Boston High School: Alexandria Gong

Our MIAA girls' hockey All-State Team

April, 1, 2013
4/01/13
7:11
PM ET
FIRST LINE
All-StateF - Alison Butler, Sr., St. Mary's
This year's ESPN Boston Miss Hockey award winner, Butler captained the Spartans to their fourth Division 1 state title, scoring the game-winning goal against Arlington Catholic at the Garden. The St. Anselm's commit was third in Division 1 in scoring with 37-25-62 totals. It is her second ESPN Boston All-State nomination.
All-StateF - Hannah Murphy, Sr., Duxbury
The fulcrum to Duxbury''s run of three straight Division 2 state championships. Murphy, a three-sport athlete, finished fifth among all Division 2 scorers, putting up 29-24-53 totals. Murphy will play lacrosse at UMass-Amherst.
All-StateF - Kayla Smith, Sr., Woburn
One of the most talented pure scorers in the state, Smith finished second in Division 1 across the state in scoring with 34 goals and 24 assists for 63 points. The three-time ESPN Boston All-Stater will continue her hockey career at Salve Regina.
All-StateD - Cassandra Connolly, Sr., Woburn
The repeat ESPN Boston All-Stater finished fourth on the Tanners in points (2-15-17) while helping goaltender Courtney Davis notch seven shutouts on the season. Connolly will continue her playing career at the University of New England next year.
All-StateD - Hannah Wright, Sr., Arlington
A shut-down, physical blue-liner, Wright also finished tied for fourth on the Spy Ponders with 17 points (3 goals, 14 assists). She will attend Castleton State College next year where she will play hockey.
All-StateG - Shannon O'Neil, Sr., Austin Prep
Pitched a remarkable 10 shutouts on the season, along with a dazzling 96.8 save percentage. O'Neil, a Franklin Pierce commit, was also among the statewide leaders in goals against average with a 1.08 marka.
SECOND LINE
All-StateF - Kaleigh Finigan, Sr., St. Mary's
Despite missing time with an injury, Finigan still managed to finish second on the Spartans in scoring - following Alison Butleró with 17-28-45 totals. The Medford resident is also a standout on St. Mary's softball team.
All-StateF - Jane Freda, Sr., Hingham
A two-time ESPN Boston All-State selection, the Harborwomen captain finished among the Top 10 scorers in the state, tallying 31 goals to go along with 16 assists.
All-StateF - Ashley Moran, Jr., Woburn
The rangy winger made great strides this season, finishing among the Top 10 scorers in the state, posting 25 goals and 31 assists.
All-StateD - Brooke Matherson, Jr., Walpole
The blue-liner led the Rebels in scoring this year with 33 points points and her 24 goals were also a team-best. Matherson is also a standout player on Walpole's field hockey team.

All-StateD - Annie Messuri, Jr., Acton-Boxborough
Messuri was named the DCL/MVC Large division Most Valuable Player this year after posting 13-17-30 totals.
All-StateG - Courtney Davis, Jr., Woburn
Led the Tanners to an undefeated regular season while registering seven shutouts. The three-year starter registered a 92.1 save percentage while posting a 1.35 goals against average.

BEST OF THE REST - HONORABLE MENTION
Forwards

Carolyn Avery, Sr., Lexington
Megan Barrett, Frosh., Acton-Boxborough
Christie Caliendo, Sr., Billerica
Leah Cardarelli, Soph., Acton-Boxborough
Molly Connolly, Sr., Wellesley
Amanda Conway, Soph., Tewksbury/Methuen
Gabby Crugnale, Sr., St. Mary's
Jackie Denning, Sr., Lexington
Cecily Docktor, Soph., Wellesley
Kara Donati, Sr., Winthrop/Lynn
Erin Dwyer, Sr., Archbishop Williams
Marissa Fichter, Soph., Duxbury
Ela Hazar, Jr., Westwood
Shannon Hickey, Sr., Arlington
Emily Kelly, Jr., Norwood
Olivia Konaxis, Sr., Beverly/Danvers
Brittani Lanzilli, Jr., Medford
Maggie Layo, Jr., Sandwich
Sara Lehman, Sr., Lexington
Emily Lissner, Jr., Woburn
Kim Lizotte, Sr., Westford Academy
Emily Loprete, Soph., Watertown/Melrose
Meaghan McKenna, Sr., Canton
Rachel Moore, Soph., Falmouth
Ali O'Leary, Frosh., Reading
Adrieana Rossini, Soph., Arlington Catholic
Nicole Woods, Jr., Beverly/Danvers

