Boston High School: Annie Messuri

D1 girls: Acton-Boxborough 5, Barnstable 4 (OT)

March, 5, 2014
3/05/14
12:07
AM ET


STONEHAM, Mass. – Each Colonial player had to dig deep to find their motivation if they wanted any chance of avoiding an upset.

For the hero of the Acton-Boxborough squad, Eleana Cardarelli, it was the thought that it could be the last competitive ice hockey game of her life.

The Colonials scored the last three goals in their Division 1 quarterfinal match with Barnstable, the last coming 1:07 into the overtime period capping off a wild, come-from-behind, 5-4 victory over upset-minded Barnstable.

“I know when I was in front of the net, the puck kind of popped out and I just hit it,” said Cardarelli of her game-winning goal. “My motivation was, I’m playing field hockey in college, so I will never play competitive ice hockey in my entire life again. So that was my motivation but that whole overtime was 100 percent the team.”

Late in the second period, the Red Raiders led 4-2 and had no signs of slowing down but the Colonial turnaround can be traced back to one specific moment. An early timeout from Acton-Boxborough head coach Brian Fontas.

With 3:26 left in the second period and the Colonials with 53 second of 5-on-3 power play coming up, Fontas knew he couldn’t squander the opportunity for his team to get back in the game.

Thirty-eight seconds after the timeout, Kaitlin Hoang netted her first of two goals, when she picked up the puck in the slot, turned and fired to the far post to bring A-B within one.

“We were a little tired and three of our top five power play people were out there and we just said this is it, we need to put the puck on the 5-on-3 and we did,” said Fontas of his timeout.

When the Colonials took the ice for the third period, the team was resurrected. They outshot the Red Raiders (thanks in part to two power plays), 9-4, in the final stanza. Despite the dominance in shots and possession, Barnstable goalie Olivia Sollows stood on her head and kept the game tied.

But 9:17 into the third period, Hoang struck for her second goal of the game and was mobbed by her teammates immediately after the goal.

Once the game was tied, the wind that was in the sails of the Red Raiders was gone and instead it was A-B that controlled the tempo.

After an emotional frenzy to end regulation, it took the Colonials just 1:07 to stamp their ticket to the Division 1 semifinals.

“In the tournament you can’t take shifts off, can’t take periods off because every team wants to win,” said Fontas. “It means absolutely nothing what our regular season record is.”

“When we entered this tournament, everybody is 0-0. We want to play in the Garden but need to play better than that.”

Upset on their mind: Acton-Boxborough knows that they escaped by the skin of their teeth.

I just told the Barnstable coach you deserved to win the game and they did,” Fontas said.

It won’t make the loss any easier to swallow if you are a Red Raider on Wednesday morning, but the gave A-B everything they had.

The Red Raiders shot out of the gate, led by junior Lindsey Phelan, who had one of the best games of her season, setting up Callie Rogorzenski on a short-handed breakaway in the first period and scoring two more goals in the second period.

The backbreakers for Barnstable, however, were a goal in the final 10 seconds of the first period and a 5-on-3 power play late in the second period.

With 10 seconds to go in the first, Annie Messuri took a shot from the right point that deflected off a Barnstable stick down low and over the pad of Sollows.

Barnstable-Acton-Boxborough III: For the second consecutive year, the Colonials have eliminated the Red Raiders in overtime in the postseason. Last season, it was a 3-2 loss in the preliminary round.

When the two teams took the ice on Tuesday night, there were a combined six seniors who suited up meaning that the cores of both teams will be coming back next season, meaning that we could see this postseason matchup for a third time, and possible it will be over a state title.

Recap: No. 3 A-B 4, No. 13 St. Mary's 1

February, 19, 2014
2/19/14
2:27
AM ET


HINGHAM, Mass. – Acton-Boxborough scored just over a minute into the game and controlled the first and third periods to ease by St. Mary's, 4-1, at the Hingham Girls’ Hockey Showcase at Pilgrim Arena.

The Colonials’ depth was apparent as they were able to set the terms of engagement throughout and make the Spartans work harder for chances.

