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JAYâ€“The North Country girls hockey team had an improved showing on Friday night when they hosted the Stowe Raiders at the Ice Haus. Coming off of a sloppy win against Woodstock, the girls played a much more disciplined game, but fell short in their efforts, losing a quiet contest by the score of 2-0.
"I thought the girls all played pretty well," said assistant coach Tom Bernier, "Stowe is a tough team and we haven't played against a top seed in awhile and this was an eye opener for us."
There was not a lot of action to speak of in the early stages of the first period, as Stowe controlled play in the Falcon zone, but a Raider penalty allowed North Country to get some time in the Stowe end.
Nothing came of the man advantage, and after Stowe got back to five-on-five, they promptly jumped out to the 1-0 lead when Kathryn Raymond grabbed the puck and jammed it home short-side past Tara Langmaid.
North Country's best chance to tie the game came in the waning moments of the opening period when Taylor Morley got in alone on the Stowe keeper Danielle Mayo, but the sophomore stopper was able to make the save.
The Falcons came out with a bang in the second, getting scoring opportunities from Adrianna Fournier and Jenna Moss, but Mayo was there to stop those too.
Midway through the frame, Kim Haab came came gliding down the left side of the ice and slid the puck into the far corner of the net to put the Raiders up 2-0.
That would be just about all the action that would take place the rest of the way, as both Mayo and Langmaid allowed nothing past the goal line for the remainder of the game and Stowe held on for the win.
Stowe has a new, yet familiar face behind the bench this season, as the boys head coach Silas Gilbert is now responsible for both of Stowe's high school teams.
Gilbert explained the reason for adding the girls team to his list of responsibilities, saying, "We are trying to revamp the program and we needed some individuals in there that I think are going to reset what they had learned over time and make progress towards a run at a state championship."
One player really stood out for North Country in the loss, sophomore Kerrianne Little. The young blue-liner has quietly been developing into a reliable stay at home defenceman for the Falcons, and while she does not receive the attention that some of her fellow D-men get, judging by some of the key moments that she was on the ice against a very good Stowe team, she is impressing her coaches.
"She had to step up. Stowe was pressing us inside our own zone and she definitely came up big for us tonight," said Bernier.
Said Little of her efforts, "They are a very fit team. They know hockey, and they have been playing for a long time so we had to play up their players."
One final note on the game, Whitney Bernier's fifteen game point scoring streak came to an end on Friday.
Said Bernier, "I just couldn't get my legs moving. I'm pretty upset, but everyone has an off-game."
Langmaid had twenty-four saves in the contest while Mayo stopped all eight North Country shots to earn the shut-out.
Bernier and the rest of the 11-5 Falcons will look to be â€śonâ€ť when they take on Rutland at the Spartan Arena this Wednesday at 4:00.