Defense
Allison Cunningham, Soph., Arlington Catholic
Tatiana Doucette, Jr., St. Mary's
Erin Ferrara, Sr., Fontbonne Academy
Hannah Ghelfi, Soph., Falmouth
Alexandria Gong, Sr., Hingham
Ally Hammel, Jr., Duxbury
Melissa Richard, Sr., Arlington Catholic
Caroline Seibold, Frosh., Reading

Goalies
Megan Messuri, Jr., Arlington Catholic
Rachel Myette, Jr., Duxbury
Madison Scavotto, So., Falmouth
Lauren Skinnion, Jr., St. Mary's

Coach of the Year
Frank Pagliuca, St. Mary's (Lynn)

While piloting to the Spartans to four Division 1 state championships, perhaps Pagliuca's finest job behind the bench came this year, as St. Mary's knocked off Catholic Central rival Arlington Catholic in a rematch of the 2012 title game.

Finalists:
Todd Fletcher, Westford Academy
Michael Golden, Reading
Friend Weiler, Duxbury

D1 Girls: Austin Prep 4, Hingham 0

February, 28, 2013
2/28/13
2:17
AM ET


HINGHAM, Mass. -- One of the oldest sports cliches in the book is that your best players have to step and play their best in the biggest games. There may be no greater example of that in Massachusetts girls' hockey than Austin Prep goalie Shannon O'Neil.

The Franklin Pierce-bound senior made 38 saves, 23 of which came in the third period, to help lead No. 21 seed Austin Prep in a 4-0 shutout of No. 12 Hingham in a Div. 1 girls' hockey preliminary round game at Pilgrim Arena Wednesday night.

Jaimee Cooke and Kiely Annese had the first two goals, and Maddy Ricci added a pair of empty-netters for the Cougars (11-7-4). The shutout was O'Neil's 10th on the season and third in three tries against the Harborwomen. In those three games, the senior has amassed a total of 128 saves.

"She played unbelievable," AP head coach Stephanie Wood said of O'Neil. "Against this team she seems to thrive, she certainly did tonight. I think she quite possibly played the game of the season tonight against Hingham. With a very young squad that we have, she's certainly the backbone of this team and in situations like this, when the game is on the line in clutch situations, this is where she's at her best and where she thrives. As you could see for yourself, she's certainly the reason that the team won this game tonight."

Hingham (13-7-3) routinely piled up 35-plus shots per game and the Harborwomen unleashed a barrage at O'Neil in the final frame that any goalie wouldn't have been blamed for faltering in the face of. Staked to a 1-0 lead courtesy of a shot from the point through traffic by defenseman Cooke during a 5-on-3 advantage, it was up to O'Neil to make it hold up as the Harborwomen outshot the Cougars by a 38-10 margin for the game.

It started in the opening minutes, getting in front of an early shot at the end of a quick break by Hingham's Cat Linehan. Next up was shooting shooting the left skate out in the nick of time to get a piece of a Tori Messina wraparound bid. A faceoff win in the Cougars zone led to a a quick snap by Linehan as well as the rebound. O'Neil stopped both. Alexandria Gong got off a shot from a tough angle in deep, no problem for O'Neil. Emily Falvey jamming in front at a loose puck? Two more saves. Sneaky backhanded shot through traffic by Hingham star Jane Freda? No problem.

On and on it went as the Harborwomen fired off 16 shots before the Cougars could manage one with 3:15 to go, a shot they made count as Annese fired a perfect shot through a small over the goalie's shoulder on a power play for APs second goal.

Hingham drew a power play with 2:23 remaining and pulled goalie Taylor Walsh to make it a 6-on-4, but Annese cleared the puck from the zone just by the post and Ricci was able to swipe in the rebound as Gong desperately tried to block her. Ricci added her second empty-netter with two seconds left.

For her part, O'Neil was quick to credit her defensive teammates, who did a terrific job of blocking shots and keeping Hingham's explosive offensive players out on the perimeter while leaving clear lanes for the standout netminder to see the shots.

