WHS Sports Roundup

Lady Vikings fall in tough battle with Peabody in tourney

The Winthrop High girls hockey team battled hard, but came up short by a score of 2-0 to Peabody in the opening round of the MIAA Division 1 state hockey tournament last Wednesday.

The contest was a classic tourney encounter between two evenly matched teams who had met twice during the regular season. The Lady Vikings had seized early leads in both of those previous contests (Peabody victory and a tie), but this time it was the Lady Tanners who grabbed a 1-0 edge in the opening period and took a 2-0 lead after two.

The first period was a back-and-forth battle in which Peabody held the advantage in shots on goal, though Winthrop had the edge in off-zone time. Peabody scored its first goal with just over a minute to go in the period when the Lady Tanners took advantage of a poor line change by Winthrop..

“In the state tourney you have to limit your mistakes, but on their first goal we committed two mistakes on one play,” said WHS head coach Anthony Martucci. “Peabody dumped the puck into our end, and our forwards decided to change up, and then our defense who went back to get the puck did not continue to take the back of the net, and cut back into their forecheck. At that point we were locked in behind our net, and the battle was lost.”

A Lady Tanner pounced and sent a hard, low shot that got past Winthrop goalie Summer Tallent, who had played superbly to that point.

“That goal hurt,” noted Martucci. “It would have been nice to get into the locker room 0-0, but to be down 1-0 after a good period, it hurt.”

The Lady Vikings came out on fire after the break and dominated the second period from start to just about the finish. However, Peabody’s all-conference goalie Abby Buckley was equal to the task, making several, 10-bell saves, especially when Winthrop had the power play.

Once again it was a late mistake that cost Winthrop, resulting in another end-of-the-period goal for Peabody.

 “They were coming out of their end with just over a minute to play in the period, and one of our defenders decided to pinch and got beat, resulting in a two-on-one,” said Martucci. “We took away the pass and gave our goalie the shooter. Their player made a great shot and we went into the third period down 2-0. This was really tough to swallow because we had doubled them in shots in the period, but here we were, now down 2-0 with only 15 minutes left to try to battle back.”

However, the Lady Vikings answered the challenge with a fierce final 15 minutes in which they did everything but score.

“We have a lot of young players — five eighth graders and three freshmen who play key roles — so you never know what that response will be,” noted Martucci. “Our veterans were ready and they did all they could to show the younger group how to respond. Breakaways from our two captains, Abby Stafford and Bella Perrotti, were stifled by Buckley, as were numerous chances from our senior captain, Emma Carleton (who finished her fine career with 97 points), but it was just not to be.”

Winthrop ended up outshooting Peabody, 35-28, but the Lady Vikings could not find the back of the net.

“You always want to win, but I am truly proud of this group,” said Martucci. “They are so young, and they all got some great experience this year playing at this level and in huge roles.

“This is a loss that we will learn from and build on,” continued the coach. “The seniors — our elite eight — really did a great job leading this team and we will miss them greatly. Bella Perrotti and Abby Stafford are two of the best defenseman we have ever had here in this program. They logged ridiculous minutes for us the last two years. Both have been all-conference and all-stars, and both have represented our program in the very special Shriners All Star Classic in Worcester. It is not going to be easy to replace those two, but we have a good core returning in Elle English, Abby Holmes, Brooke Costin, Fallon Hurley, and Casey Petersen.

“Olivia Holmes and Kayla Morrill had incredible seasons for us,” added Martucci. “They may have rode shotgun on the backline with Perrotti and Stafford, but they were equally as important all season long. They both did a tremendous job for this team. They will be missed next year.

“Kirsten Griffiths, Ariana Sarro, and back-up goalie Hayley McSwiney were veteran leaders for this team all year long,” Martucci added. “Kirsten is one of the best kids in the world, always smiling, and is a team player all the way. Ariana returned to hockey after a few years away and she really worked hard to get back up to speed. The girls fed off that and she really helped us with a life lesson on how you can come back strong. Hayley was more than we could ever have asked for in a back-up goalie. She was always a positive source of energy in the room and at practices. For someone who never played hockey before to jump in the net, and end up where she is right now, it was very impressive.”

Martucci also had high praise for captain Emma Carleton. “Emma had one of the best seasons offensively for this program. Since I have been here, only two other girls (Mackenzie Clark and Caroline McKinnon) have had more points in a single season. Emma finished with 19-16-35 and was only three points shy of getting to the century mark for her career, which was especially impressive given that she did not get a lot of playing time in her freshman year.

“Emma was our only returning forward this year with any real varsity experience and she carried us,” added the coach “It was a pretty special thing to watch her elevate her play with each passing game. It was also a little sad because Emma was the last member of her family to come through the program following in the footsteps of her sisters, Abby and Grace, who both played here.

“However, we have many forwards who will be looking to take over with Emma gone next year — Olivia Driscoll, Mia Martucci, Kaiya Rodriguez, Emma and Julia Holmes, Mia Norris, Syd Mignosa, Antea Schlicting, Jenna Dorr, Jenna Lindinger, Lily Tallent, and Maddy Deeran all return next year up-front,” said Martucci.

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