LEXINGTON, Mass. -- In a game that needed nearly all its minutes to decide an outcome, No. 5 Lexington netted a go-ahead goal with seven minutes remaining in the third period and defeated No. 7 Arlington on Saturday evening, 3-2.
“Arlington’s a tough game for us,” Lexington head coach Amanda Ciarletta said. “They just play hard, they play fast, they play gritty, and I love playing [these] games.”
“We just had a hard time finding the back of the net,” Arlington head coach Jeff Mead said. “It’s unfortunate that we didn’t get it tonight, but the girls played hard.”
Following the initial face-off, both Arlington and Lexington (11-5-0) spent the first few minutes chasing the puck up and down the ice until junior Sara Lehman (two goals) stole it from the Spy Ponder defense and lifted it over the right shoulder of senior Casey Schaejbe (18 saves) for the Minutemaid’s first goal at 5:24.
Nine minutes later, the Spy Ponders (7-6-4) answered when junior Kaitlyn Morse collected the puck after it bounced off the left shoulder of Minutemen senior goaltender Katie Lenard (17 saves) and pushed it directly into the net, which tied the game, 1-1.
Junior Eva Colarusso doubled Arlington’s goal total a minute into the second period when she rifled the puck from her team’s bench past Lenard’s right arm and into the cage.
“My teammates have always been really supportive of me, and it’s just so helpful to have them there," Lenard said. "When you’re a goalie, you beat yourself up, [and think], ‘oh no, I just blew the game,’ but they came over and were like, ‘we’ll do this together.'"
Lehman helped Lexington climb back into the contest late in the second period when she weaved through the Arlington defense and slapped the puck past Schaejbe for the equalizer.
“The kids got a little lazy, little complacent, and there’s nothing you can do about it,” Mead said. “[After Lexington tied the game], I just told them to make sure we get pucks in deep, and do the little things.”
The Spy Ponders didn’t exactly follow their coach’s demands entering the third period, as they watched senior co-captain Danielle DelGreco skate past them, and deposit the puck at 3:21 to give the Minutemen a one-goal advantage.
Arlington then ramped up its pressure by firing numerous shots on Lenard, which were turned away. Juniors Katie Cummings and Shannon Hickey each had chances to tie the game, as well as Morse during the final seconds of regulation, but the Minutemen defense assisted their goaltender with deflections and clears that helped Lexington earn the season series sweep.
“[Legnard] held her own, she stayed calm, she stayed cool, she stayed collected, and she really helped us on [Morse’s] breakaway at the end that could have tied it," Ciarletta said. "So we’re proud of her, and she’s a hard worker, and she put her team on her shoulders tonight."
PINK IN THE RINK
For the past few years, Lexington’s coaching staff has challenged their players to organize one community service project that gives back to their town, and this year, the Minutemen chose to participate with the Susan G. Komen organization in the ongoing fight against breast cancer by decorating the rink with balloons and streamers, and sporting pink jerseys. They also sold various baked goods, and sold raffle tickets to raise money for their donation.
“Our girls worked really hard over the week to put [this event together], and a big motivator for us doing this was one of my former college teammates had breast cancer.” Ciarletta said. “She’s a survivor, and she actually was the assistant coach on the Arlington team tonight, so it even brought it more home for us because she’s a survivor, she was a teammate of mine, great friend of mine, and it’s special that we can raise awareness for this [battle].”
The head coach continued by saying, “We have so many kids here, who’s families are affected by it all the time, so we just wanted to give back, and just raise awareness for the cause.”