"My team played really well today in front of me," O'Neil said. "They cleared everyone out and I could see the puck perfectly, I didn't really get screened a lot so it was pretty simple. I just got the initial shot and they cleared the rebounds."

When asked about what it is that makes her play so well in Hingham's barn, O'Neil simply responded, "I honestly don't even know, I really don't. I don't know, we always bring our game here. We just know when we have a big game, we have to come out and play our hardest."

ANOTHER STAR OF THE GAME
Maddy Ricci isn't the biggest player on the ice by any means, but her role in the Cougars victory was every bit as essential as ONeil's performance in the cage. Ricci was charged with shadowing All-Stater Jane Freda for the second time this season and kept her off the scoreboard.

"Maddy Ricci is a little spitfire," Wood praised. "She is a breath of fresh air on this team. We know that Hingham is a very tough team and that Freda is a very good player and that was really one of our goals tonight. We knew if we would have a chance against Hingham, we would have to shut her down. Maddy played a huge role in doing that."

Ricci attached herself to Freda's hip and followed her everywhere she went for 45 minutes. Anywhere you saw Freda's No. 4 Hingham jersey, the No. 3 AP sweater worn by Ricci was never far behind. It also seemed quite fitting that Ricci ended up being the player who got both empty-netters, a just reward on offense for a tremendous defensive effort.

"We did that last game and it worked and in this game it worked again, I just didn't let her out of my sight," Ricci explained. "You have to your head on a swivel. Like my coach said, you have to have one hand on your stick and don't let her out of sight. Don't let her touch the puck. Get in her head. I'm littler than her so I put my shoulder into her and she just couldn't get the puck."

Hingham coach Tom Findley emptied his bag of tricks to try and get Freda and his offense going. He tried having Freda skate toward other defenders, he implored his own defensemen to step up and join the attack, and he even bumped sophomore blue liner Tori Messina up to a forward spot in the game's final minutes in hopes of clearing out some space.

"We knew they were going to shadow her but we told her just skate to another Austin Prep player and bring her with you," Findley said. "I think at times she did. I think she got five or six shots on net, which in some cases she might put a couple of those in. But that's the key against any good player."

Findley also related a story about how he used a similar strategy of shadowing an opposing teams star player during Hingham's run to the Div. 1 state championship in 2011.

"I remember us doing the same thing against Sabrina Ianetti at St. Mary's. We had [Katie Walsh] on her, just watching her. [Austin Prep] basically took one player out, she's our player, and they did a great job at it. What we we didn't do, we were telling our defensemen to jump into the play in the offensive zone and they were just standing at the blue line. They didn't quite understand what we were talking about as far as, go in because the rebounds are coming out and just be an option.

"At the end, we tried to throw one of our defensemen up front, try to get some offense going, try to create some space, but it's hard for a kid who hasn't played forward," he continued. "That's the nature of hockey games. I'm proud of my kids for the season. We'll regroup and come back next year and I'm hoping the best for Austin Prep through the tournament and all the teams and hopefully next year we'll be back in the same spot."

NO EXPERIENCE? NO MATTER
Wednesday night marked Austin Prep's first postseason appearance since 2010, and second since the Cougars were the runner-up to Arlington Catholic in 2007. The Cougars lost both of those games. None of the four seniors on this year's squad, which includes O'Neil and Annese, played in the 2010 game, while Hingham posted an 11-3 record in postseason play (with a Div. 1 state title in 2011) prior to last night since moving up to Div 1 in 2009. Coach Stephanie Wood is also in her first year behind the bench with the Cougars.

The lack of experience didn't phase the Cougars, who took advantage of the few opportunities that presented themselves. The first two goals came on special teams, and O'Neil looked like a seasoned, playoff veteran.

"A goal that we set at the beginning of the year was simply to make the playoffs," Wood explained. "That's something that Austin hasn't been able to do for the last three years. We knew going into this game, the pressure wasn't on us. We wanted to come in and be the spoiler. We knew that just by simply getting the win, we've achieved something that the program hasn't been able to do for about five or six years and that's advance to the next round."

The 8: No. 1 Woburn wraps up unbeaten season

February, 21, 2013
2/21/13
11:48
PM ET
HINGHAM, Mass. -- The Woburn girls’ hockey team is a team on a mission.

