MEDFORD — The Bishop Fenwick girls hockey team came into Wednesday evening’s game against Medford looking for points as the Crusaders make a late-season push for a state tournament berth. The Mustangs, celebrating their senior night, had other plans.
Medford ran out to a 2-0 lead and never looked back, downing Fenwick, 4-2, at LoConte Memorial Rink.
Fenwick junior forward Lexi McNeil scored both goals for the Crusaders. Sophomore goalie Cailyn Wesley made 32 saves.
For Medford, junior forward Brenna Forbes scored two key goals in the third period to help ice the win. Freshman forward Elizabeth Lazzaro and junior defender Abigail Vigliotte each scored one goal.
“We’ve lost three or four one-goal games and we have trouble putting them away,” Crusaders coach Doug Anderson said. “The effort was terrific tonight. Lexi scored two goals but we need more than just one line.”
Now at 7-8-2 on the season, Fenwick needs to come away with four points to get into the state tournament with three games remaining on its regular season schedule.
“We were trying to get something out of this game because we need four points to make the tournament,” Anderson said. “Now we have to get four out of six instead of four out of eight. We have some tough games next week against Peabody, Auburn and Wilmington. We have a good chance to get into the tournament but we have to finish.”
The Mustangs wasted no time testing Fenwick’s defense. Medford set the tone in the early going with an unassisted goal from Lazzaro just 54 seconds into the game. And with 3:20 to play in the first period, Vigliotte added another Mustangs goal to boost Medford’s lead up to 2-0. Fenwick capped the opening period with a much-needed goal from McNeil to get the Crusaders on the board with 40 seconds remaining. After one, the Mustangs led 2-1.
Both offensive units cooled off in a second period that turned into a gutsy defensive battle. Fenwick had a handful of good looks at the net but Medford junior goalie Terrell Pesatoro stood tall in net. Fenwick was assessed two penalties towards the end of the period, skating on the wrong side of a 5-on-3 for nearly a minute. The Crusaders didn’t allow Medford to convert on the opportunities. The Mustangs held on to their 2-1 edge at the second intermission.
“I thought we played great in the second period but we took two penalties and that took the momentum away,” Anderson said. “We had some momentum going. In the third period we just never could. We had chances but we have trouble scoring. Three girls have scored the bulk of our goals.
“Medford’s goalie (Pesatoro) made some big saves,” Anderson added. “She made the big saves when she had to.”
The Crusaders looked for the game-tying goal in the third period but a combination of penalties and a stingy Medford defense kept them at bay. Fenwick dodged a bullet when a shot from Vigliotte hit the top crossbar and ricocheted away from the net midway through the period. With 1:18 left in the game, Forbes found the back of the net to put Fenwick in a 3-1 deficit.
Showing no quit, McNeil gave the Crusaders life when she scored her second goal of the game with 28.0 seconds remaining. Medford’s Forbes sealed the win with an empty-netter 12 seconds later, capping the 4-2 victory.
Fenwick will aim to bounce back with a win Monday morning (11) when the Crusaders battle Peabody in the Carlin Cup.
“I liked the desire and the cohesiveness,” Anderson said. “The girls stayed together and they believed in themselves. It’s too bad that we couldn’t get another goal on the scoreboard but we’ll take a positive from the effort and that’s what we’ll do going into the Carlin Cup on Monday. We’ll be prepared for that one.”