CANTON — On paper, it appeared the senior-laden No. 2 seeded Norwell girls hockey team might have the advantage over a young 18th-seeded Burlington team in its state Division 2 first round game at Canton Ice Arena on Monday night.
On the ice, the result turned out just that way as Norwell broke out to a 3-0 first-period lead and cruised to a 7-1 victory to advance to the quarterfinals against Notre Dame Academy.
“We gave it our all, but they just had some kids with bigger, faster, and stronger legs,” said Burlington coach Rick Sheehan.
Senior Casey Ward got Norwell on the board just 1:13 into the opening period when she snuck behind the Burlington defense and moved to a backhander past Burlington goalie Colleen McMakin.
Midway through the period, senior Brenna McDonald stole the puck at the Burlington blue line, walked in, and went top corner over McMakin to make it 2-0.
The back-breaking goal came with just 41 seconds left in the period when Burlington could not clear the zone and Casey Messina found a streaking Ward who tapped the puck home for a 3-0 lead.
Early in the second period, the Devils showed life when eighth-grader Siena Berardinelli skated in a on a breakaway and went backhand to forehand, slipping the puck past Norwell goalie Nicole Prescott.
However, just 36 seconds later, a sliding puck to the Burlington net was unable to be covered by McMakin and Maddie Hohmann tapped home the loose puck.
Midway through the period, the lead stretched to 5-1 when Kylie Acerra re-directed a point shot from MacDonald past McMakin.
The lead could have been more if not for McMakin who made 12 second period saves.
Norwell started the third period on a five on three power play, but the Devils killed it off thanks to strong penalty killing from Berardinelli, Bella Hacker, and Lizzie Boulos.
Burlington would pour nine shots on net over the final period, but none would crack Prescott (21 saves on the night).
Norwell would add two late goals, a power play marker from Emma Breen and an even strength goal from Lizzy Carnes.
Burlington finished the season with an overall record of 11-9-2, this a year after a winless season.
“It was a lot of fun and the girls were a great group of girls in the locker room with a lot of different personalities,” said Sheehan. “There were a lot of coachable kids and you don’t know what you got when you walk into it as a new coach. I would love to coach all these kids again. It took some time for these kids to learn how to win and they battled all year long.”