May 21, 2018
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Johnstone named Husson field hockey coach

By Larry Mahoney, BDN Staff

Jen Johnstone is returning to her second home.

The former University of Maine All-American and two-time All-America East first-team midfielder has been named the field hockey coach at Husson University in Bangor.

Terms of her contract were not disclosed.

The 30-year-old Johnstone, a Pennsylvania native, has spent the past three seasons as a head coach. She spent two years at Kenyon College (Ohio) where she compiled an 18-24 record in two years and led Kenyon to a berth in the North Coast Athletic Conference championship game.

She was the head coach at Frostburg State University (Md.) last fall where she went 3-17 with a team comprised of 15 freshmen and sophomores among the 20-player roster.

She also had stints as an assistant coach at Ohio Wesleyan, Cornell University and Brown.

“I’m very excited to be back here in Maine,” said Johnstone, a 2003 Maine graduate. “(Former Maine coach) Terry Kix recruited me and on my official visit, I loved the people and the area.

“I love New England. Maine is a state that will always have a special place in my heart.”

She is equally excited about joining a Husson University program that is coming off back-to-back North Atlantic Conference championships and NCAA Division III Tournament appearances under another former Black Bear standout, Katie (Flaherty) McCabe.

McCabe, who resigned to spend more time with her family, led the Eagles to a 19-13 record, 11-5 in NAC play.

“It’s a great program,” said Johnstone. “The past two years have been very successful. There are a lot of great field hockey players in the state of Maine. It’s an exciting opportunity.”

Husson athletic director Bob Reasso said, “I promised our players I would find them the best coach possible” and he feels he did just that.

“She has coached at two Division I schools, been a head coach at two Division III schools and was an All-American at Maine. That’s great for the ladies in our program.

“There’s no substitute for experience,” added Reasso.

He said Johnstone had lunch with him and his staff and she impressed everyone.

“The questions she asked were the questions an experienced coach would ask,” said Reasso.

He added that she has a “great personality, she’s competitive and she cares about the student-athletes,” Reasso said. “She knows the business and has a vision of what she’s looking for.”

Johnstone said she has a lot of recruiting experience and she has developed a familiarity with the state thanks to her friendships with her former Black Bear teammates.

“I’m familiar with the schools with strong reputations and the ones that are building as well. It’s going to be real important to reach out to those coaches,” said Johnstone, who feels Husson has a lot of attractive majors to offer prospective field hockey players like nursing, physical therapy, education, business and physical education.

She is going to use the spring program to “get to know the players, see what their strengths are and build from there.”

She will stress conditioning, passing and speed.

“Moving the ball quickly is very important,” said Johnstone. “And we have to be able to put the ball in the back of the net.”

Maine hockey lists captains

Senior left wing Brian Flynn and senior defenseman Will O’Neill will co-captain the University of Maine’s men’s hockey team next season.

Senior left wing Spencer Abbott and junior defenseman Mike Cornell will serve as assistant captains.

They were chosen by the players and the coaches.

Flynn had a team-high 20 goals and 16 assists in 36 games for the Bears this past season and won Hockey East’s Len Ceglarski (sportsmanship) Award. He had just eight penalty minutes.

Flynn has 51 goals and 57 assists in 113 career games.

O’Neill had 4 goals and 17 assists in 28 games and has 16 & 52 in 101 career games.

Abbott notched 17 & 23 in 36 games and was the team’s second-leading scorer behind two-time Hobey Baker Award finalist Gustav Nyquist. He has 33 & 51 in 112 career games.

Cornell had 1 & 7 in 29 games and has 1 & 10 in 55 career games.

“I’m very pleased with the four of them,” said Maine coach Tim Whitehead. “Each one, in his own way, has improved tremendously on and off the ice. They will give us great leadership next year.”

Maine finished 17-12-7 but missed the NCAA Tournament for the fourth straight year after finishing fifth in Hockey East and being swept in its two-game league quarterfinals series at Merrimack College.

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