PEABODY — Before their game even began Saturday, the Peabody High girls hockey team was trying to come to grips with the news that goaltender Lauren Hennessey would be out of action for a month after dislocating her patella while stretching before practice a few days earlier.
The news only got worse as powerful Beverly High came in and flexed its muscles offensively, skating off with a 10-2 victory at the McVann-O’Keefe Rink.
Tanners head coach Larry Minehan started Jillian McCormick in net, then midway through the game made a switch as senior center Courtney Smith went in between the pipes. Minehan was trying to find a way to slow the powerful visitors down, but their first line of eighth grade standout Julia Nearis, senior captain Nicole Woods and sophomore Kristen McCarthy provided the Panthers with all the firepower they’d need to improve to 2-0.
Woods led the scoring with two goals (including a shorthanded beauty) and four assists while McCarthy had two goals and two assists and Nearis added a pair of goals. Senior captain Rachel Trocchi also scored twice and had a helper.
“This was a good hard effort,” said Panther head coach Brian Seabury. “Our top line was pretty dominant; they have the ability and talent to measure up with the best in the state talent-wise.
“Woods and Nearis both had strong games, and I’m happy to see a lot of different (players involved) in the scoring. In our first game we depended heavily on that first line.”
Nearis took a perfect pass from Woods and beat McCormick less than two minutes into the contest. Izzy Straw made to 2-0 before Peabody answered 21 seconds later on an unassisted goal by Caroline Buckley.
“We have a few eighth graders, but they’ve stepped right up there very quickly to contribute,” said Woods, who now has 11 points on the young season. “We only lost a couple of players from last year’s team and are excited about our chances. Coach has big plans for us and set up a tough schedule, so we know we have to be ready.”