“The girls were really excited to play St. Mary's,” A-B head coach Brian Fontas said. “Since I've been at Acton-Boxborough, I think we've played them six or seven times and haven't beat them yet. It's nice. They're such a great program, I have a lot of respect for them.”

The Colonials were led by senior captain Annie Messuri. Messuri scored the opening goal of the game off a rebound and assisted on A-B's third goal with just over three minutes remaining to seal the victory.

Messuri led an offensive attack that only outshot St. Mary's, 23-18, but had far more quality scoring chances.

Megan Barrett scored for the Colonials to put AB up 2-0 just under four minutes into the game.

Leah Cardarelli had Acton's third goal, and Olivia Keefe buried an empty-net goal in the waning seconds from the neutral zone.

“I guess you could say that the first goal is important for our team,” Messuri said. “It gives us the adrenaline to go into the game and all three periods more excited to play.”

While scoring in the first minute was a boon for the Colonials it was a nightmare for the Spartans. St Mary's was on its heels for the final 44 minutes and was never fully able to push back A-B.

Samantha Callahan scored early in the second period to halve a 2-0 deficit, but that was as close at St. Mary's would get.

“I thought we came out flat and they took advantage of it,” St. Mary's coach Frank Pagliuca said. “We've had an issue coming out stronger, and they scored a goal on us. Right away we're behind and playing catch up the entire game. I thought after the first we played a really good second. We just didn't have enough finish.

“[Callahan's] one of our more offensively talented players, and she finished the chance for us.”

CLUTCH CALI: St. Mary's didn't have many top-notch chance,s but when they did Cali Loblundo was up to the challenge. The sophomore goalie shined for Acton-Boxborough turning aside 17 shots, including a Tim Thomas-esque dive across the cage in the second period.

“She's a big-time goalie,” Fontas said. “She's capable of those saves. St Mary's didn't stop and I knew they wouldn't.”

Loblundo chirped at her teammates all game about positioning and when Spartan forwards tried to sneak behind the AB defense. Messuri said having a confident goalie is a lift for the team.

“I thought Cali was great tonight,” Messuri said. “She stood on her head for us when we needed her most. She hung in for us real well tonight and I'm real proud of her.”
Presenting our MIAA boys' hockey preseason All-State team:

1st Team
F – Ashley Moran, Sr., Woburn
F – Ali O'Leary, Soph., Reading
F – Adrieana Rossini, Jr., Arlington Catholic
D – Tatiana Doucette, Sr., St. Mary's (Lynn)
D – Annie Messuri, Sr., Acton-Boxborough
G –Rachel Myette, Sr., Duxbury

2nd Team
F – Amanda Conway, Jr., Tewksbury/Methuen
F – Emily Lissner, Sr., Woburn
F – Brittani Lanzilli, Sr., Medford
D – Ally Hammel, Sr., Duxbury
D – Caroline Seibold, Soph., Reading
G –Courtney Davis, Sr., Woburn

3rd Team
F – Maggie Layo, Sr., Sandwich
F – Emily Loprete, Jr., Watertown/Belmont
F – Nicole Woods, Sr., Beverly
D – Tori Messina, Sr., Hingham
D – Kendall Stouffer, Jr., Falmouth
G –Madison Scavotto, Jr, Falmouth

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: Acton-Boxborough 3, Reading 2

March, 3, 2013
3/03/13
12:44
AM ET


READING, Mass. - When it came to getting ready for postseason play, the first, second and third items on the list for the Acton-Boxborough girls squad were all about special teams. That work and preparation came through in a big way in Saturday's night's first round matchup against Reading.

The 11th-seeded Colonials scored two power play goals, added a shorthanded tally, and then killed off a huge power play in the final two minutes to hang on for a 3-2 victory over No. 6 Reading at Burbank Arena.

Leah Carderelli led the way with a goal and two assists, Kaitlin Hoang had a goal and an assist, Megan Barrett had the short-handed mark and defenseman Annie Messuri dished out two helpers. Acton-Boxborough (15-6-2) will face a familiar foe in Wednesday's quarterfinal when they take on MVC/DCL rival and No 3 seed Westford Academy.

