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Senior goalie Juliana Daddio recently completed her career with the Blades’ girls’ ice hockey team by earning All-SCC Honorable Mention, while helping the squad post a record of 18-6 this winter. (Photo courtesy of Juliana Daddio )
Juliana Daddio showed poise in net all year long for the Blades as she notched six shutouts during her senior season. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
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Juliana Daddio has been playing ice hockey throughout her life, and her experience paid big-time dividends when she stepped into the net for Amity-North Haven-Cheshire girls’ hockey squad. Juliana, a senior at North Haven High School, recorded six shutouts and stopped 92 percent of the shots she faced as the Blades’ goalie this season on her way to earning All-SCC Honorable Mention, while helping the team finish with an excellent record of 18-6.
Juliana was the only goalie on the Blades’ depth chart this year. That meant there was a ton of pressure on Juliana to be on point every game, but she relished the challenge.
“It pushes you to work harder, I think. It does get a little tiring, but I love hockey, and I love the game. I will never get tired of playing it,” says Juliana. “It put a lot of pressure on me, but I love it. It motivated me to work harder.”
Juliana has played goalie since she was 10. She learned how to play the position with help from her coaches, while also studying the play of older brother Justin, who was a goaltender for North Haven; as well as Tuukka Rask, who plays net for her favorite NHL team, the Boston Bruins. Juliana employs a butterfly technique in goal, and she’s become really strong on her glove side as a result of constantly working on it.
“I’ve been playing hockey since I was three, and I switched to goalie when I was 10 years old. I started as a wing. My brother used to play goalie, so I tried goaltender out, and I’ve loved it ever since. I just watched him and watched goalies on TV. I just loved it,” Juliana says. “I am a butterfly, and I’m good on the glove side. I practice by throwing a tennis ball on the wall and catching it.”
It takes dedication to stick with hockey, and Juliana is definitely dedicated to the sport, as she plays year-round with her travel team, the U-19 Shoreline Sharks. It’s also a demanding sport that can take a toll on the goalie, who needs to have lots of agility to play the position. However, none of these factors have ever hampered Juliana’s performance in net, because she loves playing hockey so much.
“I’m really committed. When you have a team, you have to be committed. It’s a dominating sport on your time with practices and games, and it’s physically demanding,” Juliana says. “At goalie, you need to have the flexibility for the position. You need to know your angles and get line of sight. Some people don’t realize that it’s a tough position.”
Even though she wasn’t a captain, Juliana was still counted on to be a leader for the Blades this season. One of the ways she provided leadership was by making sure that the team’s defenders were always in the right position in front of her on the ice.
“You have to be a leader, because you’re older. You’re still kind of like a captain,” says Juliana, who was also the Blades’ goalie when they won the SCC Division II Tournament two years ago. “Communication is the key in hockey. You have to talk to your defense and always know where they’re supposed to be, so you can help them out, and they can help you out.”
Head Coach John Peschell knows how integral Juliana was to the Blades’ success with her superior play in net this season. Peschell adds that her senior leadership also played a big part in the squad’s prosperity.
“She was one of the keys to our success this year. We wouldn’t have had any of our success without her. She was one of the best goalies in the league. She didn’t leave rebounds out in the spot. She would put them out in the corners to limit the teams second chances,” Peschell says. “She was every bit a captain as any other captain. Kids looked up to her. She showed great sportsmanship. She took some shots from opposing teams, but never retaliated. She let her goaltending do the talking. She’s just a great kid.”
With her high-school hockey career behind her, Juliana is preparing for her future and will attend Quinnipiac University, where she wants to major in media production. She doesn’t plan on playing hockey at the Division I school, but she does hope to stay involved in the sport, perhaps as a volunteer coach for a travel squad. Looking back at all the time that she’s spent on the ice, Juliana says that she wouldn’t change a thing.
“It was the best 15 years of my life playing hockey,” says Juliana. “If I had it to do all over again, I would do it in a heartbeat. I’m going to miss the road trips, the games, and the nice people I met along the way.”
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