JAYâ€“With their overtime win against MMU in the rearview mirror, the North Country girls hockey team cruised to the 5-1 win over U-32 Friday night at the Ice Haus Arena.
Said coach Claude Paul, "We talked before the game about that we have had a habit lately of playing two periods, or a period and a half, but never three, and that is what I wanted them to play tonight.
"Granted in the first we had our moments, but I think that is more a feeling out of your opponent at that time of the game."
The Raiders were out shot sixteen to four in the first period, but they managed to grab the lead on an early power-play.
Ashley Daigle barely had a chance to sit down in the box before Stacy Woolaver let loose a low slap shot that found the far corner of the Falcon net for the 1-0 lead.
With memories of that 3-0 first period deficit still fresh in her mind, North Country's leading scorer Whitney Bernier took it upon her self to make sure that a repeat of Wednesday's first frame was not going to happen.
In patented Bernier fashion, she grabbed the puck in the neutral zone, skated down the right side of the ice, cut to the middle and lifted the puck over Cheyene Smith to knot the game at one.
Late in the first the Falcons had a much better effort on the penalty kill, successfully holding U-32 off of the score sheet as Adrianna Fournier did her time feeling shame.
Building momentum after their excellent shorthanded play, Bernier struck again with 3:38 left to play on almost the exact same move that had netted her goal number one.
"It kind of just happens," said Bernier with a laugh on the way she scores a lot her goals.
Entering the second, North Country clearly had all of the momentum. They were the better team on the ice, and even though they had not played a very strong first period, they were still in control of the game.
Corrina Cota put the girls in white up by two just 1:48 into period number two on a rather fluky goal.
She got the puck inside the Raidersâ€™ zone from Meghan Campbell, skated in between the tops of the circles and the blue line and flung the puck across her body.
Whether the ice was still wet from the intermission soaking or not I don't know, but that little black disc did a hop, skip, and a jump past Smith and it was 3-1 North Country with a lot of hockey left to be played.
Four minutes later while on the power-play, Taylor Morley snagged a rebound in, where else, the crease and lifted an easy backhand into the U-32 net, staking the Falcons to a three goal lead.
North Country, although not scoring any more in the second, dictated play throughout the remainder of the period. They kept the Raiders at bay and headed off the ice up 4-1 after thirty minutes of play.
Bernier completed the hat-trick 3:45 into the third as she went to the other side of her stick to beat Smith, capping off the scoring as the Falcons won with class 5-1.
I asked the Whitney if scoring all these goals ever gets old, and she replied, "No. I like scoring goals. I like to get everyone motivated and get them into the game."
Tara Langmaid continued her strong play for North Country, stopping eleven of twelve shots on the night, while Smith blocked twenty-eight.
There will not be many more easy games the rest of the way for 10-4 North Country, but one of those games happens two days from now when they make the trek to Woodstock for a painfully late mid-week 8:00 showdown with the Wasps.