PEABODY — The Peabody girls hockey team put together a strong defensive effort and held on for a 3-2 win over Winthrop Saturday at James McVann- Louis O’Keefe Rink.
The win marks the first time the Tanners have defeated Winthrop in program history.
“This is a huge win for us,” Peabody coach Michelle Roach said. “This puts us in a good spot in the league right now. We have a very tight league and I think these kids were looking for some revenge for some late goals we had given up in other games. They came to play and I’m so proud of the way they played today.”
Sammie Mirasolo led the Tanners with two goals. Roach was happy to see Peabody make some good decisions on defense and adjust well to recent line changes.
“We changed the lines a bit,” Roach said. “We evened some stuff out and we made some changes so Sammie is now with Maria Pierce and Paige Thibedeau. That’s a new look for them. We just wanted to get a different look at our lines and what we are doing and this really payed off today.
“I think this was the game that she looked most like herself,” Roach added of Mirasolo. “We moved her off center and put her at wing. Also the defense made great choices on when to use the shooting lane and when to dump it deep.”
Several key mistakes came back to haunt the Vikings, who lost for the first time this season.
“We had two breakdowns,” Winthrop coach Anthony Martucci said. “One on a power play with a tough bounce and then on the second goal we had a wing sink too low and miss an assignment. If you make mistakes against decent teams they’re going to put the puck in the net.
“We can take away a lot from this game,” Martucci added. “We have to execute better. We definitely need to get to the net a little bit better. It’s something we are working on, we are young and we can definitely take a lot away from today.”
Winthrop struck first in the opening period. Kaiya Rodriguez dished a pass to a wide open Julia Holmes in front of the net, and the eighth-grader finished the play with a goal on a wrist shot to put the Vikings ahead 1-0.
A few minutes later, the Tanners responded when Reilly Ganter ripped a shot from the point and, after a battle for the puck out front, Jenn Flynn finished a rebound to tie the game at 1-1.
Later in the period, Winthrop was called for a slash that helped set up Peabody’s second goal. The Tanners controlled possession for much of the power play and just as the penalty was killed Mirasolo scored on another rebound to put Peabody ahead 2-1.
Midway through the second period it looked like the Vikings had a chance at tying the game with a man advantage. However, Mirasolo showcased her speed, catching up to a puck chipped out of her own zone to set up a breakaway goal to give Peabody a 3-1 lead.
“It was absolutely fantastic,” Roach said of the play. “This is a fantastic team and the coaching staff continuingly tells them that. They need to play like they are capable of and today they really flexed what we have in terms of skill and depth. I couldn’t be happier.”
Winthrop responded when Holmes finished an odd-man rush with a goal, but Peabody’s defense held strong in the third period and the Tanners closed out their fifth win.
“We played the whole 45 minutes and we played really tough at the end there,” Roach said. “We are a really defensively-structured team so opportunities like that where we can shorten the bench and close it in are good.”
The Tanners (5-1-1) have a week off before hosting Medford Saturday. Winthrop (4-1) has a home-and-away series with Watertown Monday and Wednesday.