CANTON, Mass. — Walpole girls' hockey head coach Joe Verderber is working in a position of power after the Rebels dominated previously undefeated Norwood with a 6-1 victory last night at Canton Metrolpolis Rink.
The Rebels now have an upper hand in the Bay State Conference division with a 7-0-1 record, and it’s hard to find a better starting backline in Brooke Matherson and Delaney Harrop.
The duo neutralized the speedy Karyn Colomey and Kacie Smith, and kept Mustangs’ captain Hayley O’Rourke off the score sheet and away from the front of the net for the majority of the night.
“They did a phenomenal job of shutting down the front of the net and they held the blue line and red line,” Verderber said. “You ask for a defenseman to step up and keep the play in the other zone and they did a good job of doing that.”
Defense is one thing with the duo of Matherson and Harrop, but its their ability to start offensive rushes from their own zone and get other players involved that might set them apart. Matherson took care of most of the scoring on this night with a hat-trick and several rushes towards the net that led to other scoring opportunities.
“It’s a huge positive,” Verderber said. “Either one of those girls can take the puck at any give point in time and go through anybody. [Matherson] is probably one of the best skaters out there in high school hockey and obviously very talented. We essentially have four or five forwards on the ice at any time.”
Matherson got the second goal of the game when she worked her way to the high slot and Olivia Knight slid her a pass from behind the net. Matherson snapped a wrister past the Mustangs goalie for a 2-0 lead with 3:14 left in the first.
Her second goal was probably her most highlight worthy of the night as she took the puck from her own defensive zone all the way through the neutral zone and snapped one under the crossbar with 3:56 left and a 4-0 lead. The puck just got over the shoulder and actually popped out of the goal, but the referee was in good position to see that the puck actually got under the crossbar and over the goal-line for the tally.
Colomey banged home a rebound at 4:13 of the third period, but Matherson responded to get the five-goal lead back when she sent another wrist shot from the top of the right circle in at 6:57.
“With Brooke a lot of times literally focus in on her and try to shut her down,” said Verderber. “Tonight she was a little more focused on defense and it opened up the ice for her.”