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Salem News article highlights Masco girls

See 1/14/16 article
Kick Saves: Masconomet girls looking to turn corner as they hit their stride
Kick Saves Matt Williams | Posted: Thursday, January 14, 2016 12:00 am

Kick Saves: Masconomet girls looking to turn corner as they hit their stride
BRYAN EATON/Staff Photo. Masconomet’s Izzy Sarra, a Newburyport native, vies for the puck with a Marblehead player.
HAVERHILL — Admittedly, it’s been a glass half-full and glass half-empty kind of season so far for the Masconomet co-op girls hockey team.
Through a little less than half their season, the Chieftains have enjoyed some great wins, some tough losses and a couple of close calls that could’ve turned into victories.
Among the Chieftains, there’s no question that the team has the ability to make that glass overflow by the end of the season.
Now 4-3-1 overall, Masco’s co-op (which includes Newburyport, Triton, Georgetown and Amesbury) is heading into a crucial stretch beginning with Saturday’s trip to Northeast Hockey League rival Winthrop. The Chieftains seemed to be rounding into form with a three-game unbeaten streak before a hiccup in a 3-2 loss to Shrewsbury Monday in which they gave up the game-winning goal in the final minute.
“We’ve been better lately,” said Masco coach Ryan Wood, in his second year on the Chieftain bench. “The Christmas break wasn’t great for us, schedule wise, and we came out a little flat after that. The efforts in the last few games have been much better and more consistent.”
In Wood’s first season, Masco made the Division 1 tournament and was a stingy defensive team. With seniors Meghan Hubbard and Sydney Shreenin and junior Madi Brooke returning to anchor the rear guard, Masco’s been excellent in their own end for much of this season as well.
On top of that prowess, they’ve committed to developing an attack mentality in the middle of the ice and inside the offensive zone.
“We have a mindset that we’re not just going to rest on our laurels. We want to push the envelope and really get going inside the offensive end,” said Wood. “Last year, a 2-1 kind of game was our game. This year, with the talented forwards we have, we want to push it and try not to be as tight.”
Junior Izzy Sarra has been the primary beneficiary of that philosophy. Her 11 goals on the season have already matched the total from her sophomore season, which was tied for Masco’s team-high in 2014-15. She’s also second on the North Shore in goals so far this season.
“Izzy is the kind of player that can really dictate a game in the offensive end,” said Wood. “She’s strong on the puck, she’s a strong skater — she’s really talented in every facet. She’s tough to deal with because of that mix; if you try to stick check her she can go around that.”
Senior Maddy Werner also had 11 goals a year ago and with three this season could go on a scoring binge at any moment. Sophomores Kate Irons, Charisse Flanagan and Lexi Rosenbaum have also been strong options up front while building on their freshman seasons.
Sami Kelleher (”Great on the forecheck, an absolute puck hound,” Wood said) gives the Chieftains needed depth, along with freshman Abby Gendron and senior co-captain Nell Criscione.
All that strength up front doesn’t mean the Chieftains have forgotten about defense. It’s quite the opposite, with senior goalie Andraya Ferraro allowing only 2.38 goals per game in her first season as the full-time starter. Sophomore Riane Vatcher is fitting in quite well with Hubbard, Shreenin and Brooke.
“They know what they’re doing back there and they’ve done a great job,” said Wood. “It’s a great luxury to have to know we can depend on them.”
The Chieftains are 4-1 in league play, only a game behind Beverly (unbeaten in league play). If they top Winthrop this weekend, they’d be alone in second place heading into the second half. After a non-leaguer against Needham on Monday, Masco then faces Beverly for the second time on Saturday, Jan. 23.
There’d be no better time than now for Masconomet to put it all together, something they’ve shown the talent and grit to do.


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