"Our penalty kill has been tremendous all season long," praised A-B coach Brian Fontas. "We do a great job of keeping the puck to the outside, tremendous effort and battle, they just worked so hard back there. We really take a lot of pride in our penalty kill. We work hard back there and it paid off tonight."

"My assistant coach Jeff Vaughn spends a lot of time on the power play and penalty kill," he continued. "We work on it a lot and I just know in the tournament its going to come down to power plays, penalty kills, special teams. We came through big tonight."

Penalties reared up early for the Rockets (14-5-2), who were called for five in the first period alone and got stuck defending a pair of five-on-three situations. A-B (15-6-2) cashed in on both, getting on the board first as Messuri fired the puck toward the crease and Hoang jammed it home at 2:50.

Carderelli normally mans the point when the Colonials have the extra skater, but during another two-man advantage in the final minute of the first, the sophomore moved down low in a wrinkle installed by Vaughn just a couple days ago. The move worked as Messuri fired off another blast and Carderelli was in position to stick the rebound at the far post.

"On our power play, I'm usually up top and I just try and get the puck to our other players so they can shoot and if there's an open shot I take it," Carderelli explained. "We did a different play on the [second five-on-three] power play, we just learned it the other day in practice so I was kind of nervous but once Annie [Messuri] took the shot, I saw the rebound and I just went in and got the puck."

Freshman standouts Ali O'Leary and Caroline Seibold teamed up to get Reading back in the game. While still killing off the remaining penalty after the Colonials goal, Seibold sprung O'Leary loose for a breakaway. A-B goalie Cali Loblundo (18 saves) made the initial stop, but O'Leary followed the rebound and put it right back with 12 seconds to go.

Acton found itself killing penalties more often in the second but produced another big play as Carderelli sent a perfect pass up to Barrett, who got the puck in stride while streaking through the middle of the ice. The freshman walked in and a made a nifty move to her backhand for the finish and a 3-1 A-B advantage.

Reading turned up the heat in the third, producing its best period of the night and finally breaking through as Stephanie Cohen corralled a long rebound of an O'Leary shot and sent it right back into an open net with 4:42 remaining in the game.

That would be all they would manage, however, as Messuri and the Colonials defense blocked several shots and clogged up the middle and Loblundo handled anything that got through. Despite being shorthanded, A-B did not allow a shot through to Loblundo over the final 1:25.

"[Coach Fontas] had said on the bench to block shots so everyone was diving for shots, doing everything they could to block everything in front of the net," described Messuri. "In the beginning we started doing a high forward where we would have one high forward up and the defensemen could pinch. As we were up 3-2 at the end, we had the third forward stay on the blue line and play defense for the rest of the game."

ROCKETING BACK TO RELEVANCE
Make no mistake about it - Reading is going to be a team to keep an eye for the next several years. After missing the postseason the last two seasons and winning just three games a year ago, the Rockets made a stunning turnaround and emerged as one of the state's top teams in 2012-13.

Four immensely talented freshmen - forwards Ali O'Leary and Tori Grimmer, defenseman Caroline Seibold and goalie Kayla St. Pierre - were at the heart of it. O'Leary proved herself to be among the state's elite scorers with 30 goals and 18 assists, while Grimmer and Seibold were second and third on the team in points. St. Pierre pitched five shutouts and finished with a goals against average well under 2.00.

The transformation could not have happened, however, without the leadership and all-around good nature of the Rockets veteran players. Senior captains Heather Toussaint and Delaney Albert, along with junior captain Sarah Hart and the rest of the upperclassmen - many of whom were losing playing time - helped smooth the way for those freshmen to feel comfortable about coming and doing their thing.

"It was a nice blend where we had very welcoming seniors that knew what was coming because they skated together in the summer," Reading coach Mike Golden said. "We had high expectations and I think we actually exceeded a little bit on our expectations. No one really knew how dynamic Ali was until she got here and Seibold is terrific on defense. The girls were great, they were receptive. Even the kids who had played regular shifts last year knew they were here and they had to play."

"We're going to be good next year but I'm really going to miss this team because it was all a year of firsts," Golden added. "Turning the thing around, winning games, competing for the Middlesex League, excitement going into states...we could have as easily lost this game today as reached the finals. It was a blast. it was a fun year and the kids made it fun.

