FITCHBURG – The Leominster High school co-operative girls’ hockey team rang in the new year by getting back on the winning track Monday afternoon.
Against visiting St. Joseph Prep, the Blue Devils bounced back after a tough one-goal loss on Dec. 30 with a 5-0 victory in a matinee game at the Wallace Civic Center’.
Leominster is now 4-2-1 on the season with the triumph, while the visiting Phoenix fall to 1-5.
“I was very happy with what I saw from our team today. We got back to playing our game with us dictating the tempo,” said Blue Devils head coach Nancy LeBlanc. “For the past few games, we weren’t playing our game. We were sloppy and getting away from the fundamentals. Today, we hustled and played three full periods.”
Blue Devils eighth-grade net minder Carina Eshbaugh made 15 saves to preserve the shutout between the pipes for the home team.
Leominster outshot the Phoenix 44-15 in the victory.
“When we put 44 shots on net, we expect good things to happen,” said LeBlanc. “Last game, we were held to 14 shots on net and we’re a better team than that. We showed it today.”
Offensively, the Blue Devils were led by the duo of Allison Neiley and Kaylin Hawkins, who each finished the contest with a pair of goals. Amanda Allan contributed a goal and an assist for the winners on Monday.
Leominster teammates Carley Ehwa, Alyssa Allan and Rachel Simkewicz also had a hand in the victory as they each registered assists.
Leominster took a 2-0 lead after the first 15 minutes as Neiley and Hawkins lit the lamp 6:20 and 9:58 into the stanza, respectively. The hosts carried the play for the majority of the opening period as it peppered St. Joseph goalie Katie Dolson (39 saves) with 13 shots on goal.
In the second period, Leominster tacked on two more and enjoyed a 4-0 upper hand heading into the second intermission. Allan and Hawkins tallied goals 40 seconds apart for the Blue Devils.
Leominster capped the scoring when Neiley potted her second of the game at the 11:02 mark to make it 5-0.
Monday’s game was a clean game for the most part as it saw only two penalties combined in 45 minutes of action, with each team committing just one penalty.
“It’s nice to play the majority of the game five-on-five,” said LeBlanc. “I thought we did a pretty good job keeping our feet moving and playing together as a team and staying out of the penalty box.”
Leominster will return to the Wallace Civic Center ice for its next contest on Jan. 9 when the Blue Devils meet Central Catholic for the second time this season. The Blue Devils secured a 2-1 victory over the Raiders on Dec. 28 at the Salem Ice Center in Salem, New Hampshire.