But Johnson didn’t simply make the Cougars, she had to try out like everyone else.
“A lot of people tried out,” said Johnson. “So the first cut happened, then the second cut, then the third cut, and then (Wood) told me to get off the ice. I had made it. That was pretty scary.”
Johnson made yet another squad, this time with the Central Catholic League, fronting for senior goalie Shannon O’Neil.
“I think it’s pretty incredible that, just a couple of years ago, I was just learning how to skate,” said Johnson, who also made the varsity soccer team as an eighth-grader at St. Mary’s in Lynn as well as the men’s varsity golf team. “Now I’m playing at a high school level and actually getting ice time, (and) I‘m doing pretty well, I’m keeping up. I hold my own out there.”
Wood adds that Johnson has a natural defender’s mentality and that she should progress well over the next few years.
“She certainly has blossomed into that role very, very well,” Wood said of Johnson’s take on defense. “She’s got a great shot from the point.”
Mike Boyle of Mike Boyle’s Strength and Conditioning in Woburn has been working with Johnson since the past summer, and he believes it is her ability to play multiple sports that helps her to stand out.
“She is a really good athlete,” says Boyle. “That is one of the things that is, in a lot of ways, missing in ice hockey. So that is what I think is helping her. She can play softball, she can play golf, she can play soccer, she is in athlete. You can see it right away.”
“The way kids are now, you get kids that are playing just that one sport,” Boyle said. “And I think sometimes that’s why the pyramid ends up getting smaller. You don’t get a kid who is a good athlete, you get a kid who is a good soccer player or hockey player or whatever it is. I think that sometimes, it is better for these kids to get a broader base in sports. It makes the potential higher.”
Johnson has also worked with local hockey legend Eddie Hill at his clinic at the Graf, and should be with the Cougars (5-3-3) for another three years, then it’s off to college and she has definite plans there.
“I want to play Division 1 hockey in college,” Johnson said. “So, I’m going to keep on practicing and working hard and hopefully it pays off.”