smr girls ice hockey

LEONARDTOWN, Md. — The 2021-2022 St. Mary’s Ryken High School Girls’ Ice Hockey Team skated through another competitive season which recently concluded with great success. Coached by Chris Palombi, the team won back-to-back Mid-Atlantic Girls Hockey League Blue Championships and went on to win the first round of the WCAC playoffs this year.

The Knights fell in the second round to St. John’s College High School on Feb. 18, which ended their playoff run, but the team has many accomplishments to be proud of.

Seven players were made the All-Conference Team while Palombi took home Coach of the Year. The team left their impact on the community off the ice by inspiring more young girls to join the sport. The team started in the 2018-2019 season and played as the first all-girl ice hockey team in Southern Maryland.

When asked what type of mentality he tries to bring to each practice, Palombi replied that “Every day we go into practices and games with a positive approach; have fun and be 1% better than we were the day before. That compounds into great success throughout the season.”

This was Senior Gina Jaffurs and Freshman Lille Peshek’s first time playing the sport. Jaffurs says, “Joining the hockey team this season has honestly been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I was with my best friends, winning nearly every game, I never understood how fun this sport could be.”

She added that despite the implications of COVID on the season, Coach Palombi and her other mentors made it the best season ever.

“Every time we stepped on the ice, it felt like COVID wasn’t there, our world resumed, our growth never stopped, and the fun never ended,” she added.

Jaffurs is committed to Eastern Michigan University to play NCAA Division I lacrosse but is excited to be attending a school north where she will continue to play ice hockey for fun and expressed her gratitude for her team and this season.

Peshek says, “This season has meant a lot to me. Even though I just started playing, Hockey has had a great influence… I have enjoyed this sport so much, and my coaches and team have made it a really amazing experience.”

The success of these first-time players is seen by many as how deserving Palombi is of his coaching award. He adds that he could not be more proud of the team, saying, “They came together, as a unit, with laser point focus on winning as a team. The passing, the skating, the hustle, and effort- it was all there from every player.”

Expect more to come in the following year from the SMRHS girls’ ice hockey team. With their current leadership and a team of talented, passionate players, the team’s future looks bright.

Congrats on a great season Knights!

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