FITCHBURG —The Leominster girls hockey team hit the ice Friday evening looking to string together back-to-back wins heading into the Christmas break.
The Blue Devils continued their strong play as they found the back of the net four times en route to a 4-1 victory over visiting Auburn at the Wallace Civic Center.
Leominster improves to 2-1-1 overall on the season and hands Auburn its first loss of the campaign. The Rockets drop to 2-1-1.
“I saw solid play from our girls for the entire game. We came out a little sloppy early on in our last game but tonight, from the opening faceoff, I thought we passed the puck well and we had some greats shots on net,” said Leominster head coach Nancy LeBlanc, now in her sixth season at the helm for the Blue Devils. “This was a true team win, everybody contributed to this one tonight.”
For Leominster, Friday night’s result came on the heels of a 3-0 win at home against Brookline on Wednesday.
As for Friday night’s contest, Leominster dominated the opening period as it peppered Auburn goalie Tori Horne (32 saves) with 12 shots on goal. Despite carrying the play for the majority of the opening stanza, the game remained scoreless until the final minute.
A pair of Auburn penalties gave the Blue Devils a 5-on-3 advantage with a minute left on the clock and Leominster took advantage as it netted a pair of power-play goals to take a 2-0 lead into the locker room for the first intermission. Carrismas Heinis and Rachel Simkewicz each lit the lamp for the hosts at 14:14 and 14:47 of the first period, respectively.
“That was huge,” said LeBlanc. “We told them in the locker room that we can’t let up because Auburn is a good team and strike quickly.”
That’s just what the Rockets did as they cut the deficit in half 7:06 into the second period when Izzy Spencer beat Blue Devils goalie Carina Eshbaugh (11 saves) to make it a 2-1 game.
Leominster answered in the second period with a goal from Madison Salovardos with 2:16 remaining in the middle frame to put Leominster up 3-1 through two periods.
In the final 15 minutes, Leominster refused to let Auburn chip away as it maintained the upper hand. The Blue Devils outshot Auburn 11-3 in the final period and 36-12 in the game.
Leominster one more insurance goal for good measure with 3:18 remaining when Heinis netted her second of the game to make it 4-1.
Leominster is a co-op team with Lunenburg, Ayer-Shirley Regional, Clinton, Sizer School, West Boylston, North Middlesex Regional and Groton-Dunstable Regional.
“This is a great group. We have a ton of new faces, it’s a bigger team than we’ve had in the past and they’ve just clicked,” said LeBlanc. “They work really hard and they’ve come together as a team both on and off the ice.”
The Blue Devils return to action on Dec. 28 when they travel to the Salem Ice Center in Salem, New Hampshire, to take on Central Catholic High School.