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Salem News article-Dec 31, 2016

Elmore stands tall in goal for Masconomet girls hockey in one-goal setback
By Dan Harrison Staff writer

HAVERHILL — Freshman goalie Molly Elmore did all she could to keep the Masconomet girls hockey team in Saturday’s home game against Archbishop Williams.

But as the Chieftains’ offense struggled to finish off its scoring opportunities, Elmore could only hold off the Bishops for so long.

With the two teams locked in a scoreless tie, Archbishop Williams forward Mackenzie Heath scored through traffic from the high slot six minutes into the third period, lifting the Bishops to a 1-0 victory over the snakebit Chieftains despite a stellar game between the pipes by the ninth grade netminder.

After scoring 29 goals through a 4-0 start, Masconomet has registered just three goals in its last three games. Saturday’s loss was the first time the Chieftains (4-2-1) have been blanked this year.

“We’re playing well, but our shooting opportunities aren’t where they should be. We’re hitting the (opposing) goalie in the chest,” said Masconomet head coach Ryan Sugar. “It’s one of those things where we need to take a split second and look where the shot is going. Once we get those opportunities (to go in), things are going to turn around for us.”

Elmore showed incredible positioning and rebound control to keep the visitors off the scoreboard through two periods, turning aside a handful of Heath’s scoring chances before the Bishop finally found he back of the net.

After winning a puck battle in the corner, Heath circled out to the high slot and sent a wrist shot through the chaos in front of a screened Elmore and into the right side of the cage.

With 29 saves, Elmore has earned the trust and confidence of her teammates despite being a freshman on a group with high playoff aspirations.

“Molly keeps us in the game. Sometimes we have (bad) moments and she’s right there. I trust her with everything,” said junior Riane Vatcher. “She’s the one holding the team down when we need her. She saves everything she can.”

Heath nearly put the Bishops (4-3) ahead in the first period when she walked in from the right side and eyed the 5-hole, but Elmore slammed the pads shut to keep it scoreless. The visitors put a lot of rubber Elmore’s way hoping to bang in a rebound or two, but she was able to gobble up most shots, leaving few second chance opportunities.

Her best stop of the night came in the middle frame when Heath found herself again in the slot, this time trying to use a deke to the left post. But Elmore sprawled out and got the pad there just in time to make the save.

“She’s played great these past few games. She’s stopping pucks and grabbing every rebound,” Sugar said of Elmore. “She reads where the puck is going to be; she knows how to track the puck and how to track the players. She’s quick on the puck. It’s huge, especially as a freshman, when you’re walking into the starting role like that right off the bat.”

Masconomet did have its chances thanks to the relentless play of its top line of co-captain Izzy Sarra, center Sami Kelleher and junior winger Kate Irons. Sarra had a number of chances, only to see them thwarted by Bishop goalie Allison Delmonte (21 saves).

The Chieftains nearly tied the game midway through the final frame when Sarra broke in down the left side, but Delmonte stopped the initial bid and somehow kept the puck out despite Sarra and Irons both jamming for the rebound.

Masconomet will be back in action Wednesday with a road trip to play Brookline/Newton South.

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