BRUNSWICK – Winslow’s plan for its girls’ hockey opener Friday night against Brunswick was simple enough: stick to basics.
For forward Jennifer Poulin, that meant making the most of her chances. For her teammates, it meant holding on in the face of a furious Brunswick offense.
Poulin had three goals and an assist, and Jessica Cain made 32 saves to lead Winslow to a 4-3 victory at Watson Arena.
“(Poulin) is the type of player, you get the puck to her and wait to see what she does with it,” said first-year coach Chris Downing.
“That was a good overall effort for our first time out.”
Goaltending was the key: Cain withstood Brunswick’s barrage time and again. The Dragons outshot the Black Raiders, 49-23.
“It went about as I thought it would,” said Brunswick Coach Bill Bodwell, whose star defenseman, Gillian Ford, was out of the lineup, visiting a sister in Scotland. “We had a lot of youth on the blue line and we gave up some inadvertent breaks, and Poulin capitalized on them.
“Overall we did a good job controlling the play. We have so many kids in new positions, I know we’ll improve.”
It was an emotional start to the season; the teams held a moment of silence in memory of St. Dominic girls’ hockey coach Don Boucher, who died Wednesday after a battle with cancer. The Saints’ game planned for Friday night against Mt. Ararat was postponed.
The Dragons took charge from the opening faceoff. Eliza Brooks scored the first of her two goals just 54 seconds in, from Tessa Cassidy and Rachel Moroney.
The early goal didn’t rattle Cain.
I get a little nervous but I try to stay positive and keep my head in the game,” she said. “Both teams played really well.”
Poulin tied it when she collected the puck at mid-ice and skated in along the right wing at 5:36 to beat Erin Gay (eight saves).
Brunswick regained the lead with just under two minutes left in the period, when Moroney beat Cain between the pads.
The Black Raiders took command midway through the second, when Alexis LaChance and Poulin scored on breakaways in a span of 55 seconds. Claire Mendes replaced Gay in goal.
“We decided before the game that each goalie would play half the game, regardless of the score,” Bodwell said. “I have complete confidence in our goaltending.”
The teams traded goals in the third, when Poulin finished a pass from LaChance at 5:03 and Brooks got her second of the night 55 seconds later.
The Dragons appeared to have tied it when Maroney knocked the puck in with about three minutes left. The officials waved off the goal, ruling the puck went in off Maroney’s skate.
“Definitely that last 3:30, we were sweating it,” Poulin said. “We knew if we just stayed with it, we’d be OK.”
Brooks, Maroney and Maddie Wilkes put the puck on goal next, but Cain came through.
“She’s a really strong goaltender,” Brooks said. “We’ll learn from this, that there are tactics to attacking, that we can’t just jam it in there.
“The younger kids did a really good job. There are definitely things to work on.”