Photo: Senior co-captain Molly Driscoll has 16 goals this season
The script the Belmont High Girls’ Ice Hockey squad has been following in the 2023-24 season is fairly straight forward: Have Molly score and let Jil do the rest.
That was certainly the case on Wednesday, Feb. 8 when senior co-captain Molly Driscoll scored in the first period and sophomore goalie Jil Costa stopped each of the 44 shots for her 8th shutout of the season as the host Marauders secured a hard-earned 1-0 shutout against the Reading High Rockets in a Middlesex Liberty showdown at John A. Ryan Rink in Watertown.
Wednesday night’s victory gives the Marauders double digit wins this season and they remain the only undefeated team in all divisions of the MIAA at 10-0-3 record.
Driscoll scored her 16th goal of the campaign on a nice pass from line mate sophomore Evey Long less than four minutes into the game. It was up to Costa to stand tall in net in the second period with Belmont playing short handed including nearly two minutes when they were down to three skaters.
“That was a good effort, obviously from [Costa] who turned everything aside,” said first-year Head Coach Brendan Kelleher. “We kind of bent a little late in the second [period] and the third but we didn’t break and she was a big reason why we won letting nothing through.”
Belmont defense, lead by first liners sophomore Thea Monovich and senior co-captain Aislin Devaney, kept the Rocket attackers at bay forcing the wingers to the side boards while using their long reach to poke check Rocket forwards attempts.
“They’re blocking a lot of shots,” Kelleher said. “We kept shots contained to the outside and away from the goal scoring area in the middle.”
Belmont’s next big challenge awaits them in less than 24 hours on Thursday, Feb. 8, as the 14th-ranked Marauders head to Burlington for a rematch against the 5th-ranked Red Devils, a fortnight since the teams battled to an thrilling overtime 2-2 draw.
The Red Devils will host Belmont with an impressive 12-1-2 record, its only lost to Malden Catholic early in the season, a defeat Burlington redressed in beating the Lancers last month.
Burlington put on the ice a mix of experience – seven seniors, four of whom Renee Flett, and captains Shea McDonald (the team’s leading scorer with five goals and 11 assists), Katie Hayes, and Mia Lauder who are in their sixth season playing varsity ice hockey – and youth with five middle schoolers playing significant minutes.
On the Belmont side of the ice, the Marauders rely on its first offensive line for its scoring punch with Watertown-native Driscoll – a state all-scholastic in field hockey who is committed to Boston University – centering Belmont senior co-captain Lola Rocci and Long.
Thursday will be a night where a pair of sophomore goaltenders will be key for both teams. Burlington’s Isa Fischer and Belmont’s Costa each are allowing less than a goal a game. In Belmont’s past two games, Costa was a steady presence, shutting down Woburn while giving up a lone goal against Lexington while playing shorthanded five-on-three.
The last time they met, Burlington would take the lead twice through Abby Wojtaszik and McDonald only to see Driscoll come through with a brace, the final tally coming late in the third period. Draped by a pair of defenders, Driscoll sent a laser of a pass back to Rocci who took the shot. While Fischer made the initial stop, the puck rebound in the crease where Driscoll was parked. In true Phil Esposito fashion, the senior buried the puck with 2:59 remaining.
“[All] these games are big this time of year,” said Kelleher. “It could be a lot easier for me and the rest of the coaches to have a few more goals on the board.”