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For Hurricanes girls hockey, a win is so close it hurts

  • Hartford High forward Greer McCarty (3) pressures Burr & Burton goaltender Lola Herzog on Monday while the Bulldogs' Stella Turner attempts to intervene. The host Hurricanes lost, 2-1, at Barwood Arena, suffering their 21st consecutive defeat. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hartford High defenseman Caitlin Slider pivots and looks up ice Monday during the Hurricanes' 2-1 loss to visiting Burr & Burton. The freshman from Thetford has been her team's best player, but despite her efforts, Hartford has lost 21 consecutive contests. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hartford High freshman Bebhinn Knudsen (37) leads a procession to the home bench after scoring the Hurricanes' goal Monday during a 2-1 loss to visiting Burr & Burton. The result was Hartford's 21st consecutive defeat during a winless streak that is at 28 games and stretches back more than a year. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hartford High's Isabel Stack (2) and Ceci Spaulding wait for the drop of the puck Monday during a 2-1 loss to visiting Burr & Burton. The Hurricanes have lost 21 consecutive games during a winless streak that is at 28 games and stretches back more than a year. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hartford High's Nora Knudsen, right, skates around Burr & Burton's Stella Turner during the teams' Monday game at Barwood Arena. The Hurricanes lost, 2-1, extending their losing streak to 21 games and their winless streak to 28 contests. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 2/17/2020 10:28:00 PM
Modified: 2/19/2020 6:26:14 PM

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — Greer McCarty’s tears came gradually Monday afternoon at Barwood Arena. The Hartford High girls hockey team’s co-captain had locked up her squad’s changing room and was discussing its 11th one-goal loss of the year when emotion overwhelmed the senior.

“All the effort, I don’t want to see it go to waste,” said McCarty, a member of successful Hurricanes field hockey and lacrosse teams who’s enduring a 21-game losing streak and a 27-game winless skid on the ice. “We’ve come a long way and I want to stick it out.”

Monday’s 2-1 loss to visiting Burr & Burton unfolded in what’s become typical fashion. Hartford fell behind 2-0 on a disputed play, then halved its deficit and swarmed the Bulldogs’ net in the final minutes, narrowly missing on several scoring chances.

“I think it’s mental because the girls can put together a good period, but when push comes to shove, we’re not ready,” said third-year coach Bill Goldsworthy, whose record at Hartford dropped to 3-53-3 and whose team hasn’t won since Jan. 19 of last year. “We don’t take a shot or we don’t crash the net because we’re afraid of getting in front of a shot.

“The girls try hard but winning is a state of mind and the losses hurt more than they used to, because they’re closer.”

Burr & Burton opened the scoring with three minutes remaining in the second period and nine seconds into a power play created when Nora Knudsen was penalized for cross-checking. Arden Wojtach scored with an assist from Penelope Francomb.

The Bulldogs (4-14) doubled their lead midway through the third period. Lauren Barrows took a Tatum Sands pass and skated in on goaltender Zoe Pfeiffer, beating her with a wrist shot over the leg pad and inside the right post.

Goldsworthy protested to no avail that the play was offsides.

Hartford (0-17) pulled within 2-1 with four minutes to play. Defenseman Julie McDermid took the puck behind the BBA net after a long rush up the left wing and found Bebhinn Knudsen out front. The diminutive freshman scored at the right post.

Pfeiffer made 12 saves while counterpart Lola Herzog stopped 30 shots. Notable for Hartford was the emergence of a third offensive line comprised of Anna Coutermarsh, Bebhinn Knudsen and Liv Hastings, a freshman from Thetford.

“They earned regular playing time today and were more fired up than our first and second lines,” McCarty said. “I’m so happy for them.”

Hartford principal Nelson Fogg attended the game and coached Hartford’s first varsity girls ice hockey team during the mid-1990s. He stayed on for 19 years and when he stepped down roughly a decade ago, the Hurricanes were still a winning program.

Fogg said he believes the merger of Hartford and Lebanon’s youth hockey programs around that time reduced the link between Hartford elementary and middle school girls and the varsity program.

In recent years, any girl in town wanting to play ice hockey needs to do so on a boys team or go to Hanover, where the Wild youth program offers girls-only squads.

Hartford athletic director Jeff Moreno said three of Woodstock’s better players could be skating for the Hurricanes but chose to instead be Wasps. Another talented Hartford freshman chose to play with a Wild U14 team and not for her school this winter.

“I have no control over who’s here, but I’m always looking for girls who want to play the game the right way and I think we do that,” Goldsworthy said. “We don’t have enough girls in just the Hartford pipeline and I would never go to another team and poach their players.

“If a player doesn’t come here just because of our win-loss record, maybe they wouldn’t fit in with us anyways.”

Quite a few Hurricanes didn’t start playing hockey until high school. In contrast is freshman defenseman Caitlin Slider, another Thetford product, who’s a veteran of the sport, has scored nine of her team’s 27 goals and who is aiming to play in college.

Slider also competes on the Wild’s top boys bantam team during the winter and for the New Hampshire Knights club program during the rest of the year. Her mother, Gail, said Monday that her daughter is “weighing her options” on where to compete next winter.

Goldsworthy said his team does some outreach clinics with younger players and schedules scrimmages so his less-experienced players get a chance to compete under game conditions. Hartford athletic director Jeff Moreno noted that, unlike some other sports, high school hockey coaches rarely have a hand in helping develop youth players and programs.

“You’re not quite sure where the kids are going to wind up,” Moreno said. “You’ve got girls from all the area towns playing in three different youth programs (Hanover, Hartford/Lebanon and Woodstock) and then there are other girls playing (for clubs) elsewhere.”

Regardless of who’s coaching and where they’re from, Goldsworthy will remain eternally optimistic.

“Three years ago, I wasn’t sure we’d still have a program at this point,” the coach said. “But the girls are just as committed as they were when we started the season. For me, that’s what it’s about. The wins and losses are tough, but they’re not why we’re here.”

Tris Wykes can be reached at twykes@vnews.com.

Correction

Liv Hastings is part of a third offensive lin e, with linemates Anna Coutermarsh and Bebhinn Knudsen, that has emerged over the course of the Hartford High girls hockey team’s season. Hastings was misidentified in an earlier version of this story.




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