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By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
The Walpole High varsity girls hockey team welcomed in Notre Dame Academy (Hingham) on Monday night for a midseason non-conference clash between two teams bound for the state tournament.
Thanks to a phenomenal seven-for-seven effort by the Walpole penalty kill unit and some stellar goaltending by senior goaltender Kiera McInerney (31 saves), the Lady-Rebels (7-2-0, 3-2-0) earned a 3-1 victory to hand NDA (7-1-0, 6-1-0) its first loss of the 2018-2019 season.
At 6:25, junior forward Catie Martin tapped home a backhanded rebound following a shot from the slot by senior captain Audra Tosone, drawing first blood for Walpole.
NDA was awarded a power play with a little over three minutes to play in the period, but Walpole was able to kill off the penalty and then some. With 2:32 remaining, a strong fore-check by senior captain and forward Meghan Hamilton led to a turnover just inside the NDA blue line. Hamilton took the puck and fed it down low to sophomore forward Emily Desimone who broke in on a mini-breakway and fired a shot up high for a shorthanded tally to double the Walpole lead to 2-0.
McInerney stole the show in the second period for Walpole, stonewalling a pair of grade-A scoring opportunities by NDA, including a sprawling left pad save on a breakaway bid with a little under six minutes to play in the frame. Walpole’s penalty kill unit thwarted a pair of NDA power play opportunities just before the end of the period, and the Lady-Rebs took their two-goal lead into the third.
Notre Dame finally got one through McInerney to cut the deficit to 2-1 early in the third period. Walpole’s penalty kill did its job two more times throughout the third period to preserve the lead, followed by a game-sealing goal by freshman forward Livia Brooks to give Walpole the 3-1 victory.
The Lady-Rebs will return to action on January 19 at Rodman Arena against Milton.
For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter at @fLAno0.