EXETER — A few days before its first game of the season, the Exeter High School girls hockey team made a late addition to its 2018-19 roster.
Senior goaltender Izzy Day was down in Boston pursuing her college hockey dreams as a member of the Jr. Shamrocks before she had a change of heart.
“Back at the Shamrocks I was playing below two Division 1 goalies, so it was just hard for me to play in the games,” Day said. “I was like, OK, you know what? I just want to finish this thing out at my high school, have a good year, hopefully win a state title.”
The Blue Hawks welcomed their goalie of the past three years back with open arms.
Day was dynamite in her first start of the season last Thursday, stopping 42 shots in another epic battle with Hanover. The Blue Hawks served five penalties, including a 5-on-3 and a late 5-minute game misconduct, and still managed to draw, 2-2, with the nine-time defending state champions.
“After the first save I made,” Day said, “I was like, OK, I can do this.”
The Blue Hawks feel real good about their goalie situation. Sophomore Zoe Greene took major strides in the offseason and started the first three games, all Exeter wins. Day was summoned for the first of two regular-season cracks at Hanover, her performance Thursday bringing back memories of the 49-save gem she had in Exeter’s 4-3 win over the Marauders back in February of 2017.
Hanover scored one of its goals Thursday 5-on-4 and got some help from the post on the equalizer with a little over 4 minutes remaining in the third.
“She was really kind of controlling the rebounds,” Hanover coach John Dodds said of Day. “Even with the breakaways, on one of them we had help and she still covered up the rebound.”
Day stopped seven shots in overtime — which included some penalty-kill time — a couple from point-blank range and another on a clean break-in.
“At that point all I say is stop the puck and make the next save,” Day said. “That’s all I can do for my team. When we’re on penalties, that’s my time to help my team.”
Exeter will travel to face Hanover again on Jan. 19. The teams have met in the state final in each of the last two years, both wins by the Marauders. Exeter’s 1-3-1 in these games, including playoffs, dating back to the 2016-17 season.
“I can see the rivalry,” Day said. “When we beat them (Coach Dodds) saw us as a threat, and he was like ‘OK, we can’t let this team do that again.’ And the way we see it, they always wreck it for us at the championship, so now we want to get back at them.”