GLOUCESTER – For over 43 minutes it looked like Beverly was never going to get a puck by Masconomet senior netminder Alex Jones, who stonewalled the Panthers, despite facing 38 shots.
As the old saying goes “better late than never,” Beverly never stopping fighting when down 1-0 with time running out in a battle between the two top teams in the NEC/CAL.
Junior Nicole Woods, who rarely came off the ice all game, scored the tying goal with 1:53 remaining to give her team the league championship— in a 1-1 decision.
Woods had been out for a long shift when she fought for a loose puck along the boards in the Masco end and glided down the middle with two players draped all over her. She used her speed to find enough room to get a shot off and fired just under crossbar, where Jones had no chance to stop. Senior captain Livvy Konaxis and freshman Olivia Pawlyck assisted on the goal.
“I was really tired, but we were all getting tired at that point,” said Woods, who leads her team in scoring and recorded her 20th goal of the season. “Alex is an amazing goalie, and it’s always hard to get anything by her. That’s probably the most exciting goal I’ve ever scored.
“If it was any other team they would’ve given up, but we owed it to our coaches to give it everything we had. We had never won the conference since I’ve been on the team, and that was one of our big goals right from the start of the season.”
A happy group of Panthers surrounded goalie Ami Thompson after the game ended, and “We Are the Champions” by Queen could be heard in the hallways outside their locker room at the Talbot Rink with the girls singing along.