A five-point night from junior center Emily Lissner helped the No. 1 Tanners complete their first undefeated regular season since 2003-04, as Woburn defeated No. 12 Acton-Boxborough, 5-3, Thursday in the second night of The 8 Showcase at Pilgrim Arena.

Colonial freshman Megan Barrett scored a pair of third-period goals – the second coming with 2:54 left in the game – to turn a comfortable 4-1 Woburn lead into a 4-3 nail-biter. The Tanners held on in the closing minutes though and put the game away on an empty-net goal from junior Ashley Moran with just a second left on the clock. Lissner set up the play by breaking up a rush from A-B junior Eleana Cardarelli at the Tanner blue line and finding Moran, who backhanded the puck from neutral ice into the empty net.

It was Moran’s second goal of the game, as she had scored at 5:49 of the third off a face-off in the A-B zone that Lissner worked toward the net. Moran scored two goals in both of the Tanners’ games in this competition.

The No. 1 star Thursday night, however, was Lissner, who scored all three of her goals in the first 18 minutes of the game to give head coach Bob MacCurtain’s Tanners (17-0-3) an insurmountable lead.

“Finishing, I wouldn’t necessarily say that’s her greatest strength, but she did a great job of it today,” MacCurtain said. “She’s gotten better and better at it this year.”

Lissner and her linemates set the tone early with a terrific opening shift that resulted in a goal just 43 seconds into the game, as senior Kayla Smith set up Lissner in the slot from behind the net for a 1-0 lead.

“We always try and get a quick start,” Lissner said. “We’ve learned to get the quick goal but also stay in the game and not get too far ahead of ourselves.”

Lissner scored her second with 12 seconds left in the period, establishing position in front and tipping home a shot from the point from sister Erica.

Woburn would have led by even more at the first intermission but for the efforts of A-B freshman goalie Cali Loblundo, who denied Smith on two golden opportunities in front.

Despite it being even on the scoreboard, Woburn dominated the second period to the tune of a 15-5 shot advantage. Lissner completed her hat trick at 2:56 of the period with the Tanners on the power play, taking a pass across the slot from Smith and finishing past Loblundo.

The Colonial goalie again made some fine saves to keep her team in it, as A-B didn’t get its first shot of the period until there was 5:01 left in the frame. But sophomore Alex Loblundo put the team on the board with 59 seconds remaining, stuffing home a rebound off a shot by freshman Kaitlin Hoang.

Woburn’s group of defensemen – led by senior Cassandra Connolly and featuring senior Haley Rafferty, junior Gabby Mourousas, and freshmen Morgan Bishop and Madison Cole – helped limit A-B (13-6-2) to just nine shots through the first two periods.

“It’s been a little bit of a work in progress over the course of the season, but they’re all playing really well right now,” MacCurtain said.

After beating Arlington Catholic, 4-1, in the Showcase’s first day of action Tuesday, Woburn has likely established itself as the team to beat in the MIAA Division 1 state tournament that kicks off next week.

ARLINGTON 3, HINGHAM 3
A goal by Arlington senior Katie Cummings with 4:08 to play capped a wild third period that featured four goals and several good saves, as No. 18 Arlington and No. 6 Hingham played to a 3-3 draw in Thursday night’s final game.

The Harborwomen (13-6-3) had come back from a 2-0 second intermission deficit to take a 3-2 lead, with senior Jane Freda’s second goal of the night at 5:49 of the third period putting Hingham ahead. That goal came in the midst of a four-minute major penalty against Arlington, during which Hingham senior Alexandria Gong scored at 4:08 to tie the game.

But the Spy Ponders (11-8-1) wouldn’t give up, and Cummings was in position to put in a centering pass from senior defenseman Hannah Wright to earn Arlington a point. Junior goalie Katie Gilligan came up big for Arlington with four stops in the final 90 seconds, including a great double-save on Freda with 21 seconds to go.

“She’s been flawless these two games,” Arlington head coach Jeff Mead said. “That’s a good confidence booster for her going into the tournament.”

Arlington came into the week on the heels of a 4-0 loss to Reading, but a win over Acton-Boxborough followed by this tie will certainly give the club some momentum going into the state tournament.

“I think they want to prove a point and they want to prove that you might not want to face us in the first game of the playoffs,” Mead said. “The kids battled hard. Win or lose, we were competitive all week.”

