Canton High girls hockey team rebounds with win, drawBy Jay Turner
After dropping their first two games of the season against perennial powers Falmouth and Duxbury, the Canton High girls ice hockey team bounced back in a big way last week, improving to 1-2-1 with stellar performances against both Sandwich and Norwell.
While the Bulldogs easily could have won both games, they struggled to finish in the Sandwich game and had to settle for a 1-1 draw. Nevertheless, they completely owned the puck and skated circles around the Blue Knights, and they carried that momentum into Saturday’s home contest at the Canton Sportsplex, where the scoring floodgates finally opened in an eventual 6-0 win over Norwell.
“We’re very much a blue collar team, the kind of team that has to work for all of its goals,” acknowledged fourth-year head coach Dennis Aldrich. “But everyone is doing everything right, and the kids showed a lot of grit in that Sandwich game and they refused to quit.”
Despite the final score, Aldrich said the game against the Blue Knights was “one of the best hockey games we’ve played in the last two or three years.”
“We totally dominated them from start to finish,” he said. “We outshot them 40-9 and the puck basically never left their end. We hit like three or four posts throughout the game — sometimes the approach is perfect but you just don’t get the result you want.”
On Saturday, the Bulldogs did get the result they wanted as they put up 32 shots and connected on six of them. Freshman standout Lauren Fitzpatrick collected a hat trick in the win, while fellow freshman and linemate Maggie Malloy added a goal and two assists.
Other top performers for Canton included senior Sarah Wilkinson and sophomore Marissa Devane, who each finished with a goal and an assist, and co-captains Mary Nee and Rebecca Eckler, who combined for seven assists.
In addition to their offensive outburst, the Bulldogs also played a great game defensively, led by Nee and freshman Helen Huang, who has been a revelation on the blue line after initially trying out as a forward. Goalie Colleen Kelleher also played well, stopping all eight shots she faced and collecting her first shutout of the season.
Aldrich said the team is very young this year; however, he said they are an intelligent and hardworking bunch, filled with “hockey-first” players as well as strong leaders in captains Nee, Eckler, Emily Rizzitano, and Lindsey Nolte.
Now with a win under their belts, the Bulldogs will look to string a few together starting this week with games against Medfield and Westwood. The girls will then head to Gallo Arena next Wednesday for a rematch against Sandwich, followed by another rematch next Saturday against Falmouth at Shea Rink in Quincy.
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