Sandwich Girls' Hockey Falls To Westwood In Final 29 Seconds
By: Dan Crowley, March 14, 2014
Not too many people would have thought that a 17th-seeded team would make it to the semifinals, but that’s just what happened. The Sandwich Lady Knights made believers out of everyone in Massachusetts Division 2 girls’ hockey this year, but the dream season came to an end Tuesday night at Gallo Ice Arena as the 17th-seeded Lady Knights (15-10-1) fell to fourth-seeded Westwood (15-2-5) by a score of 4-3.
The Wolverines advance to the TD Garden to face second-seeded Wellesley (20-1-2) on Sunday.
“Westwood is a solid team and they are deep,” coach Steve Noll said after the game. “We held them as long as we could. We just got a little unlucky with the bounce of the puck.”
With the game tied at 3-3 in the final minute of regulation Westwood’s Kailey Jacobs got her stick on the puck just outside the crease and poked it inside the far post at the 29-second mark for the game-winning goal.
The Wolverines opened the scoring 4:38 into the first period with a goal by senior Kelly Healey from the low slot. The Lady Knights answered with a power play goal at the 5:13 mark of the first on a backhanded shot from Claire Gauthier off a rebound to the right of Westwood goalie Siobhan Burke.
The Lady Knights kept Burke busy in the final half of the opening period with shots by Annabelle White, Katie Lowry and Nicole Martin, with Martin’s shot from the high slot bouncing the wrong way off the post with 29 seconds left in the period.
A Westwood penalty early in the second period gave Sandwich a power play opportunity and the Lady Knights did get off a couple of good shots, but Burke, the second-best goalie in the Southeastern Massachusetts Girls’ Hockey League West with a 1.62 goals against average entering the game, knocked away both Sandwich shots.
The Wolverines upped the score to 2-1 with a goal by Catherine Barrett 4:27 into the second stanza with the shot coming out of a pile-up in front of the Sandwich net. Maggie Layo tested Burke a couple of times with well-placed shots in the second, but with 7:22 left in the middle period Westwood pulled ahead 3-1 when Ela Hazar ripped a hard shot from the low end of the left side faceoff circle, about 15 feet off the post, that flew past the reach of SHS goalie Allison Hir.
Gauthier took advantage of another Sandwich power play with 4:58 left in the period, firing off a quick slapshot from the left side that slammed the back of the net to cut the lead to 3-2. White, Layo and Gauthier continued to crash the Westwood net in the final minutes of the period, but Burke was up to the challenge, leaving the Lady Knights down by one entering the final 15-minute period.
Layo and Christina O’Neil got off solid shots midway through the third period, while at the other end Hir was knocking down a late flurry of shots by the Wolverines. With 7:13 left in the game, Layo followed up a shot by Lowry, driving the rebound past Burke to tie the game at 3-all.
The Lady Knights blasted away at the Westwood net in the second half of the third period, and the Wolverines, not ready to see their season end either, turned up the heat on Hir and the Sandwich defense. Kate Towey and Martin did a nice job holding off Westwood. With 1:21 on the clock, Hir made two solid up-close back-to-back saves. But in a flurry of activity in the final seconds the puck was deflected to the left of the Sandwich net and onto the stick of Jacobs.
“We knew we had to throw the gas at them in the third period,” Noll added. “It was just an unlucky bounce. Ally Hir was great, she is a great goalie for a kid that’s only played 14 weeks. She was a very solid respectable goalie for us. The kids played great. We had a ball this year, it’s just that simple. They’ll take away a basket of memories.”
“When the game is on the line, I’m just glad we’ve got a kid wearing number 13 (Maggie Layo),” coach Noll smiled after the Lady Knights stunned fourth-seeded Medway/Ashland 3-2 in overtime Saturday night in the quarterfinals of the MIAA Division 2 state tournament. “I think we’ve surprised all the teams outside our league.”
The Mustangs came back in the third period, scoring twice to send the game into overtime, setting the scene for Sandwich’s all-time leading points’ scorer, Maggie Layo, who went 1-on-1 with Medway/Ashland’s goalie, Kathryn Hamer and beat the seventh-best netminder in the state, sending the Knights to the semifinals.
“It was a great game,” Noll continued. “I thought our defense was fantastic. Nicole Martin is just tireless out there. She chewed up 30 minutes of ice time. Ally Hir played an outstanding game. She never saw that second goal, she was screened all the way. And Katie Lowry had a fantastic game. She had her wheels. It was her time to shine.”
Martin caught Hamer napping 3:15 into the game with a shot from the high slot that slid under the goalie’s stick.
Twice the Lady Knights were forced to kill penalties in the second period. On the first occasion Hir stopped three Medway/Ashland bids. The Knight defense was solid on the second penalty kill not allowing the Mustangs a single shot on goal. Hir flashed some leather. making a pretty glove save later in the second and then denied Medway/Ashland on back-to-back shots.
Hir stopped the Mustangs in the opening minute of the third period and then Lowry took the puck from Layo and outskated the defense on the right side and broke in on Hamer, 1-on-1 and went high for the second Sandwich goal.
The Lady Knights held their two-goal lead until with 11:20 remaining in the game, Meaghan Vasile drilled one into the Sandwich net from the bottom of the right side faceoff circle. Medway/Ashland tied the game with 3:07 to play on a shot by Rae Lambert through traffic from the left side that Hir never saw.
Sandwich needed just 1:56 of the six-minute overtime period. Layo and Gauthier combine to go after Hamer in the opening minute of the OT, but it wasn’t until a minute later that Lowry crossed the blue line on the right side and hit Layo with a perfect pass in the slot, that set up the game-winner.