The Shawsheen/Bedford varsity girls’ hockey squad fell to a strong Winthrop team on Saturday night at the Edge, 6-2.
Winthrop won the initial faceoff, chipping the puck into the Shawsheen/Bedford Rams defensive zone. Players banged the puck around for a few seconds looking to establish control before it ended up on the stick of Rams’ center Sophia Demeo in front of the net.
Demeo took the puck to the outside boards, skated just into the neutral zone, and passed cross-ice to Alexis Fox at the red line. Fox skated with the puck to the goal line before cutting in to take a shot at the pads of Winthrop tender Riley Towse.
Demeo and a trailing Viking defender were crashing towards the crease to catch the rebound. Amongst the muck, the puck landed at the back of the net just 26 seconds in the game. Fox was credited with the goal, and Demeo and Anna McEachern were credited with assists.
Having the lead against reigning league champion Winthrop didn’t last long, but it was a fun way to start off a game for the Rams, 7-5 this season, and currently ranked 25th in MIAA Division 1 girls’ hockey. Winthrop is 7-2-2 so far this season, coming off an undefeated 2022-2023 regular season last year, winning the Northeastern Hockey League conference championship and is currently sitting as 5th in this week’s MIAA power-ranking.
The Vikings played hard with a strong defensive line – a defense that was knocking opponents down for the entire game in front of the net and ever a threat for a strong slap shots from the blue line on the other end of the ice.
The Rams played hard for the entire game, but could not find a groove against the Vikings. The Shawsheen/Bedford defense struggled and was not helped by losing a key defensive player midgame due to injury.
Winthrop tied up the score at one on a powerplay goal by Angela Coscia a little over five minutes into the game, followed by two snipes over the shoulder of Rams’ tender Elise McEachern around a minute apart – one from Izzy Cash from the outside and the other from Talia Martucci in front of the net. It was 3-1 going into the first intermission.
Through the second and third periods, Winthrop was called on six minor penalties – three by Amelia Spencer, one bench penalty for too many players on the ice, and an unsportsmanlike conduct call against Adrianna Rizzotto.
With the player advantage, Becca Sobol and Sophia Demeo rifled in shots and got clean passes to teammates in the front of the net, but the Winthrop defense was impenetrable with at least two players at all times locking down (and knocking down) all angles of real estate within five feet of Towse. The Rams did not convert any player advantages including around a minute with a five-on-three advantage.
Meanwhile, Winthrop scored shorthanded goals, including a heads-up hustle play in the second period where Hannah Parker raced after a loose puck that a Rams defender failed to pick up. Parker was in a two-on-one heading into the Shawsheen/Bedford defensive and bold went right down the center, split the defenders, and lifted the puck over Elise McEachern’s glove about 10 feet out for a nice-looking goal.
Chloe Couture also scored for Winthrop in the second. It was 5-1 going into the second intermission.
Both teams added one in the third. The Vikings scored with Talia Martucci adding her second tally in the game on another shorthanded net.
Shawsheen/Bedford scored when Olivia O’Brien intercepted a Winthrop attempt to clear the puck out of the defensive zone and passed to Demeo in front of the net. Demeo took a shot that was blocked by Towse’s leg pads and deflected to the left of the goal where Becca Sobol knocked in the rebound for a 6-2 game final.
Play ended with a minute and a half left in the game in a scary moment when Rizzotto and a Rams’ defender were racing for the puck, and the Rams defender landed headfirst into the boards. After a few minutes of play stoppage, the player was able to get up and leave the ice with assistance from the trainer. The refs called the game and let the clock run out while players shook hands.
In better news, the Rams took a big come-from-behind victory over Beverly midweek with goals from Sobol, Fox, Leah Hanafin, and Violet Lorusso, and assists by Lorusso, Demeo, and Macy Savage. Elise McEachern was credited with the win in net.
The Rams can use this week to recover before their next game on Saturday with 6th ranked Peabody (10-1).
Shawsheen/Bedford hockey will celebrate Senior Night when they host Wakefield at 7:20 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 5 at the Edge.