The Shawsheen/Bedford girls’ varsity hockey team took on Peabody-Lynnfield-North Reading (PLNR) in the BucTech home opener at the Edge Sports Center on Saturday.
The strong co-op team from the North Shore posted a 4-1 win over the home team made up of athletes from Bedford High School and Shawsheen Valley Technical High School.
Shawsheen/Bedford head coach Mike Giordano reported the “girls played hard and the crowd was an awesome support for the team.”
Shawsheen/Bedford went 10-11 last season with the second-best record in the team’s history, qualifying for the MIAA State Division 1 post-season tournament (for only the second time in team history) before falling, coincidentally, 4-1 to PLNR.
On Saturday, PLNR scored first late in the first period, followed by a quick second-period goal on Bedford goaltender, eighth grader Elise McEachern.
Midway through the second period, the BucTech tender’s older sister, Bedford senior Captain Anna McEachern, cleared the puck out of the defensive zone and connected with Bedford freshman Becca Sobol. Sobol outskated the PLNR defense and finished the fast break and got the puck past PLNR goaltender Alyse Mutti to bring the score within one. But PLNR went on to score again before the end of the second period and one more time in the third frame for the victory.
Shawsheen/Bedford’s 2023-2024 season kicked off on the road last week with a 6-0 loss to Winthrop, another strong Elite 8 team from last year’s state tournament. BucTech continues its start to the Northeastern Hockey League season with a strong schedule, traveling to play Newburyport at 5 p.m. on Wednesday at Henry Graf Skating Rink.
Giordano explained, “We are a young team. Offensively, we can get scoring from all three lines. Defensively, we have three returning players that will lock down other teams’ offense.”
BucTech is indeed a young team. Of the 21 athletes (11 returning players and 10 newcomers), 13 are freshman or eighth-grade students. Members of the coaching staff, too, are in their inaugural seasons. Giordano is in his first season as head coach of the Shawsheen/Bedford team, moving up from an assistant role in the past and is joined by assistant coach Steve Hunt. The plan ahead for Giordano: “We will rely on a good work ethic and our skills to control the puck.”