Bearing Down

Sandwich’s Olivia O’Brien backs down the Falmouth defense during the first period of the Knights’ game against the Clippers at Gallo on Wednesday night.

The two top girls’ hockey teams in the Cape and Islands League each did what they do best against one another on Wednesday night, February 10, at Gallo Ice Arena. The Falmouth girls’ biggest attribute is their ability to play tough, and get pucks to the net. Sandwich’s best asset is goalie Sophia Visceglio, who makes the best of shooters look bad.

Sandwich’s hope of earning at least a share of the Cape League championship hinged on the Lady Knights’ best bettering Falmouth’s, and then closing the season with some help. Visceglio was excellent, making 41 saves, but FHS sniper Ryann McDonald popped two goals and Falmouth swept the season series with the Knights by taking a 2-1 decision. The win all but assured that FHS (9-0) will be the top seed in the postseason tournament.

FHS head coach Brian Ferreira was pleased but not completely satisfied with his team’s effort.

“We played great, we played hard, but we played dumb a lot of times, we didn’t always play smart hockey, which cost us some scrambling at the end,” Ferreira said. “I don’t think that we’ve played a 45-minute game. The first period against Barnstable, the first period tonight, we played a really good first period. I’m waiting for us to play 45 full minutes, and we’ve got nobody easy left, so hopefully we start to do that soon.”

Falmouth dominated the first period to the tune of an 18-4 advantage in shots on goal, but Visceglio kept SHS in the game with 17 saves. Falmouth’s lone goal came from Ryann McDonald at the 11:05 mark when. Moments after hitting the crossbar, she went in and dangled one past the keeper to give FHS the lead.

Sandwich got that back in the second period at the 11:35 mark. After Falmouth had had several changes to get some insurance, including a penalty shot that Visceglio kicked aside, the Knights drew even on a well-timed rebound shot by Adrianna Kelsch. Lucy Armour kicked aside a snap shot from Maura McIver, but Kelsch popped in the carom to knot things up.

In the third period Falmouth wore down Sandwich. The Clippers, who had outshot SHS 18-4 in the first, enjoyed a 17-5 margin in their favor in the third. McDonald scored her second of the game, from Abby McDonald and Taytum Cox, at the 1:14 mark to make it 2-1. Sam McKenzie appeared to score an insurance goal after that, but the puck hit the back iron and bounced out of the net.

Sandwich’s best chance to get even came midway through the period. With Jayden Ghelfi in goal for FHS, Keslch and McIver once again put consecutive shots on net quickly. Ghelfi handled the first and covered up the second to keep the Clippers ahead.

“Sophia’s been awesome since day one,” SHS coach Steve Noll said. “I think they play heavier than us. They’re better with their bodies and their size. We were a little bit hesitant getting to pucks...I think we were a little sloppy making passes out and being a little soft with our passes.”

Falmouth improved to 9-0 overall. Sandwich is 7-2-1.

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