BOSTON -- Westwood got goals from six different players and outshot Wellesley, 41-29, on its way to a commanding 6-2 victory in the Division 2 girls’ hockey state championship game on Sunday morning at the TD Garden.
It was the program’s first title game appearance and first state title.
Senior Ela Hazar, who led the team with three points (goal and two assists), remarked, “I think that our whole team contributed to this win and all the wins in the playoffs. I think that we not only have a great offense, but a great defense and our goalie is amazing, so we have really good depth.”
“We’re lucky that I had the horses to run with that you’ve got enough people that we can play three lines,” said Westwood coach Justin DeSorgher about the Wolverines’ depth. “In the end, it wears other teams down and we’re able to take advantage.”
The Wolverines were in control almost right from the opening face-off. Westwood had a 17-10 edge in shots in the first period, but were not able to get the puck past Wellesley junior goalie Meghan King (36 saves).
“It’s a power skating team with explosive speed and explosive scoring capabilities, so we knew that could happen,” said Wellesley coach George Campbell, whose team was making its first state title appearance since winning it all in 2006. “We were hoping to get on top of them with some of our early chances, but we weren’t getting the bounces.”
With just 43.6 remaining in the first, the Wolverines finally got the breakthrough. Christine Regan’s shot from the point was saved by King but the rebound fell to Kat Heidelberger in the crease and the junior swatted it home to make it 1-0.
“Wellesley is obviously a great team and it was a really good first period and I think we had good momentum but to score right at the end kind of gives more momentum heading into the locker room,” said senior Kim Egizi, who had a goal and an assist in the final.
Westwood coach Justin DeSorgher added, “I thought we outplayed them overall in the first, so you’d like to have a little reward for that…to see that number up on the board. It’s a tangible reward and for the girls especially I think that meant a lot.”
It certainly seemed to give Westwood a lift as the Wolverines scored three times in the second period.
Egizi made it 2-0 five minutes into the second when she took the puck from out behind the goal and planted a backhand into the roof of the net. The goal seemed to spark the Raiders into life and Wellesley had one of its best spells of pressure in the game, but senior goal Siobhan Burke (27 saves) stopped two chances for leading scorer Cecily Docktor and cleared a scrum in front of the net.
Immediately after the chance for Wellesley at one end, Westwood took its chance down the other. Sophomore Jamie Burke was picked out in front of the net by senior Olivia Fay and her one-timer gave King no chance.
DeSorgher gave credit to his senior goalie.
“Siobhan was great today; Siobhan was on her game. They had about 2-3 shifts that we couldn’t get it out of the zone, we were running around, and you know Burkie makes a couple of saves, we settle things down, and get back to our game.”
Burke modestly passed the credit on to her teammates.
“I feel like the ‘D’ was really able to keep them out from the front of the net because they were crashing hard and they’re a talented team,” she explained.
Lauren White would add Westwood’s third goal of the period on a rocket of a wrist shot from the right faceoff dot. In the third period, Wellesley’s comeback hopes were dented by an early goal from Hazar that made it 5-0.
Sophomore Carley Boyle got the Raiders on the board with a one-timer from Keely Corscadden and then classmate Kiely Noonan tapped in a rebound between Burke’s pad and the post for a power play goal to make it 5-2 with 7:387 left.
Campbell said, “We thought going out for the third period that if we got one goal [we could] build on that. That’s what we were trying for. Giving up that fifth goal really hurt us, but the kids never gave up right to the very end.”
Kailey Jacobs, who had a breakaway chance saved in the second period, wrapped up the game two minutes later with a backhand after a Raiders turnover.
“It spooks you a little bit when you’ve got the other team scoring a couple of goals,” said DeSorgher. “We just talked about grinding out this win. It was nice to have a 5-0 cushion -- everything to the outside, everything in deep, no odd-man rushes.”
Four-year plan for Wolverines: As freshmen, the Westwood seniors did not make the playoffs. The past two seasons ended in semifinal defeats at Gallo Arena. Now, in their final year with the program, they can call themselves state champions -- the first in Westwood history.
“I think all four years we’ve been working with this and we’ve gotten better and better each year and had more talented kids come into the program and this was a great way to end four years of very, very hard work,” said Kim Egizi.
Ela Hazar added, “It started four years ago and we managed to finish it today. I think freshman year we were getting a feel for things and building up and the past two years we made it to playoffs…So, I think this year we just built up and we wanted it.”
For Siobhan Burke, the moment was still too new and it was difficult to reflect on just how far the program and the players had come in the past four seasons. The senior goalie remarked, “I have the best job in the world - I just sit there and watch the team.”
On Sunday, the best job got even better as Burke was able to watch her team lift the D2 state championship trophy.
“It doesn’t feel real yet,” she marveled. “It feels like I’m living a dream, so I’m waiting for it to hit me.”