SALEM — The first three times Beverly took the lead Sunday morning, Marblehead junior captain Brittany Smith scored to even things up.
At the end of the game, the Panthers made sure she didn’t have time to do it again.
Beverly junior Nicole Woods scored twice in the final minute, netting the winner with 31 seconds to go and another with 10 seconds left as the Panthers remained unbeaten on the season with a 5-3 win over Marblehead at Salem State’s Rockett Arena.
Woods had a hat trick plus an assist for the game, with linemates Anna O’Neill (two goals, assist) and Livvy Konaxis (three assists) doing all the scoring for the Panthers (6-0).
“It’s easy to see that they’re our go-to line. They cycle the puck well and they’re dangerous offensively,” said Beverly coach Brian Seabury. “When we went to them in that last minute, they did the job.”
Marblehead (3-4) trailed 2-1 to start the third period. Junior captains Rachel McKay and Smith connected as McKay’s outlet pass went through two Beverly skaters and Smith turned it into a breakaway and the equalizer with 10:36 to play.
The Panthers re-took the lead on an unassisted backhand by O’Neill with 4:35 to go. Marblehead went on the power play 17 seconds later, however, and Smith made them pay again with a wrist shot from the top of the umbrella that made it 3-3 with just 3:28 left in the game.
“We’ve been a third period team all year and it was within our grasp heading into the third,” said Marblehead coach Emily Hudak, whose team had a flurry after the tying goal that was snuffed out by Beverly goalie Ami Thompson (13 saves).
“We worked to get it to 3-3 and I’m thinking we’ll be able to bang one home, but we didn’t and then Beverly got the goal, which was a deflation.”