PEABODY— Anytime the Peabody girls hockey team takes the ice against Masconomet, the Tanners know they’re in for a battle.
That was the theme of Wednesday evening’s game between the Tanners and Chieftains at McVann/O’Keefe rink. Peabody junior goalie Abby Buckley was on her A game with 35 saves and sophomore forward Sammie Mirasolo scored two goals but Masconomet did just enough to walk away with a 3-2 win.
“Masconomet’s a top 10 team,” Peabody coach Michelle Roach said. “They play really well. I think our effort was definitely there tonight, we really took it to them. Unfortunately we weren’t able to pop one more into the net but to go 3-2 with a top team, that’s really good.”
Junior forward Cassie Mirasolo and sophomore defenseman Carolyn Garofoli each dished an assist for the Tanners.
A pair of senior forwards led the way for the Chieftains as Sami Kelleher scored two goals and Lexi Rosenbaum added one.
The first period set the stage for the battle both teams were expecting. After a quiet start to the period, Masconomet’s Rosenbaum powered down the ice for a clean one-on-one look at Peabody’s Buckley. Rosenbaum flicked a shot past Buckley for the 1-0 Masconomet lead with 5:36 on the clock.
It only took seven seconds for Peabody to respond. Sammie Mirasolo fired a shot into the back of the net (assist from Cassie Mirasolo) after the ensuing face-off, knotting the score at 1-1. That’s where it stayed at the end of the first period.
“That’s one thing we stress on the team, that response,” Roach said. “If we allow a goal or make a bad change, how do we respond and not let that affect the rest of the period? That was a huge goal, to be able to close that period 1-1.”
Masconomet reclaimed the lead when Kelleher found the back of the net with 4:10 remaining in the second period. To Peabody’s credit, the Tanners penalty kill unit stepped up to deny the Chieftains twice in power play opportunities.
Buckley was tested often in the second period, yet the netminder stood tall in net to keep Peabody within striking distance. The Tanners trailed 2-1 after two periods.
“Abby’s crucial to our game,” Roach said. “She really sets the tone for our team. Sometimes I don’t know how she makes the saves she makes. She’ll have two players in front of her and somehow she comes up with the puck. She really sets the play for us and we go from there.
“I think we let down a little bit in the second period,” Roach added. “Abby really helped us bring our tempo back up.”
Masconomet extended its lead to 3-1 with 10:41 to play in the third period when Kelleher scored her second goal of the game. With Peabody needing a goal to get back into the game, Sammie Mirasolo notched her second of the evening, this time a shorthanded one, with 6:30 remaining to slice the deficit in half at 3-2 (assist from Garofoli).
“It was a shorthanded goal,” Roach said. “That extra effort was great to see. We don’t give up until the clock strikes and we really stress that. I thought the effort from the team tonight was fantastic. We would’ve loved to have walked away with the two points but we saw a lot of good things tonight.”
The Tanners threatened on a handful of occasions in the closing minutes but Masconomet kept the Peabody offense at bay and held on for the 3-2 win.
Peabody’s back on the ice Saturday afternoon (12) when the Tanners host Marshfield.
“The number one thing for us to improve is getting shots to the net,” Roach said. “We have to put more shots on the net. I don’t think we’re getting enough and that’s hurting us because when we are getting shots to the net, they’re going in. One thing I really like is how we respond. When we get down, we pick it up. We’ve been working on that and it was great to see.”