Boston High School: Kaitlyn Morse

The 8: Duxbury, St. Mary's skate to tie

February, 20, 2013

HINGHAM, Mass. -- With eight of the state's best girls hockey programs on display at The 8 Showcase at Pilgrim Arena, you had to expect at least a nailbiter or two. That game turned out to be the third of the day as No. 2 Duxbury and No. 5 St. Mary's battled to a scoreless draw.

At the end of regulation, a three-skater shootout was held for fun and the Dragons' Hannah Murphy scored the only goal.

The goaltending was nothing short of spectacular at both ends, necessarily so in the face of two of the state's most potent offenses. Spartans (15-3-3) junior Lauren Skinnion made 25 saves while her counterpart Rachel Myette stopped 16 shots in goal for Duxbury (16-1-2).

"Duxbury is a great team, they hustle a lot and they are really talented," Skinnion said. "For me, it's just focusing on one shot at a time and not worrying about what's going to happen next. Just focusing on what I have to do on each individual shot. My defense really stepped it up and played great. They were really aggressive and kept people away from and cleared pucks well."

Added Duxbury head coach Friend Weiler, "Rachel [Myette] is always there when we need here. She came up huge in the shootout, even though it didn't mean anything it's still good practice to get. She's nursing a few injuries, trying to get back healthy again and she's definitely a gamer. She stepped up big for us."

St. Mary's already thin roster took a couple of hits as first-line forwards Kaleigh Finigan (shoulder) and Sam Callahan (hamstring) were taken to the hospital with injuries. That forced Spartans head coach Frank Pagliuca to do some juggling with his lines, but players such as Madison Molea, Jacqueline Murphy, Sarah Ryan and Kira Iaccoupucci filled in admirably.

Additionally, second line center Gabby Crugnale continued to look like the most improved player in the state. The senior has the talent to play up on the Spartans top unit, but instead serves as the lynchpin of the second line. She was one of the most notable players on the ice for either side at both ends, as well as on special teams.

"I'm proud of my kids, we battled hard today," Pagliuca said. "We had some kids step up. Obviously the depth is an issue when we lose two of our regular players but I was proud of our kids. I thought we played a really good game considering everything."

The Dragons also got key contributions from several spots aside from the usual standouts. Weiler praised freshman defenseman Payton Donato, who continues to look like a player to watch over the next few years, as well as top blue liner Ally Hammel. Sophomore Marissa Fichter also continues to gain tremendous strides, displaying incredible strength and skating ability while excelling in all facets of the game.

"She's a complete player," Weiler said of Fichter. "She works just as hard in the defensive zone as the offensive zone and in the neutral zone as well. She's always in the right place. She's just a high caliber kid and a high caliber hockey player. She's a force out there and she never quits."

The Spy Ponders, the lowest ranked team in the field at No. 18, may have been the biggest surprise on the first day of the showcase. Carolyn Woodin and Katie Cummings had the goals in a 2-1 victory over No. 12 Acton-Boxborough.

"We have to do the little things and get the puck in deep and chip it in and forecheck and play smart," explained Arlington coach Jeff Mead. "We have nine seniors, we're big and we're strong. We don't have a tremendous amount of skill but we can skate and we're physical. We just have to keep doing the little things. Today was one of those games where we got the bounces and AB didn't."

The Colonials (13-5-2) scored the game's first goal as Lauren Roche collected a bouncing puck that came off the stick of teammate Megan Barrett and rifled home a bull's-eye wrist shot for a power play goal at 5:33 of the first period.

Arlington (11-8-0) got it back late in the frame as Woodin converted a feed from captain Kaitlyn Morse. Then, midway through the second, senior Eva Colarusso made a pair of heads up plays, first intercepting an attempted clearing pass and then having the presence of mind to dish the puck over to Cummings, who buried her shot into an open net.

"Eva is a workhorse," praised Mead. "She works hard all the time and she's one of those kids that, once the puck is below the dots, she's big and she's strong, she knows how to protect the puck and she keeps it below the circles. Katie Cummings is another one. They're my number one penalty killers and they're tough to knock off the puck. When they get the puck on their stick its tough to knock them off it."

Recap: No. 5 Lexington 3, No. 7 Arlington 2

February, 12, 2012
LEXINGTON, Mass. -- In a game that needed nearly all its minutes to decide an outcome, No. 5 Lexington netted a go-ahead goal with seven minutes remaining in the third period and defeated No. 7 Arlington on Saturday evening, 3-2.

“Arlington’s a tough game for us,” Lexington head coach Amanda Ciarletta said. “They just play hard, they play fast, they play gritty, and I love playing [these] games.”

“We just had a hard time finding the back of the net,” Arlington head coach Jeff Mead said. “It’s unfortunate that we didn’t get it tonight, but the girls played hard.”

Following the initial face-off, both Arlington and Lexington (11-5-0) spent the first few minutes chasing the puck up and down the ice until junior Sara Lehman (two goals) stole it from the Spy Ponder defense and lifted it over the right shoulder of senior Casey Schaejbe (18 saves) for the Minutemaid’s first goal at 5:24.

Nine minutes later, the Spy Ponders (7-6-4) answered when junior Kaitlyn Morse collected the puck after it bounced off the left shoulder of Minutemen senior goaltender Katie Lenard (17 saves) and pushed it directly into the net, which tied the game, 1-1.

Junior Eva Colarusso doubled Arlington’s goal total a minute into the