GLOUCESTER — The only goal the Beverly girls needed to extend the longest winning streak in the program’s eight-year history may have looked easy. It was anything but.
Kristen McCarthy’s artful tip off a Caitlin McBride bomb with 3:29 left in the first stood up as the game-winner as the Panthers shut down Masconomet, 2-0, Saturday evening at Talbot Rink.
The win leaves Beverly (8-0) as the lone unbeaten team in GEIMHL Northeast Division action and in sole possession of first place. The Chieftains (4-3) lost their first league game and second straight overall.
Beverly’s execution on that first power play was the difference. Captain Livvy Konaxis cycled the puck to McBride, a junior defenseman with a wicked slapshot, at the top of the Panthers’ formation.
McBride hesitated just long enough for a shooting lane to open, slapping the puck through traffic where McCarthy could redirect it high into the net.
“It’s something we’ve worked on in practice, to not bury our heads when we’re shooting from out there,” said Beverly coach Brian Seabury. “Caitlin kept her head up on that one, saw what was in front of her and put it right where she needed to.”
The game remained tight for the next 27 minutes of play thanks largely to Masco’s senior goalie, Alex Jones. She made 27 saves in all and kept it a 1-0 game despite a heavy advantage for the Panthers in possession and shots on goal (8-1 in the first, 10-2 in the third and 29-10 for the game).
“Alex keeps us in every game,” Masco coach Nicole Twomey said. “We always have a shot, every time we’re on the ice, because of the way she plays.”
The Chieftains’ best period was the second, in which they hit seven of their 10 shots on goal. Defenseman Nancy Palermo had a shot to tie it up on the power play late in the period, but Ami Thompson made the save. She also held strong on a scrum at the top of her crease in the second, saving a point-blank bid from Kylie Currier, and earned her third shutout of the season.