Sabers turn third period switch on for 5-2 win

Telegraph photo by TOM KING Souhegan's Olivia Harnish, right, is bothered by Lebanon-Stevens-Kearsarge skater Ella Lindsay during Saturday's game at Conway Arena.

NASHUA — They can score in bunches, and the Souhegan High School Sabers did just that in a defining third period on Saturday at Conway Arena.

In fact, their 5-2 win over Lebanon-Stevens-Kearsarge, keyed by snapping that 2-2 tie after 30 minutes, may have been a defining moment of their season.

“It won’t mean anything if we can’t keep it going,” Souhegan coach Kelli Braley, her team now 8-5-1, said. “If it’s a flash in the pan, it’s not going to help us. But if we can keep it going and trending in this direction, then yeah, we can do some damage. It’s going to be up to them to ride this momentum.”

It’s no surprise that senior Shannon Paquette had a hat trick to pace the Sabers, who gave up a potential deflating goal in the last half minute of the second period to make it 2-2 entering the third period.

But boom – Olivia Harnish scored just 55 seconds in to give the Sabers a 3-2 lead, assisted by Clare Woodford and Ryleigh Tobin. Then Tobin (goal, two assists) poked a rebound of a Woodford (three assists) slap shot home on the second try past Raiders goalie Paige Hoegler (18 stops) at 1:41 and suddenly it was 4-2 Sabers. Paquette then beat Hoegler top shelf at 3:38 and just like that it was 5-2 Sabers and essentially over.

That’s how it is for this Saber team. In their five losses and tie, they’ve been shutout four times and scored one goal each in the other two. Thus it really was who was going to get the jump at the start of the third period that would determine the winner.

“That’s exactly what I told them in the room,” Braley said. “The next goal is going to decide this game, so you better make sure it’s our goal.”

“Our last few games we’ve been giving the puck away too much,” Lebanon-Stevens-Kearsarge coach Brad Shaw said as his team fell to 5-8. “We’ve been working on period by period by period to eliminate turnovers. But the first three in the third period were tape to tape passes for goals. You don’t win games doing that.”

Early on, Paquette got things started just under five minutes in, beating Hoegler for an early 1-0 Souhegan lead. Julia Pinkham got the assist.

L-S-K knotted things at 1 on a break-in goal by Marissa Pickman, assisted by Lily Barber and Mackayla O’Meara at 11:12 of the first.

Souhegan then took a 2-1 laed on a power play goal by Paquette (Abby Hawkes and Woodford assists at 7:50 of the second, but with 26.8 seconds left in the period, the Raiders’ Kate Cochran beat Saber netminder Elle Byram (13 stops) on a breakaway to send things all even at 2 entering the final 15 minutes.

“That’s deflating for any team to give that one up,” Braley said. “But they responded. … We had to win one period of hockey, and we did.”