The travel is down and both the goals and enjoyment level are up for Methuen High sophomore Amanda Conway.
Yes, things have worked out nicely for the high scoring center on the first-year Tewksbury-Methuen girls hockey team.
A year ago, when there was no high school team, Conway played for the Assabet Valley Wizards, requiring trips to Concord, Mass., three times a week for practice and another time on the weekend for games. It was time consuming (it’s 55 miles round-trip) and expensive.
In exchange, Conway and her teammates can now simply walk over to the Methuen High rink.
Conway, who has two older brothers who played for the Methuen boys team (Dillon and Cam, an MVC All-Star in hockey and baseball last year), knew that playing for the high school would be far more convenient. She, however, had her doubts about how competitive the new team would be.
“I thought the other teams would smash us,” said Conway. “I thought we’d be the team that would step in there and really struggle.”
Instead, Methuen/Tewksbury has been more than competitive, posting a 5-6-3 record without getting blown out yet. MVC power Billerica, for example, had to struggle for a 3-0 win last week.
“I’m definitely very pleased with our progress,” said head coach Kim Bruff. “We’ve come a long way already and I think we’re going to keep getting better. We don’t have any seniors and just three juniors.”
Conway has been a key component in the progress. She started the season with three hat tricks and, through 12 games she had scored 29 of the team’s 43 goals. As of last week she was the No. 2 scorer in Eastern Mass.
Although always a scorer as a youngster, the high goal output has surprised both Conway and Bruff.