On and off the ice, Kendra Currier is a leader for the Austin Prep girls’ hockey team (16-0-1), ranked No. 1 in this week’s Globe Top 20.
The only senior on a squad featuring a mixture of returning players and newcomers, the 5-foot-1-inch defender from Middleton is the pivotal piece that makes it all work.
“She’s a skilled player on the ice, but she’s emerged as an outstanding leader on the team,” said AP coach Stephanie Wood, whose squad faces a stiff test Wednesday night against St. Mary’s of Lynn (14-2-0) at Connery Rink.
“I think she’s been instrumental in blending in our younger talented players with the veterans we have on our team.”
A returning Globe All-Scholastic Super Teamer, Currier has registered eight goals and 11 assists in 17 games.
“We’re filled with a lot of great talent. The energy and the chemistry is there — we’re all on the same page,” said Currier, who plans to play collegiately at Saint Anselm.
“People think it would be hard to be the only senior on the team, but with how mature and how focused the girls are, we’re a great team together.”
The Cougars have a three-line attack that can wear down almost any team. Junior goalie Hannah Aveni has eight shutouts and a .944 save percentage.
In their current 10-game winning streak, the Cougars have scored 83 goals while allowing 14.
Currier’s progression into a top defender has only helped amplify the team’s success.
“I think her game has matured a lot. Her vision, her hockey IQ has really gotten so much better from year one to now,” said Wood. “She sees the whole ice.”
The learning curve for Currier came as a freshman.
After having played on boys’ teams since the Mites level, her physicality would often land her in the penalty box. But she learned from early mistakes.
“You can still keep your stick down, and play the body the right way to not get a penalty with it,” said Currier.
“Ever since I came to Austin, I learned from my coach to focus on the details of things, like when to skate or when to pass. When I was a freshman, I wasn’t very good with containing my temper.”
As one of the leaders on the team, her complete game has served as a model for the younger players.
“She’s certainly a sparkplug on the team,” said Wood. “Her energy, to me, is contagious. It certainly filters down.”
She’s running the point for a Cougars squad that is determined to make a run at its second Division 1 title in three years.
“We need to work hard in practice and treat every game like it’s our last game and leave it all on the ice,” said Currier.
■ Tom Resor has been a fixture on a hockey bench at Noble & Greenough since 1986. His tenure at the Dedham private school, both at the helm of the boys’ program for 14 seasons and the girls for the past 18, is beyond impressive.
In Saturday’s 2-0 win over Westminster, secured with a pair of goals in the final two minutes of the third period, Resor earned his 700th career win.
And yet, until he was presented with a framed photo and jersey commemorating the milestone victory in a school assembly on Monday morning, Resor was unaware of the achievement.
“It was something that didn’t really occur to me, that it was something in particular for me or for a particular win, because I wasn’t aware of it,” said Resor, a college counselor at the school who has guided the Bulldogs to an 18-2-3 start this season.
“The girls gave me no indication if they knew, and when [the school] announced it, I was shocked.”
For the record, Resor is 700-197-43 overall, running up a 375-170-24 mark with the boys, followed by a dazzling 325-27-19 record with the girls.
In his 18 seasons on the girls’ bench, more than 35 of his players have gone on to play collegiately; 11 have played for their respective national teams. His coaching career also includes stints with Lawrence Academy, Assabet Valley, Cape Cod Whalers, and USA Hockey.
“That was a really nice accomplishment and a tribute, but it’s really to all those kids who have made up those teams with me. I’ve been blessed with coaching a lot of great individuals, that’s for sure.”
The Bulldogs will look to reclaim the NEPSAC crown after falling to Kent in the semifinals last year.
“It’s been a very resilient team,” said Resor.
“We’ve had our fair share of injuries, so we’ve asked some kids to step up and play a more significant role than they might have anticipated early on, and that’s been really pleasing to see. I think that we’ve been able to maintain the hard work ethic that all teams need, knowing that we’re going to have a lot of games like Saturday, that could be scoreless or tied in the third period and you just need to find that winning goal.”
And Resor does not plan on hanging up his skates any time soon.
“I’ve had so much fun coaching that I can’t see myself giving it up,” said Resor.
■ Vacation week is tourney week. Winchester (8-6-2) is the defending champion of the Newburyport Bank Classic at Henry Graf Skating Rink. The Sachems take on St. Peter Marian in one semifinal on Tuesday. Masconomet and Tewksbury/Methuen meet in the other semi. The consolation and championship games are scheduled for next Thursday.
“Whoever we play, that’s as good as we’re going to see in Division 2, so that’s a good test for us,” said Winchester head coach Craig Seabury.
“You take these games as a measuring stick. There’s no reason why we can’t use this as motivation to make a run in the state tournament.”
The Sachems defeated Masconomet 4-1 for the title last year, their third consecutive title.
“I see it as a tournament tune-up with four tournament-ready teams,” said Masconomet coach Ryan Sugar. “ . . . We’ve got eight Newburyport girls on our team, so there’s a bit of a home feeling to this tournament. I know they’d really like to finally win this one.”
■ Scituate, Norwell, Cohasset/Hanover, and Pembroke square off for the Gould Memorial Tournament at Hobomock Ice Arena on Feb. 19 and 21 . . . Bishop Fenwick and Peabody/Lynnfield meet for the Carlin Cup on Feb. 19 at O’Keefe Memorial Rink . . . Notre Dame Hingham, Marshfield, Austin Prep, and Walpole will take part in the Cougar Classic at Rockland Arena on Feb. 20 and 22 . . . Boston Latin, Matignon, Falmouth, and LaSalle/Moses Brown (R.I.) will skate in the MJT Memorial Tournament at Falmouth Ice Center on Feb. 20 and 21.
Players of the Week
Amanda Blanchette Bishop Fenwick — The senior tallied a hat trick to propel the Crusaders to a 6-1 win over Saint Joseph Prep/Mt. Alvernia.
Kaia Hollingsworth, Tewksbury/Methuen — The sophomore posted two shutout wins in net for the Chieftains, 4-0 over Westford and 2-0 over Billerica/Chelmsford.
Kelsey Routhier, Plymouth North — Her third-period power-play goal proved to be the winner in a 3-2 win over Canton.
Julia Scannell, Milton — The senior forward notched a five-point night (4 goals, 1 assist) in a 6-0 win over Newton North.
Natalie Stott, Franklin — The freshman netminder outdueled Colleen Kelleher, making 38 saves in a 1-0 shutout win over No. 9 Canton.
Games to Watch
Wednesday, Andover at Tewksbury/Methuen, 5 p.m. — No. 18 Andover has played one of the toughest schedules in the state. It will not get any easier against the No. 3 Red Raiders.
Wednesday, Notre Dame Hingham at Milton, 7 p.m. — The No. 8 Cougars will look to halt a 1-3 February slide against a high-powered Wildcat attack.
Wednesday, Austin Prep at St. Mary’s, 8 p.m. — Two of the top four teams in the Globe’s Top 20 collide as the top-ranked Cougars look to keep their undefeated season going.
Saturday, Canton at Duxbury, 5:15 p.m. — A talented Dragons attack takes on a stout Bulldogs defense in a Top 10 matchup.
Saturday, Westford at Haverhill/Pentucket/North Andover, 7 p.m. — The No. 14 Grey Ghosts and No. 15 Hillies square off in a game that could have big implications on the Division 1 playoff seedings.Correspondent Dan McLoone also contributed to this story. He can be reached at email@example.com. Lenny Rowe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.