By Matt Williams
---- — PEABODY — It had been almost a month since the Masconomet girls hockey team got a victory, and the Chieftains played the third period last night against Peabody like a team starving to get back in the win column.
Masco scored four times over the final eight minutes to pull away from the Tanners, 8-3.
“We came out with more energy than we’ve had. Eight goals is a great showing on offense for us and I thought the defense was stronger than its been the last few games,” said Andrew Boepple, who earned his first win back as a coach after taking over for Nicole Twomey two weeks ago.
The Chieftains evened their record at 4-4-1 on the strength of two goals and two assists from senior captain Dana Vallettie, two goals from fellow captain Jensena Moner and a goal and two assists from Kylie Currier.
Peabody dipped to 2-9-1 despite an outstanding performance from freshman goalie Jillian McCormick (34 saves). The Tanners responded with goals of their own each time Masco took a multi-goal lead until the third, when the Chieftains barrage snowballed into a five-goal advantage.
“We didn’t play hard for the full 45 minutes but there are positives to take away,” said Peabody coach Larry Minehan. “Jillian had to be the number one star; she kept us in the game for a while.”
The teams traded four goals in the second and went to the third with the visiting Chieftains ahead 4-3. Masco peppered the Peabody net for stretches of the period and broke the dam when Adara Nazarian scored with 8:06 to play. Just 20 seconds later, Moner scored her first and with a three-goal edge Masconomet never looked back.
“Peabody’s a dangerous team. We got that lead and they came right back at us in the second,” said Boepple. “It was a testament to us that we kept at it and pulled away at the end, but also a testament to the team Peabody has that they came back.”
McCormick was at her best at the end of the second, when she made a flurry of saves during a Chieftain power play to send the Tanners to room trailing by only one goal. She stopped 12-of-14 in the middle period and 14-of-18 in the third.
“She put two good games together last weekend and she came up with another on here,” said Minehan. “The game really shouldn’t have been that big a score, but after they got up by a few goals in the third it seemed like we stopped skating.”
Masco took the lead when Valletti swept home a rebound in the first. Peabody countered with Elise Murphy’s impressive end-to-end rush and finish to tie it at one, and Masco took the lead again soon after when Meagan Aponas netted her first varsity goal with just three seconds left in the first.
Maddy Werner then scored just 16 seconds into the second, and Valletti followed 71 seconds later to make it 4-1. Peabody battle back with Murphy’s second goal and a power play rip from Courtney Smith to get within a goal.
“We got pucks to the net, but I think the biggest thing for us was the way we backed up our partners on defense,” said Boepple, highlighting Sydney Sheerin’s first varsity action on D after moving back from forward. “We cut down the odd-man rushed today, and we won some battles.”
Masco’s other defenders, including Lily Dow, Brynne O’Connor and Meg Hubbard, were strong in front of goalie Andraya Ferraro, who made 13 saves.
“Andraya played really well,” said Boepple, whose team blanked Peabody 2-0 in the first meeting in December. “I could name almost every girl after this one. It was really a team effort.”
Minehan felt Hannah Travers had a strong game as well, and it looking for his team to find a full three periods of effort when they are back at it Sunday morning against Marblehead.