"I told them my wife thinks I'm insane because I'm running down here six days a week but I said, 'If she got to spend three hours a day with you guys, she'd understand and appreciate why I look forward to coming here every day.' They're just a great group of kids."

MIAA hockey midseason All-State teams

February, 4, 2013
2/04/13
5:17
PM ET
BOYS
1st Team

F – Liam Coughlin, Sr., Catholic Memorial
F – Brian Pinho, Sr., St. John’s Prep
F – Ara Nazarian, Soph., Malden Catholic
D – Casey Fitzgerald, Soph., Malden Catholic
D – Matt Foley, Sr., Springfield Cathedral
G – Peter Cronin, Sr., BC High

2nd Team
F – Sam D’Antuono, Soph., Hingham
F – Mike Kelleher, Sr., Central Catholic
F – Cam Owens, Sr., Wilmington
D – Bryan Nelson, Jr., St. John's (Shrewsbury)
D – Jack Williams, Sr., Springfield Cathedral
G – Drew Foley, Jr., Wilmington

GIRLS
1st Team

F – Alison Butler, Sr., St. Mary’s (Lynn)
F – Jane Freda, Sr., Hingham
F – Kayla Smith, Sr., Woburn
D – Cassandra Connolly, Sr., Woburn
D – Annie Messuri, Jr., Acton-Boxborough
G – Courtney Davis, Jr., Woburn

2nd Team
F – Kaleigh Finigan, Sr., St. Mary's (Lynn)
F – Hannah Murphy, Sr., Duxbury
F - Adrieanna Rossini, Soph., Arlington Catholic
D – Tatiana Doucette, Jr., St. Mary’s (Lynn)
D – Alexx Good, Sr., Falmouth
G – Maddie Scavotto, Soph., Falmouth

WHO COULD BE THERE
Aside from those named to our first two teams, there are a plenty of deserving candidates across the state that made for some very hard decisions.

Here's a peak at few players who were on the cusp and who are worth keeping tabs on as we near tournament time:

Tom Besinger, Sr. F, BC High: His two-goal performance in Saturday night's comeback win over Catholic Memorial tells you everything you need to know about the shifty center.

Eddie Pratt, Sr. F, Xaverian: It wouldn't be too outlandish to say that you could make a strong case for the power forward (15-11-26) as the Catholic Conference MVP.

Jack Kilty, Sr. F, Medway: Don't let the fact that the Mustangs play in D3 detract from his resume (17-17-34); he could skate on any line in the state.

Nick Rolli, Sr. D, Malden Catholic: It's been an up-and-down year for the Lancers, but the blue-liner is a steadying force, playing on all units.

Alex Buckley, Sr. G, Newburyport: In terms of shots seen, it's hard to beat his 94.8 save percentage.

Tim Birarelli, Soph. G, Beverly: The Panthers' offense gets a lot of the pub, but the second-year backstop has been a revelation this year as they've surrendered just 10 goals on the season.

Brittani Lanzilli, Jr. F, Medford: After transferring back from St. Mary's, she'll lead the Mustangs as far as they can go.

Maggie Layo, Jr. F, Sandwich: Among the leading scorers in the state (11-33-44), she's a huge part why no one will want to cross paths with the Blue Knights in D2.

Hannah Wright, Sr. D, Arlington: As close to a shut-down blue-liner as you'll find in MIAA hockey this year.

Shannon O'Neil, Sr. G, Austin Prep: Perhaps the toughest decision to make among all of them in a particularly good year of goaltending in the girls' game. A 97.2 percentage and six shutouts is about as good as it gets.

Recap: Hingham 4, Acton-Boxborough 2

December, 16, 2012
12/16/12
12:40
AM ET
BOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Hingham coach Tom Findley was looking for signs of improvement in all facets when his team took the ice Saturday night against Acton-Boxborough. He certainly left the rink with good feelings.

Catherine Linehan notched a hat trick and Jane Freda added a goal and an assist as the Harborwomen took a 4-2 decision over the Colonials in a game slowed by 13 penalties at Nashoba Valley Olympia.

