HAVERHILL — End-to-end speed is one thing but when you combine fast skating with heads up hockey the way Peabody freshman Catie Kampersal does its going to be a handful for any opponent.
Kampseral used both her speed and her wits to hold off Masconomet's upset bid Tuesday afternoon at Valley Forum, scoring both goals in a 2-1 victory. The game-winner came with only 19.8 seconds left on the clock with Kampersal wheeling along the right wall and firing a puck through the crease that redirected off a defenseman to break what was a tense 1-1 tie.
"Catie has great situational awareness. She knows when to drive the net, when to pull up and wait for help and she knows when we need a shot ... and we desperately needed one there," said Peabody coach Michelle Roach, her team winners of eight straight and now 10-1 overall.
Masconomet (2-10-1) had a great defensive gameplan and used frequent stick checks to frustrate the Tanner offense. Sophia Grutti had a great game and prevented a goal with strong physical play in the crease and goalie Lydia Willette made 22 stops. The Chieftains seemed destined to take at least a point after taking an early lead and controlling much of the first two periods, but the Northeastern Hockey League Tanners came roaring back in the third.
"For a while I thought we had them," said Masco coach Ryan Sugar. "Things fell apart a little in the third period ... we made some bad decisions at the blue line and weren't able to break out as well as we did earlier in the game."
Bitsy King buried Sage Smith's pass to give the Chieftains a 1-0 lead. If not for a great effort in net from Peabody's Audrey Buckley (26 saves), Masco probably would've doubled the lead and put some serious pressure on the visitors.
"We jumped all over them," said Sugar, whose team built big-time momentum from holding Peabody's dangerous power play 0-for-4. "That was the best the penalty kill has looked all year ... If we could've picked up a rebound and gotten a second goal, we really would've been in business."
Kampersal finally got the Tanners on the board with 1:04 left in the first. Hannah Gromko sent her up the ice and Kampersal beat two defenders with her second gear of speed and then finished to make it 1-1 going to the second intermission.
"We started slow and we got progressively better," said Roach, whose team had never won at Valley Forum before Tuesday's triumph. "We got it done and we're very happy with that ... even with some chaos going on, we came here with a job to do and found a way."
Bella Flinn and Allie LaCava had strong games defensively for Masco, which blocked close to a dozen shots and sent a good number of others high off the glass or over the net with well-timed stick work. Paige Thibedeau, Jenna DiNapoli and Jen Flynn were among the Peabody skaters with great scoring chances stuffed either by the defense or by great saves from Willette.
"Masco took away our time and space, loading up the front of the net. You have to go through two or three bodies to get to the net against them," Roach said. "They make you work for everything; it's always a tough game against them."
Peabody 2, Masconomet 1
at Valley Forum, Haverhill
Peabody 0 1 1 2
Masconomet 1 0 0 1
First period: M, Bitsy King (Sage Smith), 5:39.
Second period: P, Catie Kampersal (Hannah Gromko), 13:56.
Third period: P, Kampersal (Chloe Shapleigh, Jenna DiNapoli), 14:41.
Saves: P, Audrey Buckley 27; M, Lydia Willette 22.
Records: P, 10-1-0; M, 2-10-1.