The girls varsity ice hockey team, seeded seventh, defeated No. 2 Tabor Academy 4-3 in overtime on Wednesday, March 4, in the New England Prep School Athletic Conference Elite Eight Tournament quarterfinal, advancing to the semifinal against Phillips Andover Academy on Saturday, March 7.
The long bus trip clearly affected the Pelicans, as they came out sluggish and unorganized, allowing Tabor to score a goal within the first two minutes on a 2-on-1 opportunity. The Pelicans did, however, pick up the pace by the end of the first period and created opportunities for themselves before heading back into the locker room for the first intermission down a goal.
The start of the second period played out much like the end of the first, as the Pelicans were able to create chances but couldn’t get the puck past the Tabor goalie. Eventually the Pelican pressure broke down, and Tabor found the back of the net twice in the last five minutes of the period, to take a 3-0 lead.
At the start of the third period junior goaltender Elinor Keehn made a couple of big saves between the pipes and the momentum shifted in favor of Loomis. With nine minutes left on the clock and after a flurry of offensive chances, junior Caroline Appleyard tipped sophomore Sophia Testa’s shot past the Tabor goalie.
With six minutes left and Loomis’ foot still on the gas, junior Paige Larose passed to senior Jenna Donohue, who fired a powerful shot right past the Tabor goaltender, causing an eruption on the bench and quieting the Tabor home crowd. It was now a one-goal game.
Tabor pushed back hard after giving up the second goal, but the Loomis defense stood strong, playing great in their own zone and causing turnovers all over the ice. After a tough defensive stand, head coach Liz Leyden pulled the Pelicans’ goalie for the extra attacker with just under two minutes to play. Donohue found sophomore Cally Dixon streaking through the neutral zone, and Dixon collected the puck and fired a laser above the Tabor goalie’s blocker on the breakaway, tying the game at three and forcing an overtime period.
With momentum on their side, the Pelicans were all over Tabor for the first two minutes of overtime. After a couple of quality opportunities in front of the Tabor net, Appleyard forechecked hard and stole the puck from a Tabor defender, came out of the corner, got a shot on net, and then put home her own rebound, causing a bench-clearing celebration for the ages.
With the win, the Pelicans will take on No. 6-seeded Phillips Andover on Saturday, March 7 at Phillips Andover Academy. The time of the game has yet to be determined. A week ago the Pelicans lost to Andover in overtime. Livestream details for the game will be released later in the week.