When asked about the Shawsheen Bedford Girls’ Varsity Hockey season Head Coach Kate O’Shea said, “We’re having a great season. It’s nice to see the girls showing up day after day, working hard to stay in the win column despite the short bench we’ve had due to injuries all year.”
Monday’s game against Beverly High School was representative of O’Shea’s assessment of the season: hard work, a short bench, and another win.
BucTech, a collaboration between Bedford High School and Shawsheen Valley Technical High School, has had only nine athletes skating in any game since the second week in January.
Still, Shawsheen Bedford took home a 4-2 win on Monday afternoon at the Edge Sports Center in Bedford in the penultimate game of the regular season.
Two minutes and 53 seconds into the game, shortly after matching slashing calls sent a player from each team to the penalty box, BucTech Captain and Shawsheen Senior defender Kelsey Giordano passed the puck out of traffic in the defensive zone to the Bedford center – eighth grader Violet Lorusso. Lorusso received the pass at the defensive blue line, drove to the goal with two defenders in pursuit, and was able to hit the back of the net for the first goal of the game.
Shortly after Lorusso’s goal, BucTech controlled the puck on the offensive end for a solid two minutes of passing and scoring opportunities. Bedford eighth grade defender Olivia O’Brien hit a shot off the top cross bar, and Bedford junior and Alternate Captain Anna McEachern had another deflect off the pipes, but BucTech would have to wait to score again.
Much of Monday’s game was spent trading possession end-to-end, testing the endurance of the eight skaters utilized by O’Shea. Six minutes into the first period, Beverly wore down the Shawsheen/Bedford defense with a spectacularly-placed shot over the stick side shoulder of Shawsheen Goalie Elianna Munroe to tie the score.
With 42 seconds left in the opening period, Shawsheen wing Alexis Fox was sent to the box for a hooking penalty in front of the offensive net. BucTech, utilizing only three defenders the entire game (Giordano, O’Brien, and Shawsheen student Macy Savage), held the Panthers’ power play at bay into the second period.
Beverly couldn’t say the same. After a Panthers’ check penalty gave BucTech a player advantage, it didn’t take long for Bedford’s Becca Sobol to score off of a Lorusso pass from behind the net.
Munroe showed off her flexibility and agility by protecting the BucTech goal in the second period with split saves, butterfly saves, and dives to cover the puck and help keep the Panthers scoreless in the middle frame.
With two minutes left in the second period, Shawsheen Alternate Captain Paige Fuller got tangled up with a Beverly player. Literally. Their helmets became attached during a faceoff and a whistle stopped the clock in order to separate the athletes. Play resumed quickly after confusion and laughter and without injury to either player.
Just under five minutes into the third period, Shawsheen/Bedford failed to clear the puck from the defensive end one too many times and the Beverly offense knocked in a goal to tie the game at two.
Fox answered a minute later, receiving the puck from O’Brien in the defensive zone and converting a breakaway into a 3-2 BucTech lead.
With eight minutes left in the contest, Beverly received a four-minute double minor penalty (checking and unsportsmanlike conduct). BucTech strategically ran down the player advantage to 13 seconds left on the penalty clock when Sobol scored from a Giordano pass to raise the home team tally to four goals.
A Beverly timeout was called after the goal, but the regrouping didn’t save them. A minute later, they received a bench penalty for too many players on the ice. BucTech would hold the Panthers to two goals total even after Beverly spent the last minute and a half of the game with a pulled goalie.
Shawsheen/Bedford next plays in Gloucester at 4 p.m. on Wednesday for the final game of the regular season. Coach O’Shea is “looking to finish strong as we prepare for the first round of playoffs for only the second time in Shawsheen history.”
Final seedings for the MIAA Division 1 playoff are expected to be released on Saturday with the first round game anticipated on March 1 or 2.