LYNN, Mass. -- Hingham girls' hockey freshman goalie Taylor Walsh has but two games under belt so far, but she's already playing like a seasoned veteran.
Walsh made 17 saves, including three big ones in the first period, while Jane Freda led the offense with two goals and an assist to help No. 2 Hingham claim a 3-1 triumph over No. 3 St. Mary's Wednesday night at Connery Rink.
In the early stages of a back and forth game with the Harborwomen (2-0) holding a 1-0 lead courtesy of Freda's first tally, Walsh stoned the Spartans' Alison Butler on a breakaway, covered a loose puck in the crease with Butler jamming away, and shot her left pad out just in time to a great bid on the far post by Gina Beth Manganiello.
Then, with 1:40 remaining and the Spartans desperately trying to make something happen facing a two-goal deficit, Walsh reacted in the nick time to cover up a perfect one-time snap shot off the stick of Brittani Lanzilli.
"I was very happy with my goalie and I thought she did great as a freshman," Hingham head coach Tom Findley said. "Then she made that great save on Lanzilli. It's nice to see. That's going to gain confidence for her as a freshman."
The Harborwomen didn't get many chances as St. Mary's sophomore netminder Lauren Skinnion turned her best performance so far with 23 stops, but they cashed in on the ones that presented themselves.
Freda's first goal came off a nice pass from Sarah Schwenzfeier that went off the side boards and found her in stride for a breakaway. Her second came just over five minutes into the third period thanks to a smart play by sophomore Tori Messina, who intentionally sent a shot from the point wide.
The puck caromed off the back boards and landed right on Freda's stick for an easy score. Schwenzfeier added the insurance goal with 2:55 left to play with assists from linemates Freda and Catherine Linehan.
Lanzilli came close to making it a one goal game as Kaleigh Finigan set up her up for a hard one-timer, but Walsh got there in time to make the stop.
"One thing about our team is, we're resilient and they are going to play the same game all three periods which is nice to see," Findley said. "It's always good to come away with the win but we want to be able to be at a high level once February and March comes."
While the Spartans are still a work in progress, they showed tremendous strides from their previous outing, a 5-0 loss against Woburn. It's likely just a matter of time before the Spartans talented forwards start turning those chances into goals, and Skinnion's promising effort will be confidence booster.
"I thought the brightest spot tonight was Lauren Skinnion, I thought she played tremendous tonight," Spartans head coach Frank Pagliuca said. "If she plays like that, we're going to be fine. Hingham's a great team, obviously, and they finished their chances and we didn't. It was a measuring stick for us and we know where we stand right now but we're going to be fine."