Sharks Under-14 Tier IIs show heart against Boston squad
Updated: Sep 29, 2021
(Editor's Note: This is the first in a weekly series featuring the Shoreline Sharks teams in the New England Girls Hockey League and the Connecticut Hockey Conference.)
NORTHFORD, CT -- Facing one of the top teams in the 14 American Upper Fall Division of the New England Girls Hockey League, the Shoreline Sharks Tier II squad showed its competitive spirit in a Sunday afternoon showdown against the Boston Junior Eagles.
Never letting up from the opening faceoff, the Sharks were a picture of total focus and kept the pressure on against the Massachusetts visitors who had lost only one of six games entering the contest at the Northford Ice Pavilion.
The Sharks gave up only one goal -- a deflection in traffic from the right side -- through the first 35 minutes of the 45-minute matinee action before the Lady Eagles scored twice in the third period to win the hard-fought game, 3-0.
The final score doesn't diminish the poise and determination displayed by the hometown skaters.
Lucy Kimberly was outstanding in goal as she stopped 21 of 24 shots, many of which were high-percentage opportunities. She cut down the angles and positioned herself to get the best looks at the Junior Eagles' chances.
'D' stands tall
Right at the outset and throughout the first period, the Sharks 14 Tier IIs gave Boston fits in the defensive zone as Kendall Dobratz and Maybelle Caron used their speed and forechecking skills to stop one Boston rush after another.
Elizabeth Carlson was also a key presence in front of Kimberly with disruptive play that kept Boston contained between the circles.
Caron's timely poke check in the high slot midway through the period prevented a quality scoring chance by the Junior Eagles.
Meanwhile, Hailey Farace was getting the upper hand during one of her shifts by winning numerous puck battles in the neutral zone. That enabled Julianna Picard and Jozie Becker to achieve rushes into the Boston end of the ice.
The Sharks (2-3-1) battled Boston (6-1) for the entire 15 minutes with a valiant performance that included a couple of good scoring tries.
Taylor Higgins chased down the puck from deep in her own end and managed a shot on goal that the Boston netminder had to knock away with her stick at the near post. Then, several minutes later, Catherine Cruess had a quality chance on net around the paint.
The hometown 14 Tier II's 'D' sparkled during a key moment in the game when, needing a penalty kill while two players down, the Sharks not only rose to the challenge but didn't allow the Junior Eagles a single shot on goal.
Allison Leonard and Dobratz stepped up their play bigtime with outstanding pressure while still managing to box out the greatly advantaged visitors during that 5-on-3.
Farace had perhaps the most critical takeaway and return down the ice with her steal between the circles as Boston was trying to set up a play.
With their biggest penalty kill of the contest secured, the Sharks' Farace and Higgins went on a 2-on-1 break starting near the red line but Boston got back in time to stop the threat.
Shoreline came out in the third period still in full warrior mode as Dobratz and Higgins had great shots on goal within the first two minutes. Dobratz' provided a rocket blast from point-blank range, while Higgins followed with a one-timer that sailed just outside the far post.
Cassidy Cotton made her presence felt in front of her goalie, and that kept Boston's shots to a minimum over the final 15 minutes.
Although the Junior Eagles scored twice in a seven-minute span, the Sharks didn't quit and continued to play hard as Ella Jumps had a terrific shot on net and Carlson came through with a great clear from the defensive zone.