“For the most part, we played hard and with passion… We knew going in that [playing Exeter] was tough, and we rose to the occasion,” said Oyster River High School girls varsity hockey player Patricia Andersen (‘19) about the ORHS-Portsmouth girls varsity hockey team second consecutive win over Exeter, beating them 4-0.
On January 21st, the combined ORHS-Portsmouth girls varsity hockey team played Exeter High School for the second time at the Whittemore Center this season. Exeter has long been a rival of ORHS-Portsmouth, as last season, Exeter beat ORHS-Portsmouth in the semifinals. Later in the season, Exeter tied the top team in the league, Hanover, 2-2. ORHS-Portsmouth defeating Exeter twice in a row could be a good sign for the team come playoff time.
Beating Exeter in this second match up proved to be a great victory for the ORHS-Portsmouth team. “This was a big win and definitely gave us more confidence going forward against the top teams,” says Marshall. “Exeter was the first team we knew was going to be a tough competition for us.”
A goal by Lilli Poitras (‘19), and a hat trick by Allison Marshall, both from Oyster River High School led the way for the ORHS-Portsmouth team by combining to score all four goals.
“Last year, we lost to Exeter in the semifinals so it’s a team we have a history with,” says Andersen. “We haven’t had much of a challenge yet this season until Exeter and they’re one of the best teams in the state.”
Although the game was tough, the team worked together to beat Exeter. “Every girl on the team wanted to win and we all worked for it,” says Marshall. “All of the girls dug down deep to put the puck in the net and keep it out of our net.”
ORHS-Portsmouth played their first game against Exeter on January 12th, and had a close win, at 6-5. After the first game, ORHS-Portsmouth girls varsity hockey coach James Long believed that while the team played well, there’s still room for improvement. “We still have a lot of work to do,” says Long. “We need to clean up our game and play smarter.” The two wins against Exeter is a positive sign for ORHS-Portsmouth come playoff season, but not a guarantee for success.
Going forward, the ORHS-Portsmouth players remain optimistic about the playoff season ahead of them. “Now that we’ve beat Exeter, it’s a big deal,” says Andersen. One team in their league, Hanover, has won the state championships nine years in a row. However, earlier in this season, Exeter tied Hanover 2-2. “It means we are real contenders for the championship slot this year.” said Andersen.
ORHS-Portsmouth will next be facing ConVal Regional High School on Saturday, February 2nd at 10am at the Winchendon Ice Arena.