CANTON — The No. 13 seed Bishop Fenwick girls hockey team struggled to get going on offense, falling to No. 4 Norwell 1-0 in a Division 2 first-round game at Canton Ice House Saturday.
“We played our hearts out,” Fenwick coach Doug Anderson said. “The last period we found that little extra gear. Norwell just had a lot of depth and a lot of speed.”
Despite the loss, Fenwick goalkeeper Daphne Jalbert had a great game in net with 30 saves.
“Daphne was immense again as she has been all year,” Anderson said. “We did a good job. There’s no substitute for speed. If they finished a little bit more it could’ve been a little lopsided but Daphne was great.”
The Clippers got off to a fast start with two early scoring chances. Less than a minute into the first period Casey Ward skated to a breakaway but Jalbert made the pad save to keep the game scoreless.
A few minutes later a blocked shot by Lexi McNeil turned into a scoring chance for the Crusaders. McNeil and Gabby Davern skated to a two-on-one chance but the pair couldn’t get a quality shot on net.
Ward found herself with another breakaway chance after slipping through the Fenwick defense with 5:30 to go in the first, but once again Jalbert made the stop to keep the game tied at 0-0.
The Clippers kept the pressure on in the second period. Norwell controlled the puck in the Fenwick zone for most of the period, but the Crusaders did a nice job keeping the puck on the perimeter. Jalbert made 12 straight saves in the second to keep the game scoreless.
“We tried to play in different layers,” Anderson said. “They had so many fast players that were getting by our forwards. We were trying to have one defenseman step up and one back her up. We had different layers. Sometimes it took that fourth layer but it worked most of the night.”
Norwell finally broke through with 3:05 left in the second. Ward carried the puck into the Crusaders zone and dished a pass out front to Casey Messina whose shot was saved by Jalbert but Tess Flanders crashed the net to finish the rebound and give the Clippers a 1-0 lead.
The third period was much of the same. The Crusaders did a good job of keeping Norwell’s offense at bay but struggled to get any chances of their own.
With 2:27 to go Fenwick took a timeout and pulled Jalbert for one last chance to tie the game. The Crusaders managed a few shots on net in the final seconds but couldn’t tie the game.
“We had the goalie out for two and a half minutes,” Anderson said. “Sometimes you never get the chance. We worked on some plays all year in that situation. They were just a little quick.
“We had a couple plays at the end set up with the goalie out but they were a little better skill wise on the puck,” Anderson added. “Their puck skills were a little better but the girls have big hearts. It’s been a great year for us.”
With the Crusaders season coming to a close at 12-7-1, Anderson is happy to have had such a successful team throughout the year.
“I’m disappointed we didn’t move on,” Anderson said. “But this was a wonderful year. We had good leadership from captains Lexi McNeil and Jill Matucci. I’m thrilled with the season overall. Their work ethic and togetherness was great. All we ask is for them to try to do what we’re teaching them and they did.”