"It's always good to beat a team like Acton. Brian's got them prepared and they played an awesome game," Findley said. "Their power play was great, they got two power play goals. They protect the box, they played great. We had to really battle hard to come out with a victory. Our top forward put the puck in the net to win the game for us and that's what it comes down to."

Penalties would be a theme and it was Acton-Boxborough (1-2-1) who struck first, cashing in on its first power play. Senior captain Lauren Roche did a tremendous job to keep the puck alive in the Hingham zone, poking it behind the boards to Eleana Cardarelli. Cardarelli drifted out and quickly snuck a pass across to junior defenseman Annie Messuri, playing her first game after missing the last two with a wrist injury, who banged home the one-timer at 6:32.

Hingham won the ensuing faceoff and Freda served up a nice feed to Linehan, who buried her shot to tie the game just 26 seconds later. Penalties began to play a crucial role as A-B took a pair in the final minute of the opening frame, and then got tagged with two more in the second, giving the Harborwomen consecutive five-on-three advantages, the latter of which last 1:21.

The Colonials killed off both, but Hingham broke through a second after the last one expired. Sam Ryder pushed the back to Tori Messina at the point for a quick wrist shot, Cali Loblundo (19 saves) made the initial save but Linehan swooped in from the boards and stuck in the rebound to give the Harborwomen a 2-1 lead at 5:52.

Hingham then found itself in the penalty box and A-B cashed in again as Cardarelli redirected a shot by Roche to tie the game 45 seconds later at 2-2. Freda popped in the game-winner off a feed from Linehan at 7:27 of the third, and Linehan capped her big night with an empty-netter for the final score.

NEWLY CONFIDENT GOALIE
In the later stages of the third period, an A-B skater rushed into the Hingham crease looking for a rebound and pulled up short upon realizing there was none, sending a shower of snow into the face of Hingham goalie Taylor Walsh. Walsh hopped to her feet immediately and came charging out to voice her displeasure.

A year ago, Walsh was an inexperienced sophomore netminder stuck with the role of replacing four-year starter and two-time state championship winner Beth Findley. She improved tremendously over the course of the year in terms of her on-ice play, but her confidence level remained a work in progress.

That has clearly changed. Now a junior, Walsh not only showed off her feisty side in the example above, but showed a willingness to get out of her crease to challenge shooters and even flash the glove around a bit. Walsh was at her best in the third, stopping seven shots and finishing with 16 saves.

"Taylor was great in the third period, she was awesome," praised Findley. "She's a solid goalie and a great kid. She comes to practice every day and works her tail off. Success comes from hard work and that's what I'm proud of her with."

"She got sprayed and she was upset about it. I kind of like that, Findley continued with a big grin. "Last year was her first year playing and she probably didn't know how to react. But now, after playing a while and being an upperclassman, she's going to react. I was very happy with her performance for sure."

POSITIVE SIGNS FOR A-B
While 1-2-1 was not the record Colonials coach Brian Fontas had envisioned for his talented group at this stage, there were many things to chalk up in the plus-column.

Loblundo, now in her third year as a starter despite being just a freshman, was terrific in the early going, making the bulk of her saves between the first and second periods.

Messuri, an ESPN Boston preseason second-team All-State selection, showed no signs of being bothered by her wrist injury despite being forced to wear a cast to protect it. The junior scored a power-play goal, played rock-solid defense in her own end and captained the shorthanded unit that killed off seven penalties.

In fact, it was that special teams play that kept the Colonials in the game. The Harborwmen had two-man advantages that lasted 39 seconds and 1:21 and A-B's penalty killers managed to kill off both among the seven power plays they were forced to defend.

"Annie Messuri is our top penalty killer. She's just tremendous in the defensive zone," Fontas praised. "She really thrives on the penalty kill. She's so good at eating the puck in the corner. I thought Eleana and Leah Cardeaelli did great when they were out there, Lauren Roche, Kaitlin Hoang, Megan Barrett - they did a tremendous job. It's not easy to kill a penalty against Hingham."

And while the final result wasn't what Fontas had hoped for, the effort was and if that continues, things will definitely turn positive for his team in a hurry.

