For the most part, Burlington’s girl’s hockey coach Rick Sheehan knew what he had coming into this season.
Some young skilled forwards who could score and a solid defense led by two senior captains. However, what he didn’t know was what he had in new freshman goalie Isa Fischer, but those questions were answered all season long and punctuated with an exclamation point in Burlington’s 2-1 win over Winchester Saturday afternoon sending Burlington to the final eight of the Division II tournament.
Fischer made 24 saves in a game where Winchester outshot the Devils 25-11.
“Once you hit the playoffs everyone knows that goaltending is a big piece of it,” said Sheehan. “She actually has played really well. She handles rebounds and she finds the puck. She’s just been so consistent and played great today.”
The only slip up for Fischer came just 1:35 into the game when Winchester’s Georgia Costello snuck behind the Burlington defense and skated in alone beating Fischer through the pads.
With Winchester pushing hard through the first half of the period, Burlington needed a change in momentum and got it.
Emma Steiner picked up a loose puck near the red line, took a few strides and dumped the puck towards the Winchester net and it eluded goalie Molly Hillier to tie the game at one.
The deciding goal came in the early half of the second period when Katherine Geswell chased down a loose puck near the right-wing boards and slid a cross ice pass to Caitlyn Tremblay who redirected it past Hillier for a 2-1 lead.
From there, it was left to Fischer who made a couple key saves in the second period, including one off the facemask which did not phase the freshman.
The other key component to the win was the Devils penalty kill, killing off four Winchester power plays. The defense was strong in front of Fischer led by the play of Katie Hayes and Mia Lauder, and senior captains Abby Sousa and Lizzie Boulos, who have led the group all season.
“They are very positive with this group and that is the leadership you look for,” Sheehan said of his two senior captains. “They are strong role models, and they are good leaders and very positive which is what I want them to be.”
It was a milestone victory for the Devils, notching their 16th win of the season, a high for the program.
The victory sends Burlington to a clash with Archbishop Williams (18-3-1) on Wednesday night at 7:00 pm at the Canton Ice House.