Rebels Girls Hockey Proves Talent in Playoffs

Sophomore+Michaela+Tosone+fights+off+a+Fontbonne+player+for+the+puck.

Sophomore Michaela Tosone fights off a Fontbonne player for the puck.

jenniferharrop

A Rebel forward fights off a Fontbonne player for the puck.

Last year, the Rebel Girls Hockey Team made history by going further in the playoffs than any other team before them.  The Rebels lost eight talented seniors from their 2009-2010 team and were not expected to do much this year.  Throughout the season, they have proven to the Bay State League that they have the talent and determination to better last season’s record.  On Wednesday, March 2, the Girls Hockey team hosted Stoneham in the first round of the playoffs.

The game against Stoneham was one of the more physical games that the Rebels played during their season, and despite a few injuries, the girls gave their best effort. Coach Joe Verderber said, “I’m proud of [the girls] because even with three players sick or injured, they didn’t quit. They kept pushing, and we succeeded.”

Six minutes into the first period, senior Rachel MacMillan scored a power play goal, putting the Rebels up 1-0. Stoneham quickly recovered and scored the next two goals which gave them a 2-1 lead going into the second period. Freshman defender Brooke Matherson tied the score at 2-2 halfway through the second period, but with two minutes left in the period Stoneham scored another power-play goal putting them in the lead over the Rebels once again with a score of 3-2.

Penalties were the Rebels’ only downfall during the Stoneham game—especially during the first two periods. If the Rebels didn’t get so many penalties, then the game may have gone a little smoother for Walpole.  For half of the game, it seemed that Walpole had at least one girl in the penalty box at all times. Throughout the first two periods, the Rebels spent more of their time fighting off penalties and Stoneham power plays than creating scoring opportunities.

The penalties called against the Rebels faded out by the end of the second and into the beginning of the third period which gave way to Walpole beginning to dominate the game overall. At the beginning of the third period, senior Captain Kelsey Cosby took a pass from Matherson and shot it past Stoneham’s goalie, tying the game once again. The Rebels’ fourth goal was also scored by Cosby, not long after her first goal. Cosby backhanded her shot directly past the goalie, putting the Rebels ahead for the second time in the game. Cosby nearly had a hat-trick during the game, but her third opportunity was halted when she was blocked by a Stoneham defender on a breakaway.  The Rebels won the game 5-3 and advanced into the second round of the playoffs.

On Sunday, March 6, the Rebel Girls Hockey team played against Fontbonne Academy in the second round of the Massachusetts Divison 2 State Hockey playoffs. Although the Rebels outplayed Fontbonne in the second half of the game, they were not able to overcome the Ducks in the end and were eliminated from the playoffs.

Fontbonne dominated the game with a 2-0 lead until late in the second period. It seemed to fans that the Rebels were not on top of their game, and may not have a chance to come back with a win before time ran out. In addition to the Rebels not playing to the best of their ability, they were also being called for countless penalties. If the Rebels had not spent the first period of the game in the penalty box, they may have had more scoring opportunities and would not have had to wait until so late in the game to start a comeback.

In the third period the Rebels started playing their usual game—full of determination. The Rebels scored a goal quickly in the first few minutes of the third period, getting Walpole’s momentum going for the rest of the period. With 10 minutes left in the game, Cosby took a pass from Matherson and shot it on net. The puck fell right behind Fontbonne’s goalie, but never actually went over the goal line; the Duck’s goalie scooped up the puck before a goal could be scored, leaving the Rebels a bit disappointed. With six minutes left in the game, Matherson took a shot on net, and this time the puck went sailing behind the goalie, tying the game 2-2.  For the rest of the third period, the Rebels showed some of their best defending of the season. Fontbonne had many power play opportunities in the last five minutes, but sophomore Bethany Welch played flawlessly in goal and deflected any-and-all shots that came her way.  Defenseman Matherson and freshman Delaney Harrop also assisted Welch in defending the goal against Fontbonne breakways and shots. Coach Verderber said, “The last period of the game was more of a defensive battle than an offensive battle for both teams. The girls did a great job of holding on until the end.”

With the score tied at 2-2, the game went into overtime. The Rebels fought hard while they could during the extra time, but a little over a minute in,the Ducks’ leading scorer got hold of the puck and sent a shot past Welch to win the game 3-2, and send Fontbonne onto the next round of the playoffs against Norwood – a team that Walpole had lost and tied against during the season.

Having lost in overtime, the Rebels’ season was officially over. Coach Verderber said, “We had a great season, and we were up against a tough team in the last round. We were lucky to have even made it this far.” The final score of the game was a bittersweet ending to the Rebels’ successful season. Although the girls had lost, they were happy with their accomplishments because they were not expected to have a such a great season. Seniors Cosby, MacMillan, Emily Cronin, Tori Richardson, Hannah Feeley, Lauren Whitmore, and Vitty Petrillo gave their best effort during their last game, and throughout the season, helping make the 2010-2011 season another season to remember in Walpole High School Girls Hockey history.