PEMBROKE — With a rash of offensive production gone from last season, opportunities have arisen for many younger players on the Whitman-Hanson/Silver Lake high school girls’ hockey team.
One of those younger players getting the chance to shine is Emily McDonald, a freshman from Whitman. McDonald has been logging significant minutes at forward for the Panthers, and Sunday evening at Hobomock Arenas, she collected her first career varsity goal.
With 6:41 remaining in the third period, McDonald, from inside the blue line, blasted a shot on the La Salle Academy/Moses Brown goalie Asia Porter, and it found the back of the net.
“[It felt] good,” McDonald said of her goal.
WHSL head coach Kevin Marani said McDonald had been snakebitten a bit this season – hitting the post on a few chances in a pair of prior games – so he was happy to see her have something to show for her savvy play.
“She’s a smart, smart player,” Marani said. “She’s a good kid, tries hard. It was nice to see her finally break the ice.”
McDonald’s tally was one of three WHSL (0-7) goals in an 8-3 loss to La Salle Academy/Moses Brown (10-0-1).
The first came just 52 seconds into the contest when sophomore defenseman Natalie Nemes (Kingston) worked her way up the boards, to left circle and flicked a shot that beat Porter right over her left shoulder, making it 1-0.
The advantage was WHSL’s first all season.
“It was a nice celebration,” Marani said. “We needed a lead, we deserve it, we work hard.”
Unfortunately for WHSL, it would not last as LA/MB knotted the score at 1-1 with 7:11 remaining in the first period when Alexa Morra blasted a wrist shot past freshman goalie Kat Gilbert (Halifax).
Less than a minute later, LA/MB went ahead 2-1 and that’s where it stood after the opening frame.
The second stanza is where the contest would get away from the Panthers as 41 seconds into it, the visitors pushed ahead 3-1 when Grayson Goolgasian found twine. Tallies by Samantha Marsh and Jennifer Rickard gave LA/MB a four-goal cushion through two periods.
With 6:41 remaining in the final stanza, McDonald’s tally drew WHSL within 6-2.
After another LA/MB goal, WHSL’s Meagan Elwood (Kingston) found the back of the net with 2:31 left, making it 7-3.
However, it took LA/MB 14 seconds to respond as it made it 8-3 and that’s where it would stand.
WHSL will be back on the ice Saturday, Jan. 13 at 6:30 p.m. against Haverhill/Pentucket/ North Andover at The Bog Ice Arena in Kingston.
“I think we’re getting it,” WHSL head coach Kevin Marani said. “We had a bunch of breakdowns. They’re trying hard. Today was a good game, they played hard.”