Monday, February 26, 2018

Norwood Girls' Hockey Edges Cohasset/Hanover to Open Tournament Play

By Jake Levin (@JakeLevin09)

Hyde Park, Mass. - Jenna Mazzola picked the right time to show up to primetime.

The sophomore goalie for the Norwood Mustangs started all but one game for her team this season, her first year as a starter, but like so many of her teammates, had yet to have a chance to shine on the postseason stage.

Mazzola’s play in the third period, in particular, of Norwood’s 3-2 preliminary round victory over the Cohasset/Hanover Skippers ensured that the Mustangs’ first trip to the tournament since 2015 wouldn’t be a one-and-done showing, her 10 saves in the final 15 minutes looming large.

“I just think that you have to save the puck,” Mazzola said after the No. 12 seed Norwood (13-9-1) held serve at Bajko Rink against No. 22 Cohasset/Hanover (8-7-6). “And when one does get by you, you can’t let it get in your head. Even if it does go by you, get it out of your head. You’ve got to go out and be aggressive.”

The Mustangs never trailed thanks to a pair of first period goals from Maddie O’Rourke and Allie Martin, but a single goal for the Skippers in both the second and third period had Norwood on the brink.

Cohasset/Hanover captain Lindsey Beiche cut into the Norwood lead at 2:50 of the second, after which the Mustangs proceeded to completely dominate puck possession. Norwood spent the majority of the remainder of the second period in its attacking zone, only to be stonewalled by Skippers goalie Anna Tedeschi – a freshman who made 24 saves on the game, half of them in the second alone.

Her counterpart, Mazzola, kept the Mustangs ahead thanks to a massive save on a breakaway less than 30 seconds into the third period, denying Cohasset/Hanover’s Olivia Hussey with the bottom of her left pad. The Skippers could only be held down for so long, however, as Krista Soldano cashed in on a funky bounce to tie things up at 2-2 at 5:31 of the third.

A game-tying goal could never truly count as a backbreaker, but it certainly felt that was for the Mustangs. Soldano’s goal came less than a minute after Norwood had squandered a 5-on-3 power play which lasted for 1:34 and generated only one shot on goal.

Norwood head coach Tim Coskren said after the game that if anything, Soldano’s tally helped the Mustangs regain their collective focus.

“Actually, I think when they scored their second goal to tie it at 2-2, I think it got our girls a little more excited and intense,” he said. “I think they came back from that a little stronger.”

In between Mazzola continuing to stand on her head, the Mustangs had the productive shift they needed in the attacking zone. Freshman defenseman Kayla Clifford let a puck fly from the point, which was playable for fellow freshman Maeve Glavin. Once again, Martin was perfectly positioned for the tip-in, which gave Norwood the lead for good at 10:35 of the third.

It was the second helper of the game for Clifford, who also assisted on Martin’s first goal of the game.

Cohasset/Hanover had one final flurry with Tedeschi pulled in the final minute, during which time Mazzola came up with two more saves to raise her total to 25. For the game, shots on goal were even at 27 apiece for each team.

“We knew we were very evenly matched,” Coskren said. “Going through and watching one of their game films, I knew that it would probably be a close game. Their first line is the one that scores most of their goals, our first two lines are pretty equal. We just hoped that we could hold their first line in check and hope to get a few on the other, which is how it went.”

The Mustangs will play the fifth-seeded Dennis-Yarmouth Dolphins (13-5-2) on Sunday at Tony Kent Arena in Dennis at 5 p.m. in the second round of the girls’ Division 2 tournament.

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