HIGHGATE – The first time the Missisquoi girls’ hockey team faced off against Rice, it did just enough to come away with a late game-winning goal in the season-opener.
Saturday night was a little different.
The Thunderbirds set the tone early in the first five minutes keeping the puck in the Rice zone and getting an early goal, but from there it was all Rice.
Despite getting outshot 8-4 in the first period, the Thunderbirds held a 1-0 lead. In the second period, Rice tallied five goals and Missisquoi was called for four penalties, as the Green Knights came away with a 5-1 win to even the season series at one game apiece.
“We just had a rough second period out there today,” said Missisquoi coach Wynn Paradee. “(Rice) seemed to be in low gear the first five minutes of the game and we got ahead, but they took over the last 10 minutes of the first and we were lucky to be ahead. But the second just got to us.”
It was a similar game to when the two teams met up in the season opener, which the Thunderbirds came away with a 4-3 win.
The difference this time was the Thunderbirds let up too many easy chances from in close to their own net, which accounted for all five of the Green Knights’ goals.
“We always keep talking about have to take care of ‘our house’,” said Paradee. “That’s the area right in front of the net and all five goals came from just in front of the goalie on her blocker side, which can’t happen. If they got their goals from shots at the point, then that’s one thing, but we were letting them skate right up to the net and take close shots.”
Olivia Thayer got the scoring started early in the first period.
She received a pass behind the net from Adrianna Dostie and put a wraparound between the pad of Rice goalie Becca Tudor (11 saves) and the post for the early 1-0 lead.
From there it was all Rice, as it ended up outshooting Missisquoi 28-12 in the game.
“(Rice) defense is very fast and good,” said Paradee. “They have an inexperienced goaltender, but if you don’t get shots to the net, you don’t have to have good goaltending.”
Rice got the scoring started in spurts early in the second period when Abby McKeown put a pair of goals in two minutes apart to give Rice the 2-1 advantage with nine minutes left in the second.
Kylie Corley, Clare Sheahan (powerplay) and Kate Buckley each added a goal in the final four minutes of the period to give the team a 5-1 lead. All of the goals were from between the circles.
It was a busy night in net for the Thundersbirds’ goalies, as Mikayla Hull stopped 16 shots in the first two periods and Makyla Bombardier stopped all seven shots she faced in the third period.
The Thunderbirds fell to 2-2 on the season and will look to get back in the win column when they travel to Hartford on Wednesday.
“We really have to do some work going forward,” said Paradee. “Our powerplay hasn’t looked good all season, but our penalty kill has been excellent. Tonight was the first powerplay goal we’ve given up and that was on a 5-on-3. But we have to shore up the defense in front of the net and do a better job on the powerplay.”