Girls Hockey Wins First Home Game In Program History

The girls varsity hockey team won their first home game in program history Wednesday evening, defeating the West/East Bridgewater Vikings 5-4. Sophomore winger and number 17 Bailey Lower led the way for Nantucket with a four goal night and her first career hat trick.

“I feel like we were just really hyped up because we knew we could beat this team, but we went into this game humble,” Lower said. “It feels really great to get that first home win because I know there are going to be more to come.”

The program is in the midst of its third season. They earned their first overall win as a program last year on the road against Martha’s Vineyard by a score of 5-4 as well.

The Whalers also received key performances Wednesday night from senior captain Evelyn Fey, who had four assists, and assistant captain Claire Misurelli, who scored the fifth goal and was the hardest working player all night for the Whalers with a strong three-zone game.

The Whalers let up the first goal of the game, but Fey raced up the ice four minutes later and dished a cross ice feed to Lower that she was able to bury for her first goal to tie the game 1-1.

But Lower wasn’t close to being done. She went on to score two more goals in the period, both assisted by Fey, to notch a natural hat trick in the first period and give the Whalers a 3-1 lead going into the first intermission.

“I felt really good playing with Evelyn even though I don’t normally play with her,” Lower said. “I feel like we have always played really well together especially because we play together in lacrosse too.”

The Whalers lead was cut to 3-2 with 12:19 to go in the second period. Both teams continued to trade offensive chances, but it was Lower once again who was able to rip a shot from the slot that found its way to the back of the net to make it 4-2 with 3:47 to go in the second period.

“I thought we came out pretty strong but when they got chippy we got chippy,” assistant coach Cassie Thompson said. “So penalties kind of hurt us. But we were able to get some girls in who played in their first hockey game because of how well we were playing, which is really important to us.”

Misurelli added her goal two minutes later by outworking the opposing defensemen for the puck to give Nantucket a 5-2 lead after two periods.

An undisciplined penalty by Lower gave the Vikings a five minute major power play late in the period.

“We don’t win that game without Bailey’s four goals,” Thompson said. “That penalty at the end of the game she committed killed us, but she knows that. So I don’t think we need to beat her up about it”

The Vikings made it 5-3 with 2:17 left in the game and 5-4 with 51 seconds remaining. The Whalers looked to be on the brink of losing their grip on the lead, but did just enough in the final seconds to clinch the victory.

“This is a big deal,” Thompson said. “They have worked hard and last year we almost had that first home win against the Vineyard but came up just short. This program is new, we are growing, and we have the girls here who want to be here. They work hard in practice and they deserve this.”

“I thought it was a good team win,” assistant coach Max Perkins said. “I thought penalties hurt us so moving forward we just have to work on not stooping down to the other team’s chippy style and rising to the occasion. I’m just happy we put the goals in that we did early on and preserve the win.”

Head coach Liz Collins was unable to coach Wednesday night due to COVID protocols, but was watching the game from her home through the livestream pacing back and forth as she held hope her team could pull out a win.

“This win is everything,” Collins said. “When we won our first game, we did it on the road and didn’t have any fans. This win was way more special with it being at home and having the fans behind us who have been supporting us from the first day of this program. Building up from day one to where we are now is something incredibly special to me. I couldn’t be happier. The girls deserve this. They work so hard.”

The Whalers will now enjoy the holiday break for a few days before hitting the ice again on Monday, December 27, at 2 p.m. when they host Martha’s Vineyard.

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