Megan Nolan made 41 saves and Carly Drew notched two goals and an assist as the Old Rochester Regional/Bourne-Mashpee-Wareham (ORR/BMW) Bulldogs skated to a 5-0 win over the Vineyarders in the girls hockey season opener, Monday afternoon at the Martha’s Vineyard Ice Arena.
The margin of victory flattered the visitors after a game in which the host Vineyarders had more than their share of quality scoring chances, including three breakaways, and outshot ORR/BMW, 41-24, but couldn’t solve Nolan.
While the Vineyarders showed promise, they had too many moments where they were slow to contain the Bulldogs in the offensive zone.
“We can play with that team; it wasn’t a 5-0 hockey game,” Vineyard Coach John Fiorito said after the frustrating afternoon. “We have a lot of young people and a lot of experienced people who have been on the team for awhile who haven’t played meaningful minutes, so it’s going to be growing pains along the way. We’re going to get better, I promise you; I just want to speed up the process.”
Fiorito sees a team with potential, and is eager to work out the kinks. “I told them [after the game] that I couldn’t put my finger on the issue, but we’re going to figure out the issue. I’m disappointed because I know we can play with that team.”
Lauren Boyd, Paige Anderson, Alana Nevin, and Ava BenDavid all had strong season debuts for the Vineyarders, while netminders Amelia Simmons and Maria Frangos combined to make 19 saves.
ORR/BMW struck first, 4:24 into the game, after defenseman Meghan Berg scored from the edge of the left circle. The Vineyarders settled down and played well after the goal, carrying the play for the second half of the period. The hosts looked particularly sharp on a late power play that carried over into the second period.
Sixteen seconds after the puck dropped to start the next period, the Bulldogs drew another penalty, and MV skated with a 5-on-3 advantage. The Purple applied solid pressure, firing off three shots, but couldn’t light the lamp.
The penalty kill seemed to rejuvenate the Bulldogs, who scored their second goal at 6:42, on a play much like the first, with Carly Drew sliding the puck into the cage on a feed from Avery Hathaway.
Four minutes later, Drew banged in a rebound at the right post for her second goal of the game, to make it 3-0.
As they had in the first period, the Vineyarders got another late power play and a second, brief 5-on-3. Again, they looked sharp, but Nolan was unbeatable.
The Bulldogs put the game away with two goals in 48 seconds early in the third period. Erin Craig scored their fourth on the fourth whack after Frangos stopped three rapid-fire shots at the left post, and Kellen Geake scored from the slot by redirecting a Taylor Ellis shot from the point. After the ensuing face-off, Vineyarder Aryanna Stevens broke in alone and fired a wrister, but Megan Nolan made a glove save to preserve her shutout.