SALEM — If the Beverly High girls hockey team had any rust from not having won a game in 11 days and not having played for nine, freshman Kristen McCarthy made sure it melted away in a hurry.
The second-line center scored two goals and assisted on a third, all in the opening 8:39 of the Panthers’ Division 1 state tournament first round match against Medford at Rockett Arena Saturday afternoon. McCarthy’s early work and a hat trick by junior Nicole Woods powered Beverly to an 8-1 victory, the program’s second-ever playoff triumph.
“The first one is the hardest and now that we have that first one under our belt we’re looking forward to the next challenge,” said Beverly coach Brian Seabury, whose team will face Arlington Catholic Wednesday in Woburn (time TBA) in the quarterfinals.
The Panthers (17-2-2) jumped ahead when McCarthy redirected Woods’ power play bid just 3:30 in. McCarthy then scored when she won a faceoff and beat Medford goalie Ashley Rodriguez at 5:32. Rachel Trocchi made it 3-0 shortly thereafter, depositing McCarthy’s rebound.
“Kristen is so consistent in the way she plays. Always with energy and always getting to the net,” said Seabury. “She’s been that sparkplug of offense we need on that second unit.”
The Mustangs (11-8-3) got on the board in the second when Brittani Lanzilli scored on her second breakaway try of the period. Woods (3 goals, assist) then scored twice, including a shorthanded breakaway that came when Beverly was on its heels and needed to regain momentum.
“We’d called a timeout before the kill and we’d said if we turn the puck over, we’re going to go the other way,” said Seabury. “We were fortunate that the puck turned over and Nicole was able to bury that backbreaker there.”
Freshman Anna O’Neill doled out three assists and junior Caitlin McBride had one assist and a brilliant coast-to-coast goal with 1:00 left in the third. Karen Hovey also scored and 13 skaters had points including Livvy Konaxis, Nicole Kamens, Anna Hayden, Izzy Straw, Rachel Ingraham, Jess Fanning and Karissa Zakas.