By Matt Williams
---- — SALEM — There are going to be nights over a course of a season when a team just doesn’t have any jump in its step.
That was certainly the case for the Marblehead girls yesterday at Rockett Arena, where the Lady Headers couldn’t shake off a sluggish start and had their four game unbeaten streak snapped by visiting Gardner, 6-1.
“Something seemed off. There wasn’t a lot of chatter before the game or in warm-ups,” said Marblehead coach Emily Hudak. “There was something off with our energy and it carried into the game.”
Marblehead (6-5-1) came into the game having scored 23 goals over its four game unbeaten streak but was held to its lowest scoring total of the season by the tireless, tenacious Gardner defense. The Wildcats (5-2) limited Marblehead to just 11 shots on goal through the first two periods while building a 4-1 lead, and also held the hosts 0-for-5 on the power play.
“We’re a great defensive team and we’ve had some trouble scoring, so this was a good game for us,” said Gardner coach Marc Berube. “We’re starting to understand some things and get going. We have a great bunch of kids having fun out there.”
Gardner carried play in the first and got on the board with 2:13 left in the period on Emily O’Reilly’s marker. The Wildcats poured it on in the second, scoring twice in two minutes on goals by Lisa Kilroy (with 11:09 left) and Kristi Anderson (with 9:11 left) to take control, 3-0.
“We were standing around watching and we don’t want to do that. We have to be the proactive team, making the opponent make mistakes,” said Hudak. “We had too many breakdowns, things like putting our heads down so they could stickhandle around us and not getting the puck out of the zone.”
Junior captain Brittany Smith gave the Lady Headers some life when she scored her 20th goal of the season with 8:12 left in the second. It was a snap shot from the slot on a pass from Brittany Lydon that continued an impressive scoring streak for that line, which includes junior captain Rachel McKay.
Smith was moved up from defense a few weeks ago and the trio has been producing a plethora of goals.
“We needed to create more offense and Britt’s defensive minded so she knows how to get back and help out. That line has been awesome,” said Hudak, who noted that the improvement of defensemen like Rose Callahan and Halle McKay helped make the transition a smooth one. Hadley Woodfin and Caroline Hughes also played well on defense and Emmarose Winder and Abby DiMare have settled into second line winger roles between Sydney Cresta and Meg Gray.
“We have a lot of young kids that are stepping up and improving in every game they play.”
Janice Bolton scored to make it 4-1 Garnder at the end of two periods. Bailey Miller than scored twice to put the game out of reach, with her first marker a 5x3 goal with 10:20 to go and her second a shorthanded snipe with 8:21 remaining.
Lady Header goalie Sabrina Doughman made 22 saves, with her best work coming when she stopped seven-of-eight in the first period. The freshman made two solid glove saves, an excellent kick stop of Miller and saw Callahan take away a scoring chance with a nice block and Hughes block a centering feed that would’ve been trouble.
In the offensive end, Smith was a force with nine of her team’s 21 shots on goals. Gardner goalie Aislinn Dehorsey had a few key stops among her 21 saves. Rachel McKay hit the crossbar when it was 3-1 and Dohersey made skate saves on Lydon and Gray that kept her team in the lead before they pulled away.
“We had chances, but they definitely had more chances,” said Hudak.
Gardner 6, Marblehead 1
at Rockett Arena, Salem
Gardner: 1 3 2 — 6
Marblehead: 0 1 0 — 1
First period: G, Emily O’Reilly (Katie Lombardozzi), 12:47
Second Period: G, Lisa Kilroy (Jessica Moran), 3:51; G, Janice Bolton (O’Reilly), 5:49; M, Brittany Smith (Brittany Lydon), 6:48; G, Bolton (Anderson), 11:33
Third Period: G, Bailey Miller (Lombardozzi, Bolton), 5x3, 4:40; G, Miller (Anderson), shg, 6:39
Saves: G, Aislinn Dehorsey 21; M, Sabrina Doughman 22
Records: G, 5-2-0; M, 6-5-1