By Jean DePlacido
PEABODY — Meghan Woodworth made 51 big saves in the Bishop Fenwick net to keep the game close, but Peabody managed to get four by her in a 4-0 victory over the Lady Crusaders at McVann-O’Keefe Rink.
The freshman from Melrose, who also plays for the Middlesex Islanders club was red hot, stopping 15 of the 16 shots Peabody fired at her in the first period. The lone goal by the Tanners was scored by Laura Miele in a jam in front of the net with Hannah Travers assisting.
“I don’t know if that’s the most saves I’ve had,” said Woodworth, who also plays volleyball and lacrosse. “I usually see quite a few so I’m getting use to it. We have a lot of new girls and are getting used to playing together.
Time after time Peabody fired on net only to be stoned by Woodworth, who made a great save on freshman Sophia Post on a breakaway midway through the opening period.
“Meghan has played great all year, and she’s only a freshman,” said first year Fenwick coach Doug Anderson. “We’re building from the goal out, and we’ve got an excellent center in freshman Gabby Datolo. We’ve made great strides even though sometimes it doesn’t look like it on the scoreboard (0-11).
“Sixty percent of our girls never played hockey until last year, and I’m happy with their progress. Hockey is a fast game, ,and it’s tough to pick up the skills quickly.”
Peabody continued to pepper Woodworth in the middle period with 25 shots, and most of them were labeled. Post had a pair of goals, beating Woodworth in a jam in front of the net, and then scoring on a rebound.
Less than a minute after Post’s second goal captain Courtney Smith picked a spot in the left corner of the net and her one-timer made it 4-0.
“This is a much stronger Bishop Fenwick team,” said Peabody coach Larry Minehan, his team now 4-10 with two wins over the Lady Crusaders. “Our kids had to work for it, and their goalie was incredible. We were getting good shots off, and she got in the way of them.
“We’re still learning, and only have four or five returning players. We can take a lot of good things from this game, and everybody worked very hard. I wanted more goals so I could have a chance to get more kids in, but Fenwick hung tough all the way.”
It was the second win in a week for Peabody, which stopped Everett last week. With four wins, the young Tanners have as many victories as the program ever has in its brief varsity history.
“I’ve seen a lot of progress; I hoped we’d be farther along at this point, but I guess as a coach you’re never completely happy. We skated well, and Post is just a phenomenal player,” Minehan said. “She’s only a freshman, but can handle the puck so well. Sometimes I tell her she makes one too many shifts, but we’re all still learning.”
Peabody senior captain Joanna Ambeliotis wasn’t very busy in net, but she did have to make a few big saves to preserve the shutout. She also had a lot of help from her defensemen, who broke up threats and turned the puck up ice.
Fenwick’s Emily Galligan made a strong bid early in the second period when she uncorked a high shot that hit Ambeliotis in the shoulder, and in the final minute Datolo came in on a breakaway, but was denied.
“Our defense is doing a good job,” said Minehan. “Kaydee Purcell is a seventh grader, and she has improved so much. Hannie Aylward, an eighth grader, is also coming along nicely. Those two along with Smith and Bella Piscatelli give us strength back there.
“This was definitely one of our better games, and we had good ones against Everett and Brookline. We’ll see both of those teams again, and I hope we’ll do better against Shawsheen. I hope we can finish the season with six wins or more. That would be awesome. The future looks bright with so many young girls, and they all love the sport.