WHS Girls Hockey Knock Off Peabody, 3–1

The Winthrop High girls hockey team won Round One of their battle with Peabody for supremacy in the Northeastern Hockey League (NHL) with a 3-1 victory last Wednesday before a big crowd at Larsen Rink.

The Lady Vikings entered the contest with a 3-0 record and a #5 ranking in the polls, while the Lady Tanners came in with a 4-1 mark and a #7 ranking, their lone blemish coming at the hands of #1 St. Mary’s of Lynn by a close score of 2-0.

“This was a war of attrition between two Division 1 girls’ top-10 teams,” said WHS head coach Anthony Martucci. “It was a three-period heavyweight fight, with very few jabs, but a lot of power punches being exchanged.”

Peabody threw the first haymaker, drawing blood in the opening period when the Lady Tanners found the back of the Winthrop net on the third of their three power plays in the first 15 minutes.

“Peabody came out of the gates on fire,” said Martucci. “We took some time to adjust to a team that could match us speed-wise, and I think that was a little surprising to our girls. We were definitely the more physical in the period, but that led to Peabody getting three power play chances.”

Peabody’s Ava Buckley ripped a shot that handcuffed Lady Viking star freshman goaltender Riley Towse to give Peabody the 1-0 lead going into the second period.

However, that would prove to be the apogee of the Lady Tanners’ visit to Larsen for the evening.

Senior captain Abby Holmes brought the game back to level early in the middle period when she rocketed a missile into the back of the Lady Tanner net on a power play.

“It was just a beautiful shot off the stick of one of our captains and a veteran leader for our team,” noted Martucci.

With the momentum now in their favor, the Lady Vikings wasted no time in forging ahead, scoring a goal on their next shift. The forward line trio of Talia Martucci, Sami DiMento, and Izzy Cash pressed Peabody in the Lady Tanners’ end, with Cash cashing in for the go-ahead goal that would prove to be the eventual game-winner.

“Bones (Cash’s nickname) got the puck and made a great decision to attack the net hard for a wrap goal,” said Martucci. “It was just a great offensive play by a very dangerous offensive player.”

Cash’s tally further ignited the big and boisterous hometown crowd, who lit Larsen on fire.

“Our home crowd, which was awesome the entire game, loud and amped up, went crazy when Bones put that one in,” added Martucci.

“After that first period, Peabody seemed to tire,” said Martucci. “We were the ones who came out flying. We just got stronger and faster and Peabody took the penalties.”

With the Lady Vikings holding a slim one-goal lead entering the final period, they continued to press their advantage.

Winthrop once again took advantage of a power play opportunity, with Emma Holmes potting the insurance goal, giving Emma her 99th career point. Fittingly, Emma was assisted by sister Julia, who also is nearing the 100-point mark.

“It is amazing to have a 100-point scorer on your team, but to have two players on the verge of reaching it in the same season is crazy,” Martucci continued. “Tack on the fact that they are sisters makes it that much more awesome, and two of three triplets. You could not write a better script.”

Holmes’s tally sent the Larsen faithful into orbit for their heroes and the Lady Vikings never looked back.

“That third period was a battle, but once again our speed and conditioning played a part in the end result,” said Martucci, “That, and some ridiculous goaltending play from Riley Towse. Riley spent an entire season last year playing behind uber-star goalie Summer Tallent and she learned a lot about how to be a good pro from Summer.

“Riley put in a lot of hard work this off-season, knowing it was her net now, and it has really made the difference. She has been legit incredible so far for us,” Martucci added.

“This was a team win,” Martucci continued. “We pride ourselves on having each other’s backs, and being not just a team, but a family. Through veteran leadership from our four captains, Mia Norris and the Holmes triplets (Abby, Emma, and Julia), we have taken on a real family bond together.

“I have to note that our defense was unreal in this one. Top to bottom they all were outstanding. Abby Holmes, Adrianna Rizzotto, Amelia Spencer, Izi Hain, Avalina Coffey, Tegan Pereira, and Mia Currier all played with heart, desire, and pride.

“We also cannot forget the player who makes sure our defense gets onto the ice smoothly,” noted Martucci. “Back-up goalie Hannah Barrett was once again a gate god for us, opening the defense door flawlessly all game long.

“Two juniors who have had a huge impact on the team’s success are Sami Dimento and Hanna Parker,” Martucci added. “They are best friends both on and off the ice and that chemistry shows up anytime they are on the ice together, especially in penalty-killing situations. They have played fantastic hockey for us.

“I also want to mention the play of our ‘grind line,’ led by freshman center Reese Ferrara who is morphing into a phenomenal three-zone player,” continued the coach. “She is flanked by Gabby Buonapane, a feisty sophomore winger, who can flat-out fly, and Izzy Cash, a sophomore who has a ton of offensive gifts. Mixing into that group is Chloe Couture, a tremendous skater who has a nose for the net and great skills. This line has really been big for us.

“Peabody is a great team,” said Martucci. “They are fast and they have a bunch of weapons. We will need to bring it when we play them in their barn.”

The rematch between the two rivals is set for February 1.

In the meantime, Martucci and his crew have a busy week ahead with four games in eight days. They were set to travel to NHL rival Medford yesterday (Wednesday) and will make the long journey to the Haverhill Forum Saturday afternoon to take on NHL foe Masconomet at 1:30.

They will return home to host non-league opponent Acton-Boxboro on Monday and will entertain Masconomet in a return match on Wednesday. The opening face-off for both of those contests at Larsen is set to drop at 6:10.

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