Senior Carolyn Woodin gave Arlington a 1-0 lead at 6:56 of the first. Senior Shannon Hickey made it 2-0 with 4:58 left in the second after a terrific individual effort, beating two Hingham players in the offensive zone before putting the puck past Hingham junior goalie Taylor Walsh.

Freda got Hingham back in the game just 2:12 into the third, and Gong tied it off a pair of good passes from Freda and sophomore Hannah Falvey with the Harborwomen enjoying a 5-on-3 advantage.

Head coach Tom Findley’s team finished with a 30-15 advantage in shots, but had to settle for the draw.

“That’s our season in a nutshell,” Findley said. “We get a lot of shots on net -- sometimes they go in, sometimes they don’t ... I think the team played really well in the first two periods. They just didn’t score.”

ALL-STARS
Each team had two all-stars named for the tournament. Representing their programs from the second half of Thursday’s festivities were: Smith and Connolly (Woburn); Barrett and Cali Loblundo (Acton-Boxborough); Woodin and Wright (Arlington); Gong and Freda (Hingham).

Duxbury remains No. 1 in girls' Top 25

December, 17, 2012
12/17/12
9:05
PM ET
Defending MIAA Division 2 girls' hockey state champion Duxbury opens the 2012-13 season atop the ESPN Boston Top 25 poll.

The two-time defending state champions continued their reign over the poll, having occupied the top the spot since last season. More could be in store for the Dragons behind a couple of returning All-Staters in forward Hannah Murphy and goaltender Rachel Myette.

Here's a couple other notes to take from our preseason poll:

HARBORWOMEN BACK?
No. 2 Hingham enters the season as the top-ranked Division 1 entrant. The Harborwomen are just a year off their last state championship win and will be eying a return to the Garden ice this season. Hingham has plenty of firepower up top with dynamic forwards Emily Falvey, Jane Freda and Catherine Linehan. The Harborwomen will also be strong in their own end with an All-State caliber blue-liner in Alexandria Gong and netminder Taylor Walsh.

D1 REMATCH?
Longtime Catholic Central rivals Arlington Catholic and St. Mary's of Lynn battled for the Division 1 championship last season at the Garden. Although the Spartans claimed the teams' two regular-season meetings, the Cougars returned the favor by skating away with the hardware in the season's most important game. Both teams enter the season in our Top 5, with AC checking in at No. 3 and St. Mary's at No. 5.

The Cougars and Spartans renew their rivalry on Wednesday night at Connery Rink. Puck drop is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

ESPN Boston MIAA girls' hockey All-State team

March, 23, 2012
3/23/12
6:48
PM ET
First Team:
All-StateF- Alison Butler, Jr., St. Mary’s (Lynn)
Perhaps no player in the state made bigger strides this season than the Spartans junior. The Danvers resident finished with 17 goals and 44 assists for 61 points, good for third in the state.

All-StateF – Kati Goguen, Sr., Acton-Boxborough
One of the state’s top perennial scorers, the Holy Cross commit and captain was again among the MIAA’s leading scorers, tallying 17 goals along with 26 assists. Goguen also plays with the prestigious Assabet Valley travel league squad.

All-StateF – Kayla Smith, Jr., Woburn
A pure sniper in the truest sense, Smith finished fourth in the state in scoring, with 57 points, and finished tied for fourth in goals with 31. This year marks Smith’s second straight ESPN Boston All-State First Team appearance, improving upon her 53-point performance from a year ago.

All-StateD – Martha Findley, Sr., Duxbury
This year’s ESPN Boston Miss Hockey Award winner, Findley is a two-time All-Stater to go along with the Dragons’ second straight Div. 2 state championship. The Duxbury captain had five goals and 21 assists for 26 points this season. Findley plans on attending Cushing Academy for a postgraduate year next year.

D – Rachel Donahoe, Sr., St. Mary’s (Lynn)
The Spartans captain was among the top-scoring blue-liners in the state with 22 points (two goals, 20 assists). The Wakefield resident highlighted a deep defensive corps that boosted St. Mary’s to another Division 1 state final appearance.

All-StateG – Courtney Davis, Soph., Woburn
The second-year starter tied for second in the state with seven shutouts this season while posting a measly 1.25 goals against average and a 94.3 save percentage.

