RIIL Girls Hockey: Thunderbirds Swoop Past SCMB 6-5
The RIIL scheduled a match-up between the SCMB Co-Op (Smithfield, Coventry, Moses Brown) and the Cranston Thunderbirds (Cranston East and West) at the Smithfield Municipal Ice Rink on Wednesday night. The contest was full of offense, with both teams exchanging volleys of scoring opportunities that kept both goaltenders, Kylie Whelan of SCMB, and Haley Davis of the Thunderbirds, busy throughout the night. Davis was tested early and often, seeing 9 shots in the first 5 minutes of play.
One of those shots came off the stick of SCMB defenseman, Lauren Falls, as she weaved her way through the Thunderbird defenders and into the slot. Falls cut from her left to right to deke around Davis, who stymied the opportunity with a well timed poke check. Mia Stilley would score twice for SCMB in the first period, with her second coming off the rush as she dangled her way into the slot and released a wrister, beating Davis five hole, and giving the SCMB Co-Op the 2-0 lead at the end of the first. Haley Davis stopped 17/19 shots in the first period and kept her team in the game with some stellar goaltending.
Coach PJ Bessette, rallied his team from their self proclaimed, "worst period all year", and they hit the ice flying to start the second frame. It took the Thunderbirds just 31 seconds to halve the SCMB lead when Mia Schenenga ripped a shot past goaltender Kylie Whelan from the top of the slot through traffic. Schenenga was a force in the second period, netting three goals, with one being a total snipe, top shelf, from the right circle. The Thunderbird offense surged in the second for four goals, with Rosalina Caliri inking her way into the goal column with her tally at 2:08 of the second. SCMB scored twice in the second period as well, with goals from Alyssa DiMaria and Hannah Murphy while outshooting the Thunderbirds 11 to 10. This set the stage for a wild third period with both teams tied at 4.
With 6:58 to play and the face-off in the Thunderbirds zone, SCMB center Lizzie Weston won the draw over to right winger Hannah Murphy who was standing on the hash marks to the right of the face-off dot. Murphy's wrist shot beat Davis and gave her team a 5-4 lead on a play that took only 2 seconds to complete. However, just 50 seconds later, the Thunderbirds struck gold off the stick of Rosalina Caliri. Caliri carried the puck over the blueline and dished the pass to her winger, Davin Phinney, as she was breaking with speed up the boards. Phinney moved through the circle and flicked a backhand sauce pass to the top of the crease, finding Caliri, who never stopped crashing the net. Caliri collected the pass and tucked it past the pad of goaltender Kylie Whelan, tying the game at 5. Merely 14 seconds after the Caliri tally, and with the Thunderbirds on the attack, Mia Schenenga snuck one through shortside on Whelan, from low on the left-side circle, giving Schenenga her fourth goal of the night and the Thunderbirds a 6-5 lead.
With only minutes left to play it was now up to the Thunderbirds defense, along with the goaltending of sophomore Haley Davis to seal the victory. The SCMB offense was firing shots furiously and from every angle, throwing the puck towards the net and hoping to pounce on rebounds. The Thunderbirds goaltender faced 47 shots in the game, with 17 of those coming in the third period alone. As time wound down, SCMB increased their intensity for loose pucks with some physical play and were assessed a 2 minute minor for interference when Alyssa DiMaria inadvertently bumped into a Thunderbird defender, hindering the comeback effort.
The SCMB Co-Op were skating without their captain Jianna Truppi, but still found ways to generate offense, with Mia Stilley leading the charge. Even with the high flying offense of SCMB firing on all cylinders, they could not find a way to break through the brick wall in the Thunderbird's cage. Haley Davis was the biggest difference maker in the contest, having made several great saves at pivotal moments. With the Thunderbird's Schenenga scoring four times, coupled with the stellar goaltending of Davis, it was too much for the SCMB squad to overcome, in the third period.
SCMB 47 shots
CRN 29 Shots
SCMB Mia Stilley 2G, 1A
SCMB Hannah Murphy 2G
SCMB Lizzie Weston 2A
CRN Mia Schenenga 4 G
CRN Davin Phinney 5A
CRN Rosalina Caliri 2G 1A
CRN Lyric Watts 4A