The Shawsheen/Bedford girls’ varsity hockey team celebrated the organization’s four Class of 2024 athletes in a ceremony on Monday night at the Edge.
Healy Weisman, Anna McEachern, Alexis Fox, and Elianna Munroe and their families received acknowledgment on the ice in front of a large, but quiet crowd prior to the Rams (7-6) faceoff against the Wakefield Memorial High School Warriors (1-11-1). Visiting team seniors received flowers and recognition as well.
It was a great pregame for the Rams, however thirty seconds into playing time, Wakefield wing Molly Burns passed the puck out of the Warriors’ defensive zone to talented Wakefield sophomore Rory McNeill at the blue line. McNeill drove into the Ram’s defensive zone and got caught in the corner before flicking the puck in the direction of the Ram’s goal. The puck took an unexpected rebound off a Shawsheen/Bedford goalie skate and went in the net to put Wakefield up 1-0 less than a minute into the contest.
The Rams were not deterred and their offensive efforts began to draw penalties from the Wakefield defense. A pair of Wakefield minors within a minute left Shawsheen/Bedford with a five-on-three advantage in the first period. Seconds after the clock cut the advantage to five-on-four, but still on the power play, Sophia Demeo connected a pass to an open Becca Sobol 10 feet in front of the right side of the goal. Sobol shot a snipe to the top corner of the net past Warriors keeper Julia Welch for Sobol’s first point of the game, tying up the score at one apiece.
Burns-to-McNeill goals, Wakefield penalties, and Sobol scoring repeated in this game. Some more times than others.
With just under five minutes left in the first period, Wakefield was on a solid offensive campaign that was cleared out of zone by Rams’ defense, and brought back on an icing call. McNeill won the faceoff, passing the puck back to Warrior defender Maddie DeFeo, who made a quick pass to Burns in the center of the attacking zone. Burns passed to McNeill cutting towards the middle of the ice. McNeill one-timed a shot past Munroe to put Wakefield up 2-1 heading into the first intermission.
Shawsheen/Bedford head coach Mike Giordano said his players “didn’t panic when they found themselves down by two. They found a way.”
In the second period, Sobol created a sequence by carrying the puck into the offensive end, and after shots, scrambles, and rebounds, got the puck in the back of the net to tie the game at two. Corrinne Foley was credited with the assist.
Wakefield landed in the penalty box three times in the second period. On the third power play of the period, with a minute left on the clock in the second frame, Kayah Maloney passed from the corner of the offensive zone to McEachern in front of the goal. McEachern was double-teamed by Warriors defense, but managed to poke the puck out of the scrum to Fox who made a quick turnaround shot to put the Rams up by one.
Fox continued to help the Rams’ offensive efforts in the third, earning an assist on a Violet Lorusso goal, and a few minutes later drawing a penalty that would lead to a second Rams’ power play goal (Sobol from Lorusso) putting the home team up 5-2.
Sobol earned her fourth goal of the night on a rebound off of a Demeo shot with 7:44 left on the clock.
Wakefield continued to play with passing and scoring opportunities thwarted by Weisman, and the rest of the Rams blueliners (Foley, Maloney, Macy Savage, and Olivia O’Brien). Munroe stayed clean through the second and third periods, even using the skate that tipped in the first goal of the night, to kick out and block a power-play shot in the third.
Giordano credited the 6-2 comeback to the resilience and persistence of the athletes – and also to some heavy conditioning and skills work during the week prior to the game. The coach gave props to the seniors on the team.
“This group of seniors is really great. They aren’t just showing up for themselves, but they are truly there to support the entire team of players.”
Senior captain Anna McEachern, who started playing with Shawsheen/Bedford as an eighth grade student at John Glenn Middle School said, “My coaches and teammates put on a great senior night, I’m so grateful I got to be a part of the team for the past five years.”
There are five games left on the regular season schedule. The Rams are currently 28th in this morning’s MIAA power ranking. The top 32 teams automatically qualifying for the state tournament.
The Rams take on Newburyport (3-10) at Janas Memorial Rink in Lowell on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m., and travel to Salem State University to take on Marblehead (2-12-1) at 5 p.m. on Saturday.