- Scott Barboza, ESPN Staff Writer
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ARLINGTON, Mass. – Although Arlington Catholic girls’ hockey has twice hoisted a state championship trophy, there was one honorific that had eluded the program altogether. Even in their championship seasons, the Cougars never had laid claim to the Catholic Central League title.
Entering Monday’s action against league foe of fellow ESPN Boston state poll Top 10 squad Austin Prep, AC had the opportunity to finish out its first league championship.
AC delivered, as Adrieana Rossini tallied both goals and junior goaltender Katherine Crane made 15 saves for 2-0 shutout win.
“We were so excited for this game, even though half the team is sick,” Rossini said, in between sniffles.
AC (12-2-1, 5-0-1 Catholic Central) played at less than 100 percent, as senior forward Danielle Kelley missed the game due to illness, in addition to the rest of the Cougars’ room, which has been battling various ailments.
Perhaps due to AC’s physical state, AP (10-4-2, 1-4-0) was the aggressor early. While the teams were scoreless through the first period and matched each other with six shots apiece, AP had the better scoring chances in the first.
After being shut in two of its previous three games entering Monday’s action, a solid start was a point of emphasis for AP.
“We had a lot of good chances, but the last couple of games we haven’t been finding the back of the net like we did earlier in the season,” AP head coach Stephanie Wood said. “We’re still getting good opportunities, good chances, but we’re just not burying it when we need to.”
The game remained scoreless until the 8:13 mark of the third period, when Rossini clubbed a home run. Playing a bounding pass from linemate Duggan Delano out of midair and past AP goaltender Caty Flagg (22 saves).
Rossini closed the game with an empty-net goal with virtually no time remaining on the clock.
For everything in between, Crane, a first-year starter in AC’s net, showed an increasing confidence in the paint, clamping down on rebounds and snuffing out any second-chance ideas.
“I think she’s on Cloud Nine right now,” AC head coach Maggie Taverna said. “She’s such a competitor. Even in practice, she’ll deny Ardieana [Rossini] a goal and she’ll chirp her in practice. She just hates to get scored on.”
Crane’s play is part of the momentum that AC has built up entering the final weeks of the regular season.
With an eight-game winning streak in tact, AC is again building at the right time of the year.
“We hit a couple of rough points in the middle of the season, around Christmas break, but we got back on track,” said Jess Piracini, who also picked up an assist on Rossini’s first goal. “We’ve got a win streak going.”
4dMike Scandura, Special to ESPNBoston.com
8dBrendan C. Hall
10dBrendan C. Hall
11dMike Scandura, Special to ESPNBoston.com
11dBrendan C. Hall