Despite Marblehead’s (2-6) eighth-grade goalie Liv Doucette catching eyes with desperation dives and glove saves, the Peabody-Lynnfield-North Reading girls hockey team (6-2) escaped with a 3-0 win at the James McVann – Louis O’Keefe Memorial Rink on Saturday evening.
PLNR dominated time of possession, but as if she was a veteran between the pipes, Marblehead played to the end behind Doucette’s 34 saves.
“We never gave up – even though we were losing,” Doucette said. “My defense did a good job pushing people out so I could see the puck when it was being shot.”
The Marblehead faithful applauded her effort on her last save of the game, and PLNR head coach Michelle Roach even said she “can’t say enough good things” about Doucette’s performance.
“It was absolutely tremendous; she had a fantastic game and did a really good job at keeping us off the scoreboard,” Roach said.
But, in the end, PLNR’s size, long strides, and ability to keep possession in the offensive zone was too much for Marblehead.
Roach said there was great puck movement to “set the pace for the game” in the first period, one she called “the strongest first period we’ve played all season.”
The first of two goals in the period came from sophomore forward Ava Buckley who fired an unassisted snapshot into the top-left corner of the net to put PLNR up 1-0.
“The first goal was great,” Roach said. “She [Buckley] took the first initial shot, the puck came out, and she was able to pot it the second time.”
Roach said “we always try to score early,” and Saturday, her team listened. Off a beautiful pass from captain Jenna DiNapoli, junior Catie Kampersal connected on a one-timer from the left side of the ice to put PLNR up 2-0 .
“It shows, to me, the play of a more mature club,” Roach said.
The second period ended with the same 2-0 score. Marblehead head coach Brittany Smith said her team had rarely put together a full game this season, and was proud to see its spirit.
“We finally put 45 minutes together and I was really proud of my team to see that,” Smith said. “I think we fought until the end.”
The second period was highlighted by Doucette doing what she does best: frustrate the opposition. On nearly back-to-back-to-back PLNR chances, Doucette slid to protect the left post on a shot, recorded a glove save a minute later, and dove right-to-left to stop a rebound chance after that.
“She’s [Doucette] a really good skater; she can slide across the ice,” Smith said.
PLNR found its insurance with 30.5 seconds remaining in the third. Hannah Gromko sniped from inside the left faceoff dot to beat Doucette. The final score favored PLNR 3-0.
“I was very happy with the way our team played,” Roach said.
“It was a 3-0 game, but I don’t think the score necessarily reflects how hard the girls played,” Smith said.
Marblehead takes on Gloucester Thursday at the Salem State O’Keefe Center with puck-drop set for 8 p.m.