RANDOLPH — Sparked by a strong penalty kill and two early second period goals, the Braintree girls’ hockey team held on for a 3-2 preliminary-round victory over Barnstable in the MIAA Division 1 tournament on Wednesday at Zapustas Arena.
Braintree (16-4-1), the No. 8 seed, was assessed five penalties, including two in a 30-second span midway through the third period. The Wamps limited Barnstable to just three shots and very few scoring chances, if any, on the power play.
“Game plan fell apart end of the second,” said Braintree coach Kevin Burchill. “Too many penalties, we killed them, and I’m happy that we’re moving on, but if we play a better team we’ll be out [of the tournament].”
Next up is ninth-seeded Boston Latin (TBA).
Leading 1-0 after freshman Maggie Burchill’s first-period tally, Braintree netted two goals in the opening two minutes of the second period to stretch its lead.
Junior Abby Holland struck first on the power play, a goal quickly followed by classmate Elizabeth Connelly’s first career tally.
“I said first three or four shifts we got to be relentless,” said Kevin Burchill. “Just keep going to net and we got one.”
Despite taking just nine shots for the game, Barnstable (11-9-1) generated seven odd-player rushes, scoring on two.
Sophomore Sarah Schoote got the Raiders on the board in the second and senior Seanna McEneaney tipped home another late in the third period.
In a frantic final sequence, Braintree recorded two of its 10 blocked shots to knock away any hope of a Barnstable comeback.
“When you give a team hope, anything can happen,” said Kevin Burchill. “You can’t give a team anything, it’s playoff hockey. We were very sloppy in the second half of the game.”
Dan Shulman can be reached at email@example.com.