Marblehead girls hockey falls one goal short in season finale

MEDFORD — The Marblehead girls hockey team’s season came to a close Wednesday night with a 1-0 loss to Melrose at Flynn Rink.

Despite the loss, first-year coach Marisa Maccario was happy with the Magicians effort, finishing the season at 5-15 against a good Melrose team.

“I only heard very good things about Melrose and we saw that they are a very good team,” Maccario said. “To be able to hold them to a 1-0 game is huge for us.”

Senior goalie Grace Bertagna finished her career in net for Marblehead with 27 saves.

“I thought Grace played the best hockey she has played all year tonight,” Maccario said. “She played really well. It’s nice to see that especially her senior year in her last game. I told the team, ‘Empty your tanks you have nothing to hold back. This is our last game and there’s nothing more after this.’ I think that made them play with a little fire.”

Marblehead struggled to produce offense for much of the night while Melrose had plenty of chances with two power plays in the first period. Bertagna came through with nine saves to start the first period to keep the game scoreless.

Things didn’t get any better on offense for the Magicians, until their first power play chance midway through the second. Marblehead controlled the puck well initially, but couldn’t manage to get a good shot on net.

The Red Raiders finally got on the board in the second period on a wrist shot from the top of the right circle that beat Bertagna to give Melrose a 1-0 lead.

“I think the biggest thing with us is all year, the second period has been our off period,” Maccario said. “I just try to tell the team to hold their own. It’s okay if they’re in our zone for a long period of time. If we just keep them on the perimeters those scoring chances aren’t there. That’s what we need to worry about, when they have those scoring chances that’s when we get a little frantic.”

Marblehead controlled the puck better in the third period but still couldn’t capitalize on a few scoring chances. With one minute left in the game the Magicians went on the power play and called a timeout to pull Bertagna and draw up one final play.

Marblehead created the scoring chance it wanted with Cresta open in the slot, but her shot sailed wide right on the Magicians’ final scoring chance.

“I thought we were going to score,” Maccario said. “There was 30 seconds left on the clock and I was thinking ‘oh my God it’s going in,’ but we just didn’t finish it off.”

Before the game, Melrose also recognized Marblehead’s three seniors, Bertagna, Cresta and Caroline Kinne, a class that Maccario said will be missed.

“I was just saying to them, to come in as our first year as a coaching staff and to have those three seniors was the best thing ever,” Maccario said. “They showed up to practice every day and are willing to work hard. They were willing to have us put a lot of pressure on them for big moments. They are all very impactful players and they will be missed next year for sure.

“It has been fun,” Maccario added. “Our first year as a coaching staff all of us are under 25 (years old). We kind of built that relationship with the girls and have had a lot of fun this year. We had our ups and our downs, you win some you lose some but it is what it is. I think overall teaching them life lessons is our biggest thing coming here. I think we did that. I think they’re going to leave that locker room and kind of know a little bit more about themselves outside of the sport. That was our goal.”

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