"I'm not disappointed," he stated proudly. "I told the girls that if they continue to play like we're going to win some hockey games. That's why we schedule teams like that, it makes us better. We're young and we made a couple mistakes. We are seasoned but they are still young and when you get in those pressure situations, sometimes stuff happens."

MIAA girls' hockey preseason All-State team

December, 13, 2012
12/13/12
5:04
PM ET
Continuing our preseason MIAA hockey previews, here's our girls' hockey preseason All-State team:

FIRST TEAM
F - Kayla Smith, Sr., Woburn
F - Alison Butler, Sr., St. Mary’s (Lynn)
F - Hannah Murphy, Sr., Duxbury
D - Hannah Wright, Sr., Arlington
D - Cassandra Connolly, Sr., Woburn
G - Courtney Davis, Jr., Woburn

SECOND TEAM
F - Jane Freda, Jr., Hingham
F - Brittani Lanzilli, Jr., Medford
F - Kaleigh Finigan, Sr., St. Mary’s (Lynn)
D - Brooke Matherson, Jr., Walpole
D - Annie Messuri, Jr., Acton-Boxborough
G - Rachel Myette, Jr., Duxbury

ESPNBoston hockey midseason All-State teams

January, 24, 2012
1/24/12
12:30
PM ET
BOYS MIDSEASON ALL-STATE
F - Brendan Collier, Malden Catholic
F - Ryan Fitzgerald, Malden Catholic
F - Sam Kurker, St. John's Prep
D - Jared Beckwith, Catholic Memorial
D - Jake Secatore, Woburn
G - David Letarte, St. John's Prep

Others garnering consideration:
Tom Besinger, Soph. F, BC High
Tom Cahill, Sr. F, Pembroke
Liam Centrella, Sr. F, Andover
Frank Crinella, Sr. F, Springfield Cathedral
Peter Cronin, Jr. G, BC High
Kevin Emmerling, Sr. F, St. John's (Shrewsbury)
Connor Fenton, Sr. D, Braintree
Jarrod Fitzpatrick, Soph. F, St. Mary's of Lynn
Brian Furey, Sr. D, BC High
Danny Holland, Sr. F, Woburn
Pat Houghton, Sr. D, Westford Academy
Mike Iovanna, Jr. F, Malden Catholic
Mike Kelleher, Jr. F, Central Catholic
Chris LeBlanc, Sr. F, Winthrop
Conal Lynch, Sr. F, Boston Latin
Colin MacGillivray, Jr. D, Malden Catholic
Nikko Markham, Sr. D, St. Mary's of Lynn
Bobby Mullins, Sr. F, St. Mary's of Lynn
Brian Pinho, Jr. F, St. John's Prep
Casey Shea, Sr. F, Woburn
Shane Starrett, Jr. G, Catholic Memorial
Joe Strangie, Jr. F, Danvers
Kyle Williams, Sr. G, Central Catholic

GIRLS' MIDSEASON ALL-STATE
F - Natalie Flynn, Arlington Catholic
F - Kayla Smith, Woburn
F - Kati Goguen, Acton-Boxborough
D - Martha Findley, Duxbury
D - Emily Loebs, Acton-Boxborough
G - Courtney Davis, Woburn

Others garnering consideration:
Cassandra Connolly, Jr. D, Woburn
Lily Connolly, Jr. F, Duxbury
Jackie Denning, Jr. F/D, Lexington
Rachel Donahoe, Sr. D, St. Mary's of Lynn
Jane Freda, Jr. F/D, Hingham
Haley Gaughan, Sr. F, Canton
Samantha Girard, Fr. F, Dedham
Erika Kelly, Sr. F, Watertown/Melrose
Cali Loblundo, 8th G, Acton-Boxborough
Brooke Matherson, D, Walpole
Caroline McCarthy, Sr. F, Belmont
Tori Messina, So. D, Hingham
Annie Messuri, D, Acton-Boxborough
Megan Messuri, Soph. G, Arlington Catholic
Hannah Murphy, Jr. F, Duxbury
Rachel Myette, So. G, Duxbury
Shannon O'Neil, G, Austin Prep
Danielle Phalon, Sr. F, Stoneham
Casey Schaejbe, Sr. G, Arlington
Sarah Schwenzfeier, Jr. F, Hingham
Caroline Shaughnessy, So. D, Duxbury
Kaitlyn Spillane, Jr. F/D, Franklin
Bethany Welch, Jr. G, Walpole
Rebecca Zappalla, Sr. D, Arlington Catholic

Recap: No. 5 A-B 3, No. 3 Hingham 1

January, 7, 2012
1/07/12
11:57
PM ET
BOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Motivation can be a big weapon if it's used correctly and is applied with heart and determination behind it.

