By Joshua Boyd
The New England Hockey Club saved the game puck from their first game of the day on Jan. 21, 2017, for sure.
That date saw the NEHC’s very first Junior Women’s Hockey League victory, as they defeated the Boston Shamrocks, 3-2.
“We were up 3-0 until the last few minutes, and they scored their second goal with just five seconds left, but fortunately we ended with the win,” said NEHC owner/head coach Josh Hechter, a former coach for the Shamrocks.
“It was a great weekend of working hard. We’re getting incrementally better. We were able to put together a really solid team effort against Boston,” said Hechter. “Again, we were backstopped by Taylor Peltier, who was terrific in net.”
That, however, was the NEHC’s only victory at the JWHL’s Minnesota weekend. The NEHC lost three games, all to first-year JWHL club Ridley College.
“It was really exciting for the girls. We’ve had a little bit of success in the league, with some close games with Pacific [Steelers] and the [Washington] Pride. It was great for the girls to build on each one of those small victories, and to really prove we can compete and be a tough out in the playoffs.”
The JWHL weekend was a big showcase for the talents of Maxi Bird, a high school sophomore who Hechter sees as having a very bright hockey future.
“She’s going to be a force to be reckoned with moving forward. She can absolutely fly. She’s able to use her speed and create offense and be a pest on defense,” said Hechter. “Maxi can play defense, center or wing. She scored in our victory against Boston and also in one of the games against Ridley. Maxi also had two goals at the Northwood Invitational in Lake Placid, and she’s involved in the game in a whole bunch of ways that don’t show up on the scoresheet.”
It’s a busy February, with a lot of travel – first off is a trip to the JWHL weekend in British Columbia, and two weeks later is the JWHL Challenge Cup outside of Washington, D.C.
“We’ll also have an exhibition game later in February. We’re also going to have a league game against the North American Hockey Academy at the end of the girls’ exam week,” said Hechter. “We still have to play them two more times, and that’s also who we’ll probably play first in the playoffs.”
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