Second Team:
All-StateF – Natalie Flynn, Sr., Arlington Catholic
The Cougars captain lifted her squad to a victory over a heavily favored St. Mary’s squad and a Division 1 state championship. Flynn tallied 19 goals and 15 assists for 34 points.

All-StateF – Jane Freda, Jr., Hingham
It wasn’t too long ago that the Harbormen junior captain was moved up from the blue to add a scoring punch. This season, Freda went crazy, finishing second in the state in scoring with 31 goals and 32 assists for 63 points.

F – Erika Kelly, Sr., Watertown/Melrose
The pride of Watertown led the state in scoring this season with a state-best 49 goals for 70 points. Not only a dynamic scorer on the ice, Kelly is a highly decorated field hockey talent, in addition to playing softball in the spring.

All-StateD – Cassandra Connolly, Jr., Woburn
A true two-way defenseman, Connolly was among the state’s scoring leaders among blue-liners with six goals and 20 assists for 26 points, while helping a Tanners unit that allowed just 28 goals in 22 games.

All-StateD – Emily Loebs, Sr., Acton-Boxborough
The senior captain has been a rock on defense on some deep, defensive Colonials teams. Loebs finished second on A-B in goal scoring — her 14 goals fells just off the pace of fellow All-Stater Kati Goguen—and her 26 points ranked among the state’s top defensemen.

All-StateG – Rachel Myette, Soph., Duxbury
After turning in a dominant freshman year, Myette returned with an outstanding second-year effort, including another Div. 2 title. Her 0.90 goals against average was the best in the state, as were her eight shutouts. Myette’s 93.2 save percentage also ranked among the best in the MIAA.

“Best of the Rest”
Molly Connolly, F, Wellesley
Mackenzie Clark, F, Winthrop/Lynn
Lily Connolly, F, Duxbury
Colleen Doucette, F, Wakefield
Kaleigh Finigan, F, St. Mary’s (Lynn)
Samantha Girard, F, Dedham
Bryana Harron, F, Woburn
Brittani Lanzilli, F, St. Mary’s (Lynn)
Sara Lehman, F, Lexington
Kim Lizotte, F, Westford Academy
Caroline McCarthy, F, Belmont
Hannah Murphy, F, Duxbury
Danielle Phalon, F, Stoneham
Adrieana Rossini, F, Arlington Catholic
Sarah Schwenzfeier, F, Hingham
Brenna Callahan, D, Falmouth
Jackie Denning, D, Lexington
Alexandria Gong, D, Hingham
Britta Marden, D, Belmont
Brooke Matherson, D, Walpole
Caroline Shaunessy, D, Duxbury
Kaitlin Spillane, D, Franklin
Rebecca Zappalla, D, Arlington Catholic
Cali Loblundo, G, Acton-Boxborough
Megan Messuri, G, Arlington Catholic
Shannon O’Neil, G, Austin Prep
Maddie Scavotto, G, Falmouth
Casey Schaejbe, G, Arlington
Lauren Skinnion, G, St. Mary’s (Lynn)
Bethany Welch, G, Walpole

Coach of the Year
Maggie Taverna, Arlington Catholic
Third time's a charm, right? In just her second year behind the Cougars' bench, Taverna lifted AC back to the top of the MIAA hockey world with a Division 1 state title, beating Catholic Central Conference rival St. Mary's of Lynn after suffering two regular-season losses to the Spartans.

Finalists:
Erin Blood, Falmouth
Mark Haley, Belmont
Frank Pagliuca, St. Mary's (Lynn)

D1 Girls: St. Mary's 4, Hingham 3 (SO)

March, 11, 2012
3/11/12
12:51
AM ET


STONEHAM, Mass. -- There simply is no better rivalry in Massachusetts high school girls' hockey than the one between Hingham and St. Mary's.

Winners of the last four Division 1 state championships, the two teams have faced off 11 times since the Harborwomen made the jump up to Div. 1 in 2009. Saturday evening at Stoneham Arena, they added another classic battle what is becoming a storied series.

Hingham rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the third period on goals by Sarah Schwenzfeier and Samantha Ryder, the latter coming with just three seconds remaining in regulation, but it was the Spartans who prevailed in the end as Ann Marie Manganiello scored on the final attempt of the first round of a shootout to give No. 3 St. Mary's a 4-3 victory over defending champion and 10th seed Hingham.

