Walpole, MA - This weekend the Walpole Express Women’s Junior team hit the ground running in their first showcase of the new year. Friday night they faced off against the PA Quakers, a familiar foe this season as this was the third match up between the two squads. The Express women came out of the gates with lots of energy and dominated play from the beginning. Just five minutes into the game, Captain Allie Damren was able to convert on a short-handed opportunity. Though the Express were down a player, Damren gathered the puck in the neutral zone, drove down the right wing and launched a spectacular wrist shot over the glove hand of the Quaker goalie. In dramatic fashion, the puck rang off the cross bar and straight down into the net, giving the Express an early lead.
Just four minutes later, Damren struck again -- this time with the help of linemates Maeghan Vasile and Kailey Jacobs. The three worked the puck around the offensive zone with great ease and precision, and were peppered the goalie with shots until Damren hammered home a rebound for her second of the game. In the second half of the game, Damren’s line was once again able to capitalize, this time with Jacobs tallying the goal. Jacobs converted off of a great feed from defenseman Kat Elliot to cap off the scoring in a 3-0 win for the Express. Coming up huge in net was goaltender Julia Johnson. In yet another shutout victory for the goaltender, Johnson played with poise and determination for the entirety of the game, and came up with huge saves.
Walpole closed out the first half with a solid 2-0 lead, and quickly widened the gap in the second half, making it 4-0 before the Bandits could tally one themselves. Kieft was able to net her second of the game and eleventh of the season to push the lead to three, before Lauren White scored both the fourth and fifth goals for the Express women. Jess Olivieri stood tall in net for the Express and made timely saves to keep the Bandits to just one goal.
Top to bottom, this win for the Express women was a full team effort with every player putting in a great effort, and the results presenting themselves on the scoreboard. In particular, wingers Bri Luciani and Vasile were outstanding. They both worked tirelessly all over the ice to help their team control the game. Their energy and hard work created a fast-paced game and helped elevate the entire team’s game to a new level.
Fortunately, Johnson played at the top of her game to keep New Jersey off the scoreboard. Johnson stood on her head on numerous occasions, shutting down the Rockets offensive attempts and earning high praise from Coaches Battaglino and Hiller, as well as her teammates. While the ladies couldn’t come out on top with a win against the Rockets, they will use the tie as a motivator knowing they will see the Rockets again in the post season.
The Express women are back to work preparing to face the Wolfpack this upcoming weekend, and aim to learn from each week’s successes and failures to become a better unit moving forward.