LYNN, Mass. – St. Mary’s of Lynn girls’ hockey head coach Frank Pagliuca swears shots on goal don’t mean all that much. After all, it’s only the big numbers on the scoreboard that count.
“I don’t care if we get outshot four-to-one,” Pagliuca said after Monday’s scoreless tie with Catholic Central League rival Arlington Catholic.
With a defense as disciplined as the Spartans’, and with senior goaltender Lauren Skinnion looking in mid-season form, Pagliuca is content with how his team played despite being outshot 32-9 by the Cougars.
“This is probably the most complete game we played. It wasn’t pretty at times,” he said. “But structurally, in the ‘D’ zone we did a nice job for the most part after we made a couple adjustments after the first period.”
The Spartans remained unbeaten (3-0-2, 2-0-1 CCL) with Skinnion’s third shutout on the young season.
St. Mary’s currently boasts a scoreless streak of more than two games, extending to the third period of its 4-3 win over Reading on Dec. 23 and including the Spartans’ 1-0 blanking of league foe Austin Prep on Wednesday.
“I challenged them and Lauren [Skinnion] to really raise their games against a great team and they did that tonight,” Pagliuca said. “I actually thought our forwards were much better tonight competing for pucks. We didn’t lose as many pucks as we did in the past.”
AC (4-1-1, 1-0-1) set up shop early, peppering Skinnion with 12 shots through the first period. By the second intermission, the Cougars held a staggering 21-5 advantage in shots-on-goal.
However, as the game wore on, the Spartans’ defensive corps, led by senior assistant captain Tatiana Doucette, strengthened. Despite dressing only four blue-liners (Amanda Donahoe, Vanessa Van Buskirk, Ashley Wojewodzic and Doucette) and logging mountains of ice time, St. Mary’s found increasing success in prohibiting AC from setting up down low on the cycle.
“We had plenty of scoring opportunities, we just never finished,” Cougars head coach Maggie Taverna said. “I think it was a good game, I think there were some times St. Mary’s had us hemmed in, we had them hammed in a couple times. But I thought our scoring chances were pretty good and for us to not put any pucks away … It was puck-luck, we didn’t have any.”
While St. Mary’s was largely able to negate the Cougars’ foot speed presented in snipers Adrieana Rossini and Jess Piracini, the Spartans weren’t always able to create on the rush.
Despite being badly outshot, St. Mary’s had the better scoring chances in the latter stages of the third period. Pagliuca even rolled the dice a little, electing to pull Skinnion in a tie game with seven seconds remaining, as St. Mary’s took a draw in AC’s defensive zone on the power play.
The Spartans had a couple cracks at a potential game-winner, but were shut out, too, by junior goaltender Katherine Crane (9 saves).
While the old rivals were unable to find a resolution in their first meeting of the season, they’ll soon have another chance to take an elusive win, next Wednesday at Ed Burns Arena.