The fifth-ranked Acton-Boxborough girls hockey team had plenty of reason to be motivated entering last night's game against No. 3 Hingham. The last time the two teams met, the Colonials watched the Harborwomen skate around the TD Garden ice with the Div. 1 state championship trophy following a 3-1 loss.

Determined to atone for that, A-B made a pretty big statement Saturday night as eighth-grade forward Kaitlin Hoang scored the game's lone goal just 2:05 into the opening period while eighth-grade Cali Loblundo had 31 saves to make it stick as the Colonials took down Hingham, 1-0, at Nashoba Valley Olympia.

"I'd be lying if I didn't say that game in the Garden last year wasn't a huge motivation for us this year," admitted A-B coach Brian Fontas. "Any motivational tool you can use with the girls is big."

Co-captain Emily Loebs, one of just two Colonials seniors with fellow co-captain Kati Goguen, noted that the bad memories of that night at TD Garden were still fresh in hers and her teammates minds.

"Every practice since we came back from break, Coach started off by staying 'this is for Hingham. They beat us in the Garden.'" Loebs said in a refreshing bit of honesty. "Me and Kati, we tried to enforce that, as much as the entire team should want to win, because of the sole reason that they beat us in the Garden, that should give you a fire inside among everything else that."

TEAM DEFENSE FIRST
The other subject of the Colonials practices this past week revolved around defense and killing penalties. A-Bs quartet of defenders - Loebs, Annie Messuri, Alex Loblundo and Alex Macrides - did a spectacular job of limiting Hingham's chances to utilize its devastating team speed to create scoring chances and blocked numerous shots.

Stuck facing six shorthanded situations, including a pair of 5-on-3s, penalty killers Loebs, Messuri, Goguen, Lauren Roche, Hoang, Olivia Keefe and Megan Barrett managed to hold off the normally deadly Harborwomen every time.

"Our penalty kill was just incredible," praised Fontas. "We really stress penalty kill and team defense. My assistant coach Jeff Vaughan is just amazing. He was a defensive player at Northeastern. He stresses it and works on it constantly every day so we're prepared in that area."

"It's just determination and hard work, it doesn't take a lot of skill to penalty kill," Fontas continued. "It just takes heart and determination and we had that tonight. To kill two 5 on 3s is pretty incredible against that offense."

Added Hingham coach Tom Findley on his team's lack of power play success, "That's a killer and I told the kids we're going to have to work on that the next couple of days. We were a little hesitant. We haven't had a lot of five on threes and I think the kids were trying to run the regular power play. You don't have to do that. You can basically use the low post and do a lot of different things. We were trying to do the hook and ladders and the D to D too much."

WEATHERING THE STORM
Hingham started off a bit slow, but as the game wore on, the number of chances began to increase along with the quality of those opportunities. The diminutive Loblundo improved right along with them.

Standing at what we'll just call a flat five feet tall, the 13-year old netminder took her game to another level in the third period. Several times, the Harborwomen found themselves with chances for one-timers or sim-ply staring straight in at the A-B goal. Every time, Loblundo's quickness and uncanny reflexes put her in position to make the stops.

"Most of the time there were screens so I didn't really know what was going on and I kind of just dropped, guessing and hoping," Loblundo admitted with a smile. "Sometimes when I could see it I was thinking about the fact that they beat us last year and I don't want that to happen again."

Findley knows a thing or two about goaltending in his own right, having won Division 1 and 2 state titles with his daughter Beth in the cage, came away even more impressed than he already was with Loblundo's ability.

"She played fantastic," he said. "She's an elite goalie, she stays square to the puck and she's only in the eighth grade so she's only going to get bigger and better."

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