"Our kids have been resilient all year," Spartans head coach Frank Pagliuca said. "People have counted us out all year and we just keep fighting. That group has it. They bust their butt all game. It says something when you give up a goal with three seconds left and come back and play a good overtime and finish it off in the shootout. I can't be more proud of this group and what they did tonight."

Ryder, a freshman, scored the first goal of the shootout for the Harborwomen (18-7-1), but Alison Butler fired a wrist shot off goalie Taylor Walsh's glove to tie it for the Spartans (21-3-1).

Three more shooters stepped up and were denied by Walsh (23 saves) and St. Mary's netminder Lauren Skinnion (25 saves), setting the stage for Manganiello. The sophomore walked in, used a head fake to slide Walsh over, and beat her between the pads for the winner.

"Right after the goal I skated straight to my sister [Gina Beth] and I was like, 'I did it,'" Manganiello said afterward. "[Pagliuca] really helped me on the bench. He said, 'You've got this. You did this, you know this, you know what you have to do. And as I was going down, I was thinking, I've been here just as long as the seniors have, I've lost with them, I've won with them, and I wanted to win for them so that's what I tried to do."

THE COMEBACK
How this game even got to overtime is a story unto itself. The Harborwomen took a 1-0 lead in the first period when Schwenzfeier chipped the puck out to linemate Jane Freda, who picked the top corner behind Skinnion on Hingham's first shot of the game.

In the second, St. Mary's scored three straight times, getting one apiece from its top line of Brittani Lanzilli, Alison Butler and Kaleigh Finigan. Defenseman Rachel Donahoe assisted on two of the tallies.

Schwenzfeier started the Hingham comeback in the third, floating around the Spartans cage for a shot then stuffing her own rebound through at 4:45. Hingham head coach Tom Findley pulled Walsh for an extra skater with 31 seconds left in regulation and Jane Freda chased down a dump-in by Schwenzfeier, getting off a shot that rebounded right to Ryder, who buried it with 3.7 seconds showing on the clock.

"I just told them they had to put it behind them," Pagliuca when asked what he told his team heading into overtime. "I know its hard but its a zero-zero game now and next team that scores now is going to win."

Butler, a junior captain who immense in killing off a penalty with under two minutes to play, was also asked about the Spartans mindset after Ryder's goal and said, "The game's not over. We just have to keep going, keep fighting and we'll get to where we want to be."

GOALIES TOUGH IN THE EXTRA FRAME
With the excitement of the overtime and a shootout between two of the state's perennial power programs, it took a pair of standout performances by a two first-year sophomore starters between the pipes to keep things scoreless in the extra frame.

Walsh and Skinnion, both sophomores who have improved by leaps and bounds over the course of the season, stood toe to toe and took each team's best shots to force the shootout. Butler fired a one-timer from the slot which Walsh stopped and managed to hold off both Finigan and Lanzilli, who were jamming at the rebound, until the net came off its moorings behind her.

"Taylor's our MVP. Without her, we don't have a chance," praised Hingham coach Tom Findley. "The team is built from the back out. You have to have a good goalie, you have to four or five good defensemen, and if you have that you're going to be in some games and you're going to win some. I think at the end, Taylor just stepped up. I'm so proud of her."

At the other end, Hingham defenseman Alexandria Gong made a terrific end-to-end rush and got a clean shot off that Skinnion was able to handle with 3:15 left. Less than two minutes later, Schwenzfeier had a great bid after forcing a turnover at the Spartans blue line and got off a hard shot through a defender that Skinnion was able to corral.

"[Lauren was] phenomenal, absolutely phenomenal," Pagliuca said of his goalie. "Players have stepped up this year and she's right at the top. To stop Freda and Sarah [Schwenzfeier[ in the shootout, that says something right there. She was outstanding. She gave us a chance to win the shootout. I can't be more happy with her play this year."

Recap: No. 1 Duxbury 3, No. 4 Hingham 0

February, 15, 2012
2/15/12
11:22
PM ET
HINGHAM, Mass. -- Midway through the third period of Wednesday's showdown between reigning girls hockey state champions Duxbury (Div. 2) and Hingham (Div. 1), the mask of Green Dragons goalie Rachel Myette got tangled up with the stick of Hingham’s Emily Falvey and came flying off.

That moment served as a microcosm of how often Myette, along with her defensive teammates, were sticking their noses into the action.

Playing behind a sterling performance from Duxbury’s defensive quartet of Martha Findley, Ally Hammel, Caroline Shaunessy and Carly Campbell, Myette stopped 26 shots to help the top-ranked Dragons claim a 3-0 shutout over the No. 4 Harborwomen at Pilgrim Arena.

‘When she needs to make the easy saves she makes them but she always has the ten-bell in her pocket and gives us confidence,” Duxbury coach Friend Weiler said in praise of Myette. “Game in and game out, we know that if one of them squirts free, I’ll put her up against the best any day. She’s just a real strong, solid kid back there with a great attitude. Works hard all the time, always has a smile on her face, but just a solid goaltender and thats what we built our team around.”

Facing an explosive Hingham (12-5-1) offense that recently found its scoring touch (29 goals in its last five games), Duxbury (16-0-0) knew it would have to rely heavily on Myette and its blue line corps.

The task of guarding Hingham’s dangerous first line of Jane Freda, Sarah Schwenzfeier and Catherine Linehan fell to the defense, and the Dragons continually got their sticks on pucks, blocked several shots and forced the shooters into tough angled shots.

“We were watching out for Jane Freda and Sarah Schwenzfeier because we knew they were their top girls,” Martha Findley said. “We were just watching them to see what they would do. We were watching the other girls too but they were our main focus, to keep them away from shooting.”

Strong play from the D helped spring the Duxbury forwards, a talented group in their own right, for offensive chances. Hammel was the first to capitalize, sending a shot from the point through a maze of bodies to the far post to give the Dragons a 1-0 lead at 8:32 of the first period.

Early in the second, Shaunessy forced a turnover at her own blue line and got the puck to Meredith Wright, who delivered a beautiful pass to a streaking Hannah Murphy (two assists). Hingham goalie Taylor Walsh made the initial stop, but Jane Dudley was trailing the play and put home the rebound.

The effort on the blue line was critical because Hingham’s top duo of Alexandria Gong and Tori Messina turned in an equally strong performance in front of Walsh, who also played very well and stopped 23 shots.

The Harborwomen pulled Walsh with two minutes to go in the game looking to cut the deficit, but Myette made several clutch stops and Marissa Fitcher fired into the empty-net for Duxbury’s third tally with 11 seconds left.

PENALTY KILLS WERE KEY
Not long after Dudley’s goal, Duxbury gave Hingham a golden opportunity to get back in the game by taking three penalties over a seven-minute span. The Dragons shorthanded group of Findley, Shaunessy, Jacqui Nolan and Liz Collins - with some help from Hammel and forwards Murphy, Lily Connolly - held the Harborwomen to just four shots on the three power plays.

“It was a little uncharacteristic of us and we kind of got off our game a little bit,” said Weiler of the penalties. “Our penalty killers did a phenomenal job of just pinning them back and not giving them an inch when they were trying to come into the zone. I was happy with the way our special teams worked tonight.”

Added Findley, ““It was tough but our defensive box works very well. We know how to work around each other and we get it out and our goalie talks to us and helps us too.”

SAVING THE BEST FOR LAST
After winning the Div. 2 state title a year ago, Weiler wanted to make sure his team would be properly prepared at the end of the season to make a run at defending the crown.

Hingham is a natural opponent, given the close proximity of the two towns, the natural rivalry between the schools, and the family-style atmosphere that permeates the games between the two, best exemplified by the fact that Martha Findley’s father John and uncle Tom stand on the Hingham bench.

The Dragons will also take on perennial state power St. Mary’s this Saturday, and will wrap up the season with the Cougar Classic and the possibility of facing Hingham one more time before the tournament begins.

These are the two toughest opponents on Duxbury’s schedule, and they are on it to help get the Dragons used to playing this level of opponent in a playoff-like atmosphere.

“I wanted to keep the schedule back heavy, keep it really strong, knowing that going into the tournament, this is a playoff type atmosphere,” Weiler said. “That’s one of the things you can’t really replicate in practice. I like getting the wheels spinning against D1 teams. They’re all strong, well coached and deep. You have to beat the best to be the best as they always say.”

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