Two up, one down for girls’ hockey

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JOEL LEHMAN
Messenger Sports

The Essex girls’ hockey team extended its early-season win streak to three games before falling to Massena 2-0 on Saturday.

Prior to the loss, Essex picked up a pair of victories last week, defeating Beekmantown two days after a win over BFA-St. Albans in a rematch of last year’s semifinals.

Five minutes into the game agains BFA, the Hornets scored on the man advantage, with co-captain Amanda Sienkiewicz sneaking the puck in with an assist from Bailey Gaskill.

The Hornets then went up 2-0 on a bad-bounce goal off a Comet defenseman’s stick, credited to Francesca Martin from Olivia Miller-Johnson.

It was that kind of evening for the Comets, who despite an advantage in possession and shots couldn’t beat Mary Simons, a senior goaltender who sat for three years behind Victoria Gibson, one of the top goalies in the state.

“I think we knew this team was going to be different, when you lose Victoria in the net and you lose Melanie (Theriault) and Kathleen (Young) on offense,” Essex coach John Maddalena said following the BFA game about his trio of top seniors lost to graduation. “This team is much deeper. We’re not going to look to one person to score the goals for us. It’s going to be three, four lines that are going to have to all contribute.”

Between two of the pioneering girls hockey programs in the state, it was a night where both team’s depth and youth were on display.

“I think all the parts are there,” Maddalena said about defending the Division I title. “Right now a lot of it’s about chemistry; if you can get good chemistry early on and build upon it. I think we’ve got a great opportunity and so far I’m liking the chemistry.”

Essex took on South Burlington Wednesday in a game that concluded after the Essex Reporter went to print, and will then host Burlington on Saturday at 4:30 p.m.

Colin Flanders contributed to this story