By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter
Thanks to a three goal third period, on Friday night at the Skating Club of Boston, the Norwood Mustangs beat the Walpole girls hockey team, 3-1. With the loss on what was Norwood’s senior night, the Timberwolves dropped to 7-10 on the year.
Things started out well for Walpole. After Norwood gave both their and Walpole’s seniors flowers, both teams warmed up. After a few saves from Walpole’s goaltender, Ainsley Roof, Walpole managed to kill a penalty at the nine-minute mark. Then, with just over five minutes left to play, Cassie Burke took advantage of a Norwood defender slipping and put a wrist-shot from the wing behind the goaltender and just over the goal line. Maybe. Norwood’s fans went berserk that the puck never crossed, but while The Skating Club of Boston has an Olympic-sized arena that holds 2,500 people, two NHL sized hockey rinks, a dance studio, a gym, and a trophy room, it doesn’t’ have replay technology. The Mustang fans were screaming into the void. Both teams killed a penalty, and after one period, it was 1-0, Walpole.
In the second period, Walpole had an almost immediate power play, but while Elena Govoni and Bella Agahigian had some shots, they couldn’t score. Walpole’s goaltender made some nice saves as Walpole struggled to get the puck out of their zone, which ultimately cost them as, after they had just managed to kill a Norwood penalty, at 4:34, Norwood’s Morgan Roach went five-hole to even the score 1-1. Not much happened after, and both teams headed to the locker room tied at 1-1.
There was a huge layover between the second and third periods, during which time the Zamboni’s snow was dumped onto the ice, forcing the referee to shovel it. Walpole’s home rink doesn’t Zamboni after every period like Norwood’s does, so this made all the downtime especially notable for the Timberwolves. After what had been a rather even game, the downtime seemed to ice Walpole. Norwood put a backhand into the net from in front of the goal at 12:19, then scored again at 9:02, then once more at 5:14. From there, the Timberwolves were in too big of a hole to recover from — and though Kate Devlin was shoved in the back for a late power-play, Walpole couldn’t do anything with it and lost, 4-1.
As the Lexettes synchronized figure skating team warmed up in the background, Coach Joe Verderber explained that he believed his team stopped doing the things that were working in the first period, which led to the Norwood comeback in the second, and all the goals in the third.
“The first period, we played really well,” he declared. “I thought we controlled the first period and we got a goal for our efforts. And then I think we underestimated Norwood. They came out in the second and Norwood started gaining momentum, and we started backing off — not doing the things we did in the first period where we were aggressive and putting the pressure on them. In the second period, we started backing off and giving them time and space. We weren’t playing physical, tough on the puck, so the net result was that of their four goals — three of them were point-blank in front of the net where we just didn’t push anybody out of there.”
Coach Verderber applauded the play of his young goaltender, sophomore Ainsley Roof, who was filling in for the starter, who was away. But while it would be easy to harp on the negatives, Coach Verderber noted there were positives from the whole team.
“Ainsley Roof, that’s only her second game ever playing. She’s only put the pads on for two years, so she deserves a lot of credit. But I think at times everybody did some positive things out there. It’s just tough when you’re in the state playoff hunt to kind of give up two periods of hockey.”