.
“I can go wide all day on that surface. It’s really a blast out there.”
The 5-foot-3 Invernizzi was slowed by mononucleosis her freshman season, but played 27 games as a sophomore when the Cadets captured the NCAA Division 3 title. Norwich, ranked fourth nationally and in just its sixth varsity season, has appeared in the D-3 championship game three consecutive years.
Her tally at Amherst, Invernizzi’s seventh of the season, equaled her career high of a year ago.
“I think I hit my stride at the end of last season when I started scoring some big goals in big games,” said Invernizzi, a two-time Globe All-Scholastic who also excelled in throwing the javelin for the track team at Hingham High.
“But being a senior leader and a captain has made me try even harder to show our players how much this team means to me.
She often plays with her father in adult pickup games and is flattered when his friends say she plays like her dad when he was younger.
“He was an aggressive player and so am I,” said Invernizi, whose younger brother, Nick, played at Archbishop Williams and older sister, Christina, was the first girls’ captain at Notre Dame Academy in Hingham, a program originally founded by her parents.
A cousin on her mom’s side, Mike Ayers, an All-American goalie at the University of New Hampshire, is now coach of USA Hockey’s U-18 development team.
“Steph leaves it all on the ice because she’s a heart-and-soul player from a great hockey family,” said Bolding. “She’s not quite as edgy as a Brad Marchand, but she’s pretty close and she will be hard to replace.”
a standout week
It’s been a week to remember for Quincy High graduate Catherine O’Connell, a senior women’s basketball captain at Newbury College in Brookline.
O’Connell was named New England Collegiate Conference Player of the Week and to the New England Women’s Basketball Association honor roll after scoring 32 points and recording a career-high 32 rebounds in a 64-47 victory over Lesley University on Senior Night.
Then she moved past 2006 graduate Randi Hardiman to become Newbury’s all-time scoring leader (1,304 points) after scoring 15 points in a 71-49 victory over Wheelock College last Tuesday. Coupled with her 15 rebounds, it was the 14th double-double of the season for O’Connell.
Teammate Alex Pezzella, a freshman guard from Rockland, had a career and game-high 26 points.
O’Connell’s hot streak has coincided with a four wins in five games stretch for Newbury, 14-10 overall and 12-5 in conference play prior to Saturday’s game against Elms College.
With a game-high 19 points against Salem State last Tuesday, Bridgewater State University senior guard Michaela Cosby of Walpole moved past the 1,000-point career mark. Cosby netted her milestone — and final — basket on a short jumper with 5:17 remaining for the Bears (19-3 overall, 9-1 MASCAC). . . . Suffolk University senior Matt Pepdjonovic of Quincy became the career rebounding leader in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference in a 78-65 win against Mount Ida College last Tuesday. It was the 56th career double-double for Pepdjonovic, who had 16 points and 19 rebounds. He had 1,192 boards through 99 career games and is one of two Suffolk players to ever reach 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.