Towse Protects the House: Freshman Goaltender Backbones Winthrop’s Defense

Freshman goalie Riley Towse and the undefeated Winthrop High girls hockey team have a goals against average of 0.7. which is basically impossible – because how do you allow only seven-tenths of a goal per game?

But that’s a statistical anomaly that Winthrop head coach Butch Martucci is happy to ponder.

For Martucci’s defensive group, led by first-year varsity starter Towse, has been nothing short of superb through 10 consecutive victories.

“For a freshman, Riley is doing a tremendous job,” said Martucci.

Winthrop has the second-lowest GAA in the state behind No. 1 ranked St. Mary’s (0.54) of Lynn.

Abby Holmes is the lone senior among the Blue Line Bunch, and she’s having another All-Star caliber season. Junior Adrianna Rizzotto, sophomore Amelia Spencer, and freshmen Avalina Coffey and Tegan Periera are major contributors. Also making their presence felt for Winthrop are sophomore Izi Hain and freshman Mia Currier.

Martucci said that Towse was a skater before  moving to the goaltender’s position. Towse has skyrocketed to the league’s best in her first season.

Martucci credits his assistant coaches, Chris Palmer and Taylor Brown, for their leadership of the team’s defensive operations. Palmer played hockey at Winthrop High and Merrimack College while Brown was a standout for Winthrop and Nichols College. Brown’s all-time scoring record for Winthrop players was just surpassed by current senior Emma Holmes, while Julia Holmes is about to make Coach Brown No. 3 on the all-time list – which we’re sure is okay with Coach Browne.

Emma Holmes Scores on a Penalty Shot

Emma Holmes, the Northeast Hockey League’s leading scorer with 20 points in 10 games, has scored goals from various angles all season. In an MIAA tournament berth-clinching 4-1 win over Beverly Saturday at Larsen Rink, Holmes scored on a penalty shot, which many consider one of the most exciting plays in all of sports.

“The goal was absolutely beautiful – just a perfect, highlight-reel type, penalty shot goal,” said Coach Martucci. “Emma really faked out the goalie. It was impressive.”

A Beverly High player had used her hands to cover up the puck in the crease, thus granting a Winthrop a penalty shot. Emma connected, giving the Vikings a 3-1 lead in the game.

Junior Hannah Parker scored the Vikings’ first goal of the game.

“Hannah really excelled in what was a physical game with Beverly,” said Martucci.

Junior Samantha DiMento, who skates on the lsame ine with 100-point scorers Emma Holmes and Julia Holmes, scored on a blazing wrist shot into the top corner of the Beverly net. Talia Martucci scored an empty netter when Beverly pulled its goaltender for a sixth skater late in the third period.

Winthrop’s game against Shawsheen was canceled due to the snowstorm Monday and rescheduled for Friday at 3:40 p.m. at the Larsen Rink at the Mike Eruzione Center. Winthrop has a game with league title implications on Wednesday, Feb. 1, against Peabody, whose only loss in the league was to Winthrop in the first meeting.

The Coffey Connection

Yes, freshman defenseman Avalina Coffey is a member of the well-known Coffey family whose contributions to Winthrop sports are in two words, very impressive.

Her father Tommy, and uncles Steve Coffey and James Coffey, were all outstanding athletes. James served as the Winthrop High athletic director. Steve Coffey set an NCAA consecutive game hitting streak at UMass/Boston and played in the Chicago Cubs organization.

And Avalina’s grandfather, the late Stephen Coffey, is one of the most admired and respected coaches in the history of Winthrop Little League, where as the leader of the ‘A’ Division Dodgers, he had the opportunity to coach his talented children. Mr. Coffey was a supporter of all Winthrop High sports teams for many years.

Mr. Coffey had a great perspective on youth and high school sports and the lessons about teamwork and life that can be gained through one’s participation in sports.

It’s simply joyous for the Coffey family and long-time Winthrop residents to have Avalina Coffey carrying on the tradition of athletic excellence.

The Junior Class

Winthrop’s three student-athletes from the Class of 2024 – Samantha DiMento, Hannah Parker, and Adrianna Rizzo – are getting it done for the 10-0-0 Vikings.

“They’ve been unbelievable for us, as far as giving us secondary leadership behind the four captains,” credited Martucci.

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