By Matt Williams
---- — GLOUCESTER — With 13 freshmen, the Masconomet girls hockey team is a young squad. Their New Year’s Eve win over Marblehead, however, was a long time coming for the Chieftains’ six seniors.
Masco’s Jensena Moner scored the last two goals of the game and senior goalie Alex Jones made 18 saves as the Chieftains toppled Marblehead, 4-2, at Talbot Rink for the program’s first win over the Lady Headers since 2009.
“It’s a league game, and those are always big, but I also know our upperclassmen will enjoy this one,” said Masco head coach Nicole Twomey. “Marblehead’s a really strong program, well coached, and they’d beaten us just about every time we’ve played.”
The Lady Headers (3-2) were unbeaten in their last six against Masco and looked to be on the way to another point, at least, when Brittany Lydon scored her second goal of the game to even the score, 2-2, in the third period.
The Chieftains (3-1 overall) didn’t go into a shell after giving up the 2-0 lead, however. Moner, a sophomore from Georgetown, scored the game-winner 87 seconds after Marblehead tied it up.
Both teams were changing lines and Masco captain Kendra Dow won the puck behind the Marblehead net. She found Moner, charging into the slot to begin her shift, with a crisp feed that goalie Aly Hopkins had little chance of stopping.
“We were standing still and it’s hard to make things happen when you’re out there watching (the other team) make things happen,” said Marblehead coach Emily Hudak.
Marblehead had a chance to even the score with a power play midway through the final period, but couldn’t convert. Just as the advantage expired, Moner broke in and scored her second of the game to make it a slightly more comfortable two-goal lead.
As disappointed as Masco was to give up the 2-0 lead, the Cheiftains were equally pleased to bounce back and still win the game.
“We’re coming off a 2-1 loss on Saturday and that one hit us hard. We know we can be beaten now,” said Twomey. “We bounced back from the loss, and then we bounced back again when Marblehead didn’t give up. We learned some good lessons today against a pretty good team.”
Masco’s line of Dow with freshmen Katie Terban and Kylie Currier produced the first two goals with Currier opening the scoring in transition at 5:46 of the first. Dow, who had three points and leads Masco with 10 in four games, then capitalized on a center ice turnover to make it 2-0 with 2:23 left in the second.
Marblehead took advantage of a power play with 26 seconds left in the period to get back in the game. Brittany Smith’s blast from the blue line was knocked down in front and Lydon was there to bury the rebound to make it 2-1.
“We were excited going into that third period. That really gave us momentum,” said Hudak.
Lydon, a freshman, evened the score with 11:30 to play when she flipped a backhand over Jones (18 saves) on a 2-on-1 opportunity.
Masconomet, however, had the better of the puck possession game the rest of the way and eventually capitalized with Moner’s two markers. The Chieftains’ Nancy Palermo, Meghan Hubbard, Lily Dow and Alex Casale did a good job limiting Marblehead’s breakout and the few times the dangerous Smith skated in alone Jones made the saves.
“Masco did a good job breaking things up on the rush and for whatever reason when we tried to pass in front we couldn’t connect,” said Hudak. “We have to do the little things better. Masco skated harder and they beat us to the puck.”
Hopkins made several nice saves on point-blank bids in the slot from Dana Valletti, Moner and Kendra Dow and finished with 18 stops. Jones had two doorstep saves on Rachel Mckay and sister Halle in the second, and Palermo did a good job clearing the crease of both rebounds and bodies.
Twomey was pleased to see her top two forward lines contribute two goals each and also praised the third unit of Olivia Mombello, Catherine Headrick and Maddy Werner.
“For the first time, really ever, we have competition (for ice time). We have four lines and everybody’s itching to play,” she said. “Having those lines we can play takes a lot of pressure off those first two, especially at the end of games. It makes a huge difference.”
Masconomet 4, Marblehead 2
at Talbot Rink, Gloucester
Masconomet: 1 1 2 — 4
Marblehead: 0 1 1 — 2
First period: MSC, Kylie Currier (Kendra Dow, Katie Terban), 5:46
Second Period: MSC, Dow (Currier, Terban), 12:37, MRB, Brittany Lydon (Emmarose Winder, Brittany Smith), ppg, 14:27
Third Period: MRB, Lydon (un), 3:30; MSC, Jensena Moner (Dow, Sydney Sheerin), 4:57; MSC, Moner (un), 6:57
Saves: MSC, Alex Jones 18; MRB, Aly Hopkins 18
Records: MSC, 3-1; MRB, 3-2