ORLEANS ─ The 2016-17 season is officially under way for the Furies girls varsity ice hockey team, and so far head coach Scott Rebello is pleased with their performances, which include an opening 9-2 victory against Stoughton, tough losses to Falmouth and Pembroke, and a hard-fought 1-1 tie against Bishop Fenwick.
Most recently the Furies, a team comprised of players from Monomoy, Cape Cod Tech, and Nauset high schools, hosted Pembroke on their home ice at the Charles Moore Arena, staying in the fight even as they fell 5-0.
Penalties ruled the night, with Pembroke posting 10 total, leading to the departure of one of their key players, and the Furies eight, including one that saw Brianna Cowing (Nauset) earn back-to-back stints in the box, much to her surprise.
“I was just trying to skate with her and get the puck,” Cowing said of her Pembroke opponent following the slashing calls.
The game was decidedly physical, and in spite of Pembroke's quintuple scores, Furies' goaltender Molly McKenna (Monomoy) fended off a slew of shots on net for an impressive performance.
“It was a toughie,” said Rebello. “The game had everything in it. It had some scoring, the chippiness, and the penalties that go along with that style of play, but from our standpoint we got to see our kids take a step up from what was going on.”
Last year marked the first that Monomoy joined the Furies, which this season is a relatively young team Rebello said. Most players, however, are bringing with them some experience, something Rebello noted is a big positive.
“We're learning a lot,” Rebello said. “We're young, [but] we've got a little bit of experience that's key when it comes to guiding these kids. You can see that they're responding to the miscues that they were making at the beginning of the season.”
Pembroke hit the scoreboard first in the opening period, but was held scoreless for the remainder of the frame thanks to a concerted effort by the Furies' defense. Another goal for Pembroke made it 2-0 in the second, but it was the third that put the game away for the opponents, who scored three goals in the period.
In spite of the loss, Rebello said he saw good play from his team.
“We had three consistent efforts during the three periods,” he said.
Rebello said Pembroke's physical style of play, and the subsequent removal of top player Nikki Rinkus due to penalties, was a good lesson for the Furies.
“It's a great teaching tool,” he said. “Controlling your emotions is all part of the game, too.”
Rebello credited his whole team with a good effort, and gave kudos to Jodi Wahtola (Monomoy), Catheryn Ready (Cape Tech) and McKenna.
“Jodi is a freshman wing who can skate and fly,” he said. “And Molly McKenna has been a solid rock in goal for us and continues to just be the pillar on defense. Catheryn Ready, every shift she gives the same effort. There's no taking time off for her.”
Less than 12 hours later, the intrepid Furies boarded a bus at 6 a.m. on Sunday for a match against Bishop Fenwick in Peabody, coming away with a 1-1 tie.
“We were lucky to get out of there with a tie the way their goaltender was playing,” said Rebello, who also praised his players for their tireless efforts so soon after the Pembroke game. “You would think that coming off the previous night's hard-fought loss to No. 3 in the state, Pembroke, and that the early departure would take its toll on the Furies, but that was not the case.”
Rebello said the Furies rose to the challenge, dominating the first period, firing nine shots on the Crusaders' goalie while killing three penalties of their own.
Mckenna was once again spot on in net for the Furies until a defensive breakdown in front of the net halfway through the second period allowed Bishop Fenwick to find the scoreboard. Junior Maura Blute (Monomoy) responded by nearly tying the game on multiple occasions during the first two periods, while Wahtola and Kira Ridley (Monomoy) were creating plenty of scoring chances offensively.
Those chances materialized in the game's final four minutes when Cowing won a face off to junior wing Lauren Monger (Nauset), who shot the puck to defenseman Elsa Lalone (Nauset), with Lalone seizing her opportunity.
“She ripped a pro league wrist shot into the upper stick-side corner of the net to tie the game,” said Rebello, who added that McKenna preserved the tie by holding off a last minute 2-on-1.
Rebello was thrilled with the final score.
“I can't emphasize enough that we were able to respond, play a tough, tough game against Pembroke, and then catch a bus at six the next morning for the next game,” he said. “Hats off to [the Furies]. They came right out and absolutely dominated the play. If it wasn't for their goaltender, we might have won. When it got right down to do or die we were looking to do that and ran out of time.”
Based on what he's seen so far, Rebello feels pretty good about the season's remainder, which next includes a 5:30 p.m. home game at Charles Moore against Bourne on Dec. 28 .
“We've all got tools we need to work on, but they're starting to grasp earlier than they did last year. Now we've got to make sure all those skills are applied,” Rebello said. “I think we're going to get to where we want to be faster because they are a little more hockey savvy this year.”