Girls’ hockey: Four first period goals allows Concord to cruise in win over Bedford

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  • Concord forward Abigail Colby (left) battles Bedford defender Julianna Mastrodicassa in the neutral zone during the first period on Wednesday night. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Concord forward Tess Mulkerron (right) gets held back from reaching the puck while battling against the boards during Wednesday night’s 7-0 girls’ hockey win over Bedford at Everett Arena. Mulkerron, a freshman, scored twice early in a four-goal opening period for the Crimson Tide. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff photographs

  • Concord forward Sophia Branch (left) and forward Claire Brown celebrate Branch’s goal during the first period. Branch finished with a hat trick in the Crimson Tide’s win. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Concord forward Tess Mulkerron gets held back from reaching the puck while battling against the boards on Wednesday night against Bedford at Everett Arena. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Freshman Concord forward Tess Mulkerron advances the puck into center ice during Wednesday night’s 7-0 girls’ hockey win over Bedford at Everett Arena. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 1/6/2022 5:00:59 PM

There’s something to be said about winning the puck drop and making quick work of the draw.

Tess Mulkerron, a freshman forward on the Concord High girls’ hockey team, certainly embodied that sentiment and scored her squad’s first goal in Wednesday night’s game against Bedford just 70 seconds into the contest. She followed that up with another goal with 9:14 left in the first period with a display of excellent stick skills behind a combination of tight fakes right in front of the net.

Mulkerron wasn’t the only one to score in that opening period, as plenty of others had their chances throughout the night in Concord’s 7-0 win.

The Tide’s quick start can be credited to their play in the neutral zone and their ability to keep the puck away from the Bulldogs’ defense. Top to bottom, all of Concord’s lines executed with poise in the neutral zone and created scoring chances through odd-skater rushes into the Bulldogs’ zone.

It was common to see three-on-two rushes in the Tide’s favor in the mostly empty and quiet Everett Arena, and those rushes often generated shot opportunities in the high slot. It paid dividends on senior captain and forward Libby Brown’s goal that put Concord ahead, 3-0, with 4:27 left in the first.

Brown took the puck up from the blue line and fired off a wrister from the high slot on Bedford freshman goalie Fraya Gukelberger’s glove hand.

With such an offense-centric start to the game, it was a complete turnaround from the Tide’s performance the night before against Oyster River-Portsmouth, in which they only scored twice.

Gukelberger (25 saves) was on her heels throughout the night and with a surging Concord offense in front of her, there were difficulties in stopping an experienced roster. Junior forward Sophia Branch capped off the early scoring party for Concord (3-1-0) with a breakaway goal with 61 seconds left in the first.

Branch, who scored two more in the game for a hat trick, helped keep the Tide aggressive with the comfortable lead over the Bulldogs, continuing to put shots on net. Concord outshot Bedford, 32-6.

While seldom seen, the Tide defense was reeling throughout the second period as the Bulldogs started finding their way a bit on the ice. Bedford used the spacing and the boards to its advantage in order to create solid scoring chances, all of which were stopped by the Tide.

And while it may have seemed easy for Concord to score seemingly at will, coach Tim Herbert was critical of team’s performance and was quick to point out the pressure that Bedford (2-2-0) delivered.

“The score does not reflect the game,” he said. “Bedford provided strong pressure disrupting plays and limiting the shots. The puck bounced in our favor tonight.”

Concord next takes the ice on Saturday when it travels to St. Thomas-Winnacunnet-Dover. The game will be played at Dover Ice Rink, with puck drop slated for 1:30 p.m.


Matt Parker bio photo

Matt Parker is a sports reporter at the Monitor and started in August 2021. He is an Ohio native and relishes being from the Buckeye state. A proud graduate of Ohio University located in Athens, Ohio, he served as the sports editor for the student-run newspaper, The Post, from 2019-20. When not at a game or chasing around a coach, you can catch him playing his guitars or looking for the next Peanuts memorabilia piece to add in his growing collection.



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