BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. – With only one game under its belt in the last 15 days, Westwood girls’ hockey head coach Justin DeSorgher was worried how long it was take his Wolverines to get their feet back under them.
But those worries were put to sleep early as just 21 seconds into the game Kim Egizi scored her first of three goals on a deflection down low, leading the fourth-seeded Wolverines to a 4-2 victory over No. 12 Shrewsbury in the Div. 2 quarterfinals.
“Last game we had a rough first period,” said Edizi. “Our goal was to go in in that first period and go as hard as we possibly could and that first couple shirts and just get it low and get that momentum.”
The Wolverines used their team speed to slow own the Shrewsbury attack and dominate time on attack, as seen with their 21-11 shot advantage. The standout was the second period when the Wolverines launched 10 shots on net and broke through for two power-play goals, both from Egizi.
Staring down a 3-1 deficit heading into the third period, the Colonials caught a break and build up some momentum to end the period.
With 1:23 left in the period, Lauren Ineson picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and skated in for a breakaway, to bring Shrewsbury within one.
“Big, big momentum and we almost scored with 10 seconds to go right after that,” Shrewsbury head coach Frank Panarelli said. “But we had some momentum but just a couple bounces and breaks weren’t there.”
But Westwood stiffened up in the third period and kept the Colonials off the board while getting an insurance goal from Ela Hazar to advance into the semifinals.
“We can score quick, I actually like how we more than when we scored,” DeSorgher said. “I thought our two big advantages against that team were speed and depth.”
“Overall I wasn’t happy with our speed and I thought we played to their level a little bit.”
Crashing the net: The Westwood goals weren’t flashy but were plenty effective. Over the past two weeks, the Wolverines have been preaching to keep the puck low and crash the net and Egizi bought into that system.
“I think one of our goals were to get shots on net and just crash and all three of my goals were out in front of the net,” said Egizi. “Lauren White was just rocketing shots from the top and I was just in front of the net and got my stick on it.”
Having a pair of power play goals in the middle period was the difference for Westwood, once again set up by getting bodies in front.
“We had a shot from the point and got bodies in front and we got a piece of it,”
DeSorgher said. “We have tried to preach that and been successful when we do it but get away from it at times.”
Back to the semifinals: Another year, another trip to the semifinals for Westwood. This marks the third year in a row that the Wolverines are on the cusp of playing at the Garden.
With Falmouth on the other side of the Div. 2 bracket, the Wolverines will avoid their kryptonite that has ended their season the last two years.
With their repeated success in the postseason over the last three years however, Westwood doesn’t take it for granted.
“If you make an expectation of something that tangible and don’t make it, how do you feel?” said DeSorgher. “We want to keep improving each day and get better and better.”