Hickey gives teammates a birthday gift

Grace Hickey (left) celebrates her birthday goal Saturday with teammates Erin Turner (center) and Taylor Losier. Hickey's unassisted goal was the only score of the day for Colchester in a 4-1 loss at Essex. Hickey and Turner are Milton High School students who play for the Lakers. (Photo by Josh Kaufmann)

Grace Hickey (left) celebrates her birthday goal Saturday with teammates Erin Turner (center) and Taylor Losier. Hickey’s unassisted goal was the only score of the day for Colchester in a 4-1 loss at Essex. Hickey and Turner are Milton High School students who play for the Lakers. (Photo by Josh Kaufmann)

Grace Hickey celebrated her birthday in style Saturday, scoring an unassisted goal in Colchester’s hockey game against defending state champion Essex.

Hickey and Erin Turner are Milton High School students who play for the Lakers because the Yellowjackets do not have a girls hockey team.

“They help us out a lot,” coach Bob Lehouiller said of the Yellowjacket transplants. “They’ve been with us all along. One’s a junior (Turner) and one’s a sophomore. They’re all a part of the team. It’s a big team here; no individuals.

“Our numbers are good right now, but the next couple years we have nothing coming up. We have a big senior class next year, so we’re going to be hurting for one year and then another class will come up hopefully.”

On Saturday at the Essex Skating Facility, the host Hornets scored a pair of goals 50 seconds apart late in the first period and added two more in the second to take a commanding 4-0 lead into the third.

But shortly after an Essex penalty expired, Hickey broke past the defense up the left side. She cut into the left circle, scoring unassisted with 1:12 gone in the period to get the Lakers on the scoreboard and avoiding what would have been their first shutout of the season.

Hickey also had one of Colchester’s best scoring chances through the first two periods, challenging goaltender Vika Simons with a dangerous, tough-angle shot at the left post on a break in from the corner on a second-period power play.

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