Shoreline Sharks 19Us rise to the occasion with shutout victory
Updated: Nov 1, 2021
By Rick Menning
(Editor's Note: This is the latest in a series featuring the Shoreline Sharks teams in the New England Girls Hockey League and the Connecticut Girls Hockey League.)
NORTHFORD, CT -- The Shoreline Sharks 19-Under Black Tier II squad earned an 'A' for awesome when it comes to their all-around New England Girls Hockey League performance last Sunday afternoon at the Northford Ice Pavilion.
Giving it their all against the visiting Mid Fairfield Stars in an American Upper Fall Division clash, the Sharks stayed aggressive from start to finish and skated off with a very impressive 5-0 triumph.
When the host skaters weren't on a continual attack in the offensive zone, they were using their speed and poke-checking abilities to get back on defense and that tenacity limited Mid Fairfield to only seven total shots on goal.
Madison Epke sparked the Sharks with a pair of goals, while the sister duo of Ashley and Amanda Regina, from Milford, and West Haven's Jenna Hunt struck for one goal apiece in leading the Sharks to their sixth win (6-3-2 overall) this season.
Playing with focus and determination, the Shoreline squad went ahead in the first period when Epke, who lives in Guilford, raced down the right side and from deep in the circle launched a tough-angled wrister that sailed just inside the far post.
Epke's blast came after Katie Porrello and Meghan Dupre set her up with great stickwork to maintain possession for the Sharks while on the rush.
Shoreline's constant forechecking and winning one puck battle after another resulted in a highly commendable 13-0 shots on goal advantage through the first 15 minutes.
Throughout much of the second period, the two divisional opponents went back and forth as the Sharks kept up their intensity and high-quality shots but the Stars kept the contest close with good defense and goaltending.
The pivotal swing in momentum occurred with just 1:34 left in the middle frame when Ashley Regina fired off a precision shot from the left circle that beat the Mid Fairfield goalie on the stick side to make it 2-0. Epke had an assist on that play, while Anne Scovill also contributed to the insurance goal with a key pass.
The third period was all Sharks as the Stars had no answers for the hosts' remarkable job of transitioning from an offensive to a defensive mindset and disrupting every Mid Fairfield attempt at odd-man rushes.
Just 23 seconds into the closing period of action, Amanda Regina powered a one-timer from the low slot for a goal that increased the cushion to 3-0. That score came thanks to effective teamwork as Porrello and Sophia Maselli used their passing abilities for clutch assists.
The Sharks then provided an exclamation point to their performance as Hunt (59 seconds) and Epke (7 seconds) scored within the last minute of the competition for the 5-0 outcome.
Hunt's tally continued the theme of perseverance and puck-handling as Anabel Lota and Epke had the assists. Epke then put the bow on her four-point game (2 goals, 2 assists) with an unassisted effort.
The Sharks' dominance in Mid Fairfield's zone was clearly displayed in their 36-7 final shots-on-goal advantage. The Stars didn't record their first shot on net until just over five minutes into the second period.
Grace Nowak, Nadia Balduf and Emma Eschweiler each played one period between the pipes and shared in the shutout result. Eschweiler came through with the save of the game when, with five minutes remaining, she knocked the puck aside on a clear Mid Fairfield breakaway.
The first-period action saw some good efforts both offensively and defensively as the Sharks established their tempo for the game.
Mackenzie Gardner made a terrific poke check to prevent a Stars' breakaway midway through that period, and Sarah Dolynchuk unleashed a point-blank shot from the right circle during one of the Sharks' numerous rushes.
Early in the second period, Avery DePodesta teamed up with Porello on an odd-man rush for yet another good scoring opportunity.
Then, a few minutes later, it was Kiley McCooey's turn to sparkle offensively. After a great shot from the point that sailed just past the left post, she raced down on the very next rush and hit the crossbar before providing yet another good try minutes later.
Maya Sellinger enabled the Sharks to enjoy that particular stretch of tenacious pursuit in the 'O' zone when she showed her stickwork by keeping a play onside and enabling Shoreline to stay on the attack.
Gardner kept the pressure on after Amanda Regina's goal seconds into the final 15 minutes with several good scoring chances in heavy traffic around the crease.