Sluggish Start Spells L-o-s-s for North Country Girls

JAY–The North Country girls hockey team continued their pattern of disorganized play in the first period, which eventually led to their downfall, as they lost 3-1 to the Harwood Highlanders on Saturday night."Maybe the holiday's started early," quipped head coach Claude Paul. "I don't know what it was, but we couldn't seem to do anything right."The night started off with starting goalie Mikaella Doran sitting on the bench due to illness, so that opened the door for junior Brianna Bocelli to make her first start of the season.The Highlanders would not be kind to her.Seven minutes into the game, Katlyn Martin's low shot beat Bocelli five-hole, and the home team, already struggling to get anything going, was behind 1-0.Three minutes later, Haley Spittle nabbed the first of her two goals on a high glove-side shot, and now the hole was getting deeper for North Country.The girls would regroup the best that they could, and prevented any further damage in the period.In the second, Doran was feeling better and entered the game.The Falcons started playing a little better, and at the 10:00 mark, Whitney Bernier had the team's best scoring chance at that point, getting off a shot and a rebound, but Siena Damon was there for the saves.After the save, the Highlanders promptly went down and made it three to nothing on Spittle's second of the night.They say the three goal lead is the most dangerous in hockey, and if ever there was a time to put this old axiom to the test it was when NCU went on a two-man advantage with 6:24 left in the second.The girls had 1:42 to work with, and the talent to get the job done, but there would be no Christmas miracle this time, as the Falcon power-play sputtered along, accomplishing nothing.Said Paul, who by this point in the young season has got to be sick of me asking about the power-play, "The power-play is one of those things that you need to make adjustments on depending on who you are playing."We did not make the necessary adjustments, and we need to work on that."Off we we go the third ,where trailing 3-0, Taylor Morley gave the Falcons some hope, as she put in a Jenna Moss rebound to cut the lead to 3-1 just forty-five seconds into the period.Morley is averaging somewhere around a point a game so far, leading the team in scoring.Fourteen whole minutes to get two more goals, that is what was on the table.Doran did her part, turning away eight shots in the period, including Hayley Martini’s breakaway three minutes into the period.The Falcon offense continued their attack on the Highlander goal, but their momentum was derailed when they were given, you guessed it, a power-play.That man-advantage took the wind right of No. Country's sails, and they couldn't get it back, falling to 2-2 in 2012 half of the 2012-2013 season.Bocelli had one save and Doran fourteen for NCU, while Damon had fifteen for 4-1-1 Harwood.The girls will back at it on the 29th when they travel to Northfield for a 3:00 matinee game.