BOURNE, Mass. – Well, it turns out that Maddi and McKenzie Haberl will get the headlines they were talking about after all.
Leading up to Falmouth’s Div. 2 semifinal clash with Burlington, senior Maddi Haberl told younger sister McKenzie that the duo would connect for a goal, paving the way for a return trip to the TD Garden.
That opportunity presented itself early in the second period with the Clippers leading the Red Devils 3-1. Maddi sent an outlet pass up to McKenzie, and the younger Haberl took the pass in stride, flipping a backhanded shot over the leg pad of goalie Cassidy Smith, opening up a 4-1 lead.
“My sisters [been saying] that I hope in our semifinal game that it will be ‘me to you McKenzie and its going to be in big headlines,’” McKenzie Haberl said.
The freshman phenom went on to score four goals in the game, while Maddi Haberl notched two assists, as the pair led the Clippers to a 6-2 victory over Burlington.
Now waiting for the Clippers in the Div. 2 championship game is Wellesley, which defeated Medfield 2-1 in overtime later in the evening. In the regular season finale for both teams, the Raiders defeated Falmouth 4-3. Wellesley also ended Falmouth’s season a year ago with a 3-2 victory in the semifinals.
For the 10 seniors on the team, it marks their third trip to the TD Garden for the Div. 2 Championship. But unlike the first two trips, losses to Duxbury in 2012 and 2013, the Clippers are committed to finishing the job.
“It feels good and I knew it would, but it’s not over yet,” Clipper goalie and senior captain Madison Scavotto said. “We have our little celebration and we go into the locker room all excited, but we have a week of practice ahead of us.”
“We’re not going to be satisfied this year with just a trip to the Garden, that’s not what it’s about for us. It’s about winning a state championship, so that’s what we’re focused on.”
Even for the underclassman, the message is clear: Anything short of a state championship is unacceptable.
McKenzie Haberl was watching from the stands when Falmouth made its first two trips to the Garden. But now as a member of the team, she’s ready to get that title that has eluded Falmouth in the past.
“This is probably the greatest moment, ever,” Haberl said after the game.
“Just being able to play with Kelly (Ferreira) and Maggie (MacDonald), I’ve looked up to them since I was little. Especially playing with my sister, it makes the moment even more special.”
From the opening drop of the puck, the Clippers showed that they were determined to get back to the Garden after a one-year absence.
Maggie MacDonald opened the scoring at 3:06 of the game as she sped off on a breakaway. Just 31 seconds later, Shannon Upton lit the lamp when she picked the top-right corner while moving from right-to-left in the slot.
McKenzie Haberl then scored her first of four goals 5:23 into the game, on a goal made possible by MacDonald. The senior chipped it to herself along the boards and regained possession in the offensive zone. She looked up and slid a pass through the slot to Haberl on the left wing, who polished off the one-timer for the lightening quick 3-0 lead.
“I think we were real confident, not cocky, but really confident going into this game,” McKenzie Haberl explained. “We’re feeling it and I think it helps being confident in the game.”
Offensive Threat: Jumping out to a 3-0 lead through five-plus minutes was critical for Falmouth, but Burlington had shown all season long that they can score numbers in bunches, and quickly.
The Red Devils got their break with just over three minutes to go in the opening period. A cross-check on Hannah Callahan sent Burlington on the power play, and they made the most of it.
Four seconds into the man-advantage, Julia Swarbrick took a shot off the offensive zone draw. Alisa Canney got a stick on the puck on the way in, deflecting it just enough to beat Scavotto, cutting the deficit to two.
But Falmouth never let Burlington get any closer.
The Clippers made it a point to shutdown 50-goal scorer Kelly Browne and they succeeded.
Falmouth’s top-line of Maddi Haberl, Ericka Meissner and Shannon Upton had the awareness of knowing where Browne was on the ice at all times and kept her off the scoreboard.
“We were aware of when she was on the ice and we knew she’s a talented player and can put the puck away,” Falmouth coach Erin Hunt said. “But we have a lot of talented played on our team that can match her speed and competitiveness.”
“You can’t ignore a player like that,” Scavotto added. “It’s not good hockey to just focus on one player, but you can’t ignore a player like that. So in the back of our mind, we knew where she was.”
Burlington did add another goal in the second period. A nifty move from Swarbrick allowed her to slice through the defense and beat Scavotto one-on-one that once again made it a two-goal game, but Haberl scored two more to put the game away.