Dwyer shines in Storm playoff loss
North Shore goalie Maureen Dwyer stopped 40 shots in Storm's first round playoff game against Duluth Marshall Feb. 8 in Duluth, but the team fell to the Hilltoppers 5-1.
Dwyer's night had an inauspicious beginning when the Hilltoppers' Lily Aamodt scored a power play goal just three minutes into the game. When Aamodt scored again a minute later, Marshall skaters looked to turn the game into a rout early, but for most of the next two periods, Dwyer transformed into a wall as she faced a barrage of shots. First year coach Neva Maxwell was impressed with Dwyer's performance and her progress throughout the season.
"Last night was the most aggressive I've seen her play yet this season," Maxwell said. "She was stepping out for the puck — there was one time where she skated out past the hash marks to beat one of the other girls to the puck — it was great to watch her play so offensive minded for a goalie. I think she is finding her groove. Goalies have a tremendous amount of stress, so I think this year she's worked on getting mentally tougher and shaking off any goals that happen."
The Storm defense also played a role in helping Dwyer deal with the Hilltopper attack and Maxwell was pleased with the way her team came together. With the Storm being a defensive-minded team throughout the season, teams have tried to crash in on the net and the defense did well preventing Dwyer from getting hit.
"Our team has done a better job of improving their communication on the ice," Maxwell said. "I think Mo has really stepped up a lot to verbally communicate with her teammates about when she's seeing things going on and I think our defense stepped up and tried to protect her more."
Gracie Komarek cut the Hilltopper lead in half late in the first period when she scored off a pass from Jessie Ketola, but the Storm offense had a tough time keeping the puck out of the Marshall offensive zone throughout the game.
The Hilltoppers pelted Dwyer with 44 shots on goal, but for more than 34 minutes of game time, Dwyer held strong and kept North Shore in the game. With about five minutes remaining, Olivia Boettcher hit another power play goal after the Storm's Everly Bauck was sent to the penalty box for interference.
Aamodt sealed the win with her third goal about eight minutes later and Ashlee Siegle added an empty net goal as time expired.
Maxwell said the penalties against Marshall were crippling for the Storm's attempts to generate a consistent offensive attack. North Shore was penalized five times and with the Storm's offensive limitations and 10 minutes of game time spent on a penalty kill, the team couldn't consistently attack Hilltopper goalie Carissa Mudrak.
North Shore 1-0-0—1
Duluth Marshall 2-0-3—5
First period — 1. DM, Lily Aamodt (Maren Friday, Emily Lemker), 2:56 (pp); 2. DM, Aamodt (Claire Casey, Gracie Thomas), 3:56; 3. NS, Gracie Komarek (Jessie Ketola), 13:09.
Second period — No scoring.
Third period — 4. DM, Olivia Boettcher (Lemker), 4:50 (pp); 5. DM, Aamodt (Ashlee Siegle), 12:51; 6. DM, Siegle, 16:59 (en).
Saves — Maureen Dwyer, NS, 40; Carissa Mudrak, DM, 18.