Boston High School: Emily Falvey

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."

Recap: No. 1 Duxbury 4, No. 2 Hingham 2

January, 2, 2013
1/02/13
11:34
PM ET


KINGSTON, Mass. -- The last thing a goaltender wants to see with nothing but a clean sheet of ice between them is a Duxbury skater wearing No. 13 on her sweater and long red hair flying out from underneath the helmet, bearing down on you.

The Hingham girls saw that happen twice, and a third time that same white jersey was parked alone just off the crease. Hannah Murphy buried all three chances and powered the top-ranked Dragons to a 4-2 victory over No. 2 Hingham last night at The Bog.

With 5:35 to go in the first period, Murphy intercepted a clearing attempt just beyond the Harborwomen blue line, split a pair of defenders and out-skated four black shirts in to fire a wrist to the far side for the game's first score.

In the middle frame, defenseman Carly Campbell pushed a loose puck forward to Murphy, who floating solo around the Hingham blue line. Murphy collected the pass, skated in again and ripped a wrist shot to the stick-side corner at 5:03.

Just under five minutes later with the Dragons on the power play, Murphy executed a perfect give-and-go with Marissa Fichter, whose return pass from behind the goal was tailor-made for a one-timer, which Murphy buried to give the Dragons a 3-0 lead.

"I definitely couldn't have scored without their playing," Murphy said of her teammates ability to get her the puck. "There were definitely some good passes and Marisa made an awesome dish to me out front on the power play. I don't want to miss so I'm pretty confident. I just go in positive and say to myself that I'm going to snipe."

Added Duxbury head coach Friend Weiler, "The key is to get [Murphy] free and give her clear shooting lanes and we were able to do that tonight. Whenever she gets the space, she's real dangerous."

THIRD PERIOD DRAMATICS
Most girls programs spent the holidays either playing club hockey or enjoying the vacation time with their families and friends. Call it rust, or perhaps they were simply snake-bit, but the Harborwomen certainly generated chances. They outshot Duxbury, 18-14, in the game. They just weren't able to capitalize on many.

That changed in the closing seconds of the second period when quick passes by Emily Falvey and Catherine Linehan sprung Jane Freda loose for a breakaway, and the talented senior went low and found the five-hole with 1.5 seconds left.

That energized Hingham, and they cashed in on an early, third period power play as Freda and Linehan set up Falvey for a nice shot from the low left circle to make it a 3-2 game with 9:04 to go.

"I thought we had the momentum once we had that second goal," said Hingham head coach Tom Findley. "I honestly believe that we did dominate a lot of parts of that game. We just didn't put the pucks in the net. They have a goalie who is an elite goalie in the state and one of the elite players in Hannah who is just opportunistic. There's one girl you've got to keep an eye on and we didn't. We let her loose and she got loose in the wrong parts of the rink and she put the puck in."

Before the Harborwomen could tie it, however, Duxbury's Julia Nolan was able to sweep a loose puck home and the Dragons had a very important insurance goal with 4:19 remaining. Goalie Rachel Myette held the fort from there as Hingham kept the pressure on, finishing with 16 saves.

"Rachel had a huge game for us," Weiler praised. "There was a couple of big saves that kept us ahead and preserved the lead. They were trying to get traffic in front of the net and she was still able to make the big save when we needed it. Another backbone of the team. Goaltending is so huge and she's been phenomenal all year and the past two years."

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.

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.”

Hingham claims first D1 hockey championship

March, 20, 2011
3/20/11
11:34
PM ET


BOSTON -- Hingham claimed its first M.I.A.A. Division 1 State Championship Sunday night, 3-1, with two goals from freshmen forward Catherine Linehan and 17 saves from senior goalie Beth Findley.

“My defense played awesome, they let me see the puck really well,” Findley said postgame, who was in net for her 82nd win.

“She optimizes the perfect type of kid that you want in the net, nothing bothers her,” Hingham head coach Tom Findley said of his senior goaltender.

“We couldn’t lose to a classier team or a classier program,” said Acton-Boxborough head coach Brian Fontas of Hingham, “Top notch coach, top notch team with top notch players.”

The only goal of the first period was scored by the Harborwomen at 5:56. Jane Freda made a nice pass from the corner to Sarah Schwenzfeier in front of the net, her shot was saved but Linehan put in the rebound and it was 1-0 after the first.

Hingham was able to double their lead at 4:05 in the second period. Emily Falvey’s shot was stopped by Acton-Boxborough’s seventh grade goalie, Cali Loblundo, but the puck slipped out of her grasp and over the goal line for a 2-0 Hingham advantage.

The Colonials pulled to within a goal at 7:34 in the second period. Senior defenseman Caleigh LaBossiere took a hard slap shot that was redirected in front of the net by Kati Goguen to teammate Annie Nero, who scored the goal making it 2-1.



The Harborwomen regained their two goal lead at 9:11 in the second period when Linehan scored her second goal of the night. The freshmen tipped home a bouncing puck from the top of the crease, Schwenzfeier and Freda again assisting.

“I don’t think I’ve had that many all season!” Linehan said of her two-goal preformance, “I just wanted to try as hard as I could. And I didn’t expect to score, I just wanted to put 100 percent out there and I did.”

“I think she’s just having fun playing,” Coach Findley said of his freshman forward, “if you have fun you’re going to play well.”

The championship is the second in as many years for Hingham High as the boys' team won the Division 1A title last season.

“I think it says hockey is important to the town,” Beth Findley said of Hingham’s hockey success, “as you saw there were a lot of very little girls in the crowd. It’s nice to see that we give them something to look up to, to say ‘someday I want to be a Harborwomen.’”

“We’re here, and the town is here, they support both their teams and we’re lucky we have a great program,” added coach Findley, “Our youth program is unbelievable and we have a feeder system coming, I’m just ecstatic."

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