The Shawsheen/Bedford High School Girls’ Varsity Hockey team concluded a remarkable turnaround season on Wednesday, falling 4-1 to Peabody/Lynnfield/North Reading in the first round of the MIAA Division 1 Girls’ Hockey Tournament.
Despite keeping the Peabody lead to only one goal for the better half of the game, diligent goaltending by Shawsheen’s Elianna Munroe, skilled defensive steals from Shawsheen senior Captain Kelsey Giordano, unrelenting backchecking by BucTech offense, Shawsheen’s Alexis Fox’s unassisted goal to bring BucTech within 1 goal in the third period, and an impressive five-on-three penalty kill a few minutes later, Shawsheen/Bedford (#23 in the division power ranking) could not overcome the strength of the Peabody lineup (#7 in power rankings).
There is much to applaud for the Shawsheen/Bedford 2022-2023 season.
Head Coach Kate O’Shea was “beyond thrilled for how this season went.” She said after the game, “We went from the team that others showed up to play us as an easy win mindset to the team that they weren’t sure how the outcome would be.”
“Coming off last season’s 1-19 record, it was amazing to finish this year 10-10, to have the second best winning season in Shawsheen/Bedford history, and make the playoffs for only the second time.”
The Shawsheen/Bedford roster suffered heavily from injuries for the entire season, having around six players on the disabled list for most of the season. Games throughout January and February were played testing the endurance of 9 or 10 available skaters.
“Despite all the injuries we encountered, the girls proved game-after-game that they had what it took to hold the team together,” the coach said.
The team ended up with two athletes named All-Stars – Shawsheen junior Alternate Captain Paige Fuller, and Bedford 8th grader Becca Sobel. Sobel led the team with 20 goals and 11 assists on the season. Bedford 8th grader Sophia Demeo was second on team points with 10 goals and 15 assists. And Fuller followed with 9 goals and 8 assists.
O’Shea said, “We had some major scoring this year putting up five-plus goals in quite a few games from a number of different players.”
Indeed, more than half of their games had more than one BucTech athlete scoring, and three quarters of the games had more than one player getting an assist. One third of the team’s competitions had three or more different players hitting the back of the net.
A 9-3 victory over Wakefield in January saw goals from six different players – Sobel, Demeo, Fox, Fuller, Bedford eighth grader Olivia O’Brien, and Bedford Junior Alternate Captain Anna McEachern. Nearly every player on the roster had at least one assist throughout the season, including those who spent most of the season injured.
The three Bedford eighth graders that play primarily on the offensive line all walked away with hattricks in their rookie season. Violet Lorusso earned one, and Sobel and Demeo each had two (including a five-goal game for Demeo in a 7-5 win over Melrose in January).
And the offense held up with no small effort from the defense. Monroe played every game in goal, spending much of the season with returning veteran defenders on the disabled list and only three or four defenders for the rotation, including the rookie O’Brien.
Shawsheen/Bedford is a collaborative team between Shawsheen Valley Technical High School and Bedford High School. Each school contributes players from their student base to field a team. Bedford contributed six players this year, eighth graders Sobel, Demeo, Lorusso, and O’Brien, and juniors McEachern and Healy Wiesman. BucTech graduates two seniors this year that will be missed on the ice (Christina Tsoukalas and Giordano). But Coach O’Shea can already see ahead, saying “After the success of this season, next year is already exciting as we look forward and continue to build.”