Masco falls in Newburyport Classic championship
By Connor Whooley Staff writer Bryan Eaton/staff photo
NEWBURYPORT — Despite an outstanding goaltending performance by freshman Molly Elmore, the Masconomet girls hockey team wasn’t able to hold out against Winchester in the finals of the Newburyport Bank Tournament Doyle Division on Thursday night.
Elmore had 27 saves in a 4-1 Sachem victory at Graf Rink with Winchester topping Masco in the finals for the second straight year.
It was a contest between two pretty evenly-matched teams, but the Chieftains (9-8-3) just couldn’t generate enough offense. Winchester (12-4-4) led by a goal going into the third before potting a pair in the final frame to skate away with the tournament championship.
“I think we were flat for a good part of the game. We had our spurts, but Winchester has a lot of speed and at times we just couldn’t match it,” said Masco coach Ryan Sugar.
A battle of the power plays ensued in the second period with five players heading to the sin bin in the frame.
The Chieftains came out flying in the third led by Sarra, who by breakaway or sheer rush to the net had three strong chances early on. But Winchester goalie Baile Lazarus turned them away and after weathering the early storm, the Sachems broke out.
First, it was Julianna Bray, who collected a loose puck in the slot and slid it in with 7:43 left. Then, Redler got her second on a breakaway with 2:50 to go.
For Masco, captain Madison Brooke, Riane Vatcher, Rachel Duval, Nicole Flak, Gianna Conte and Anna Behringer played well on the blue line. Up front, Sarra, Lexi Rosenbaum and Mikayla Vincent created chances but just couldn’t convert.
The Chieftains had two opportunities to play a skater up in the period and couldn’t take advantage of them as their offense struggled to get much of anything going in the second.
Meanwhile, Winchester’s constant pressure finally broke down the Chieftain defense on the Sachems’ second power play of the period. Micciche slid a pass across the net to Tara Daugherty and Dougherty found Mariah Redler in the right slot area.
Redler fired one through traffic to make it 2-1 with 5:04 to go in the second. Elmore had nine saves in the frame including one in which she stole a goal by sliding across the crease and blocking the shot at the last second.
All the damage in the first period came on two goals in the opening minute of the contest.
First, it was the Sachems’ Madison Micciche who picked up a loose puck and fired home shot from the slot that beat Chieftain goalie Molly Elmore.
But the red-and-white had a quick answer just 21 seconds later when Kate Irons found net from in front of goal in a scrum. Riane Vatcher and Abby Gendron got the assists on the tally with 14:07 left in the first.
“We got it to the point and I was screening the goalie and I tipped it in,” Irons said.
From there, the Chieftains carried the play for much of the period with senior captain Izzy Sarra leading the offense in challenging Winchester goalie Baile Lazarus multiple times.
The Sachems got their chance towards the end of the period though, when two Chieftain penalties gave them a 25-second 5-on-3.
The visitors fired shots from everywhere on Elmore, but she stood tall, turning away 13 shots in the period.
She also thwarted a pair of breakaway attempts from Winchester captain Maeve Hickey, who wristed two wide-open shots on Elmore, one of which was gloved and the other parried away.