Oxford Hills’ goalie Kaisa Heikkinen, right, makes a leg pad save on a shot from Mt. Blue’s Samantha Ellis during Tuesday afternoon’s filed hockey game at Gouin Field in Paris. Heikkinen made numerous spetactular saves, but a constant barrage by the Cougars got 4 past a trio of Viking goalies as Mt. Blue went on to a 4-0 victory.
PARIS — A major point of emphasis for Mt. Blue field hockey coach Jody Harmon this season is for her players to be less timid when they are in the shooting circle.
The Cougars needed to be even more aggressive for Wednesday’s KVAC meeting with Oxford Hills because their leading scorer, senior forward Hannah Minns, was away on a college visit.
“They just need to get more hungry,” Harmon said.
Mt. Blue feasted in the final 13:08 of the second half, scoring three goals to pull away from the Vikings in a 4-0 victory.
Ellie Pelletier scored the first two goals and Adelle Foss and Caitlin Underwood added late tallies for the Cougars (2-0).
“Our biggest fault is our attacking,” Pelletier said. “We’ve really been focusing during practice just tipping, getting it in the goal, finishing it. I feel like today was the turning point for us where it’s all starting to come around. We had a rough first couple of games but now it’s all starting to fall into place.”
“We work so hard to get the ball inside that circle and then we’re watching,” Harmon said. “We want everybody to attack, follow the ball and not stopping until it’s in the cage. Always follow the ball, always move forward.”
The Cougars didn’t have to do a lot of retreating Wednesday, outshooting the Vikings (0-3), 28-1. But they spent more than 44 minutes having to protect a 1-0 lead after Pelletier knocked in a pass from Samantha Ellis 2:28 into the game.
“That’s how we play,” Pelletier said. “Sometimes we come out a little flat and we just keep talking, got to keep pushing, keep pushing, and then we can tell that it falls into place for us.”
Nothing else fell into the cage for the Cougars in the first half because Oxford Hills senior goalie Kaisa Heikkinen (11 saves) was throwing herself in front of shot after shot. Sophomore Maddy Day (six saves) relieved her to start the second half and continued to stymie them for the first 16-plus minutes until Pelletier, assisted by Rebecca Harmon, struck again with 13:08 left.
Harmon adjusted her rotation to cover for the absence of Minns, and Pelletier took advantage.
“I usually go back and forth with Adelle Foss on left wing. She played right midi today and I filled in for Hannah some and played my regular position,” Pelletier said. “But we can adjust really well. We have a lot of diverse players that can play anywhere you put them. It was a total team effort.”
The return of junior center-mid Madison Bard, playing her first full game since returning from a preseason injury, also bolstered the Cougars.
“We did better at passing today, and it was good to see that,” Harmon said. “We weren’t getting lower and our sticks weren’t down as much as I’d like to see.”
The Vikings (0-3), who graduated 14 seniors, have yet to score a goal
“Even though it was a 4-0 game, they’re still working hard,” Vikings coach Cindy Goddard said. “They’re still trying to do all of the things that we practice. The goalies do a great job. They move, they talk and they’re diving. Both goalies played well.”
“The thing that I’d really like to improve on is our offensive corners,” she added. “When we get them it’s not always a great opportunity to score. We don’t get a lot of them, but we’re not as dangerous as we could be with those.”
Mt. Blue finished with a 16-7 advantage in corners.
Addisyn Davis and Molly Harmon assisted on the last two goals.
Mt. Blue goalie Erika McArthur (53) makes a save on a shot from Oxford Hills’ Kate Bowen during Tuesday afternoon’s filed hockey game in Paris.Oxford Hills’ Gina Colley, right, tries to slow down Mt. Blue’s Samantha Ellis as she streaks down the sideline toward the Viking net during Tuesday’s field hockey game in ParisOxford Hills’ goalie Kaisa Heikkinen dives for the ball and covers it up before Mt. Blue’s Caitlin Underwood, second from right, can bang in a rebound during Tuesday afternoon’s filed hockey game at Gouin Field in Paris.