Defensive effort pays off for Notre Dame (Hingham) women’s hockey – Boston Herald
ROCKLAND – After years of domination over the past decade, last season was a time of transition for the Notre Dame Academy hockey program as the Cougars tried to adjust to a coaching staff completely overhauled.
Now in his second season behind the bench, John Findley is starting to see the fruits of his labor pay off, as the defensive-minded game manager’s plan begins to take hold.
Sophomore Caelan Stewart scored a pair and Notre Dame Academy (Hingham) completely smothered a solid side from Matignon, 4-0, to Rockland Ice Rink.
“She’s worked so hard in practice,” Findley said of Stewart. “Just a lot of puck luck tonight. She had so many chances to score, and there was just no luck in the puck. Tonight I said to the girls, ‘You have to go into the dirty parts of the ice to try to score against any good team. You cannot have highlight goals. It just doesn’t happen all the time. And the girls took my advice, they worked hard.
The Cougars (7-4-1) dominated in the first puck drop on Saturday night, edging the Warriors by a superb margin of 28-7. While Matignon had held firm with top teams such as Austin Prep, Wellesley and St. Mary’s (Lynn), the Warriors couldn’t better crack the code of Notre Dame’s defensive front.
After both teams struggled to get an offensive pace early on, the Cougars struck 14 seconds from the end of the opening period, as rookie Lauren White fired a shot on goal. The puck bounced off the mat from Matignon’s Gianna McCusker, and straight to Stewart. From there, the left winger brought the puck inside the right post, putting the Cougars in front, 1-0.
“We worked really well as a team,” said Stewart. “And it was one of our best games, as a team. It feels really good to win. ”
At 5.30 am to play in the second, a scrum developed in front of Matignon’s net. Amid the chaos, the puck slipped out of the mess towards rookie Maggie Donahue, who stepped in and fired a rocket through the string to extend the Cougars’ lead to 2-0.
Then, just nine seconds into the final stanza, Stewart put a ribbon on her performance, as she scored her second to break things up at 3-0.
Eighth grader Jules Connors topped it off with his own goal in a 5-on-3 power play, as she slid a five-hole to put the Cougars ahead, 4-0, with 5:32 left to play in. regular time.
Sophia Roukounakis, Christine Landry and Cam Bourassa all added aids in the effort for Notre-Dame.
Matignon (5-9) was propelled by McCusker, who finished with 24 saves on the night.
“The defense was great, as usual,” Findley said. “I think they only had one bad game. So they worked hard and I was excited for them. I was happy for them tonight, because it was a good team from Matignon.