Senior forward Kate Devlin (pictured) fights off a stick check and moves the puck through the neutral zone.
By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
On December 13, the Walpole and Westwood High School girls varsity hockey teams opened their respective seasons against one another. Down 3-0 early, Westwood stormed back with four unanswered goals to pull of a 4-3 victory.
Flash ahead 73 days and the two non-conference rivals met for a second and final time at Canton Ice House last Wednesday with the regular season winding down for both squads. Entering at 8-10-0 (6-7-0) following a 2-1 victory over Medfield on Monday, the Timbs needed to secure a victory in order to remain alive for a postseason qualification (10 wins). Meanwhile, Wednesday’s tilt served as the regular season finale for the Wolverines, who had already clinched a postseason berth and entered with a record of 13-4-2 (7-2-1).
This time around, it was Westwood who came out swinging and jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead. Freshman forward Kate Sullivan opened the scoring just 5:47 in by streaking down the left wing, carrying behind the net and wrapping home a shot to make it 1-0, Westwood. With 3:06 to play in the period, Kendall Blomquist was assessed an inference penalty to put Walpole on the power play. Westwood’s penalty killers were able to thwart the Timberwolves from netting the tying goal. As time expired on Blomquist’s penalty, the senior captain came out of the box and forced a turnover in the neutral zone before dashing in on a breakaway. Blomquist sped in and roofed a wrist shot into the top-right corner of the net to double Westwood’s lead to 2-0.
Just 26 seconds later off the ensuing center-ice face-off, freshman Emma Shu stole a puck in the neutral zone, banked off the far boards and broke in down the left wing. Shu kicked the puck up to her back hand and deposited a shot home five-hole on Walpole goalie Maddy Clark to make it a 3-0 game at the end of one period.
At 5:16 of the second period, freshman defenseman Ava Themistocles extended the lead to four. Addy Keaveney won a loose puck battle behind the net and fed a pass out to a pinching Themistocles in the low slot. Themistocles corralled the puck and quickly fired a wrist shot home into the left side of the cage. With time winding down in the period, Sullivan put home her second of the night, this time skating coast-to-coast and roofing a shot up high from an odd angle to give the Wolverines a comfortable 5-0 lead heading into the third.
In the opening minute of the third period, senior captain Jess Tosone buried a goal on the power play to get Walpole on the board. Moments later, however, Blomquist broke in on another breakaway and buried a shot five-hole to kill any sort of Walpole comeback. Senior captain Isabella Agahigian was able to bring Walpole within four midway through the period with another power-play strike, but that would be the closest the Timberwolves would get. Westwood went on to win the game, 6-2, to close out the regular season with an overall record of 14-4-2.
For funny and incisive sports analysis as well as video highlights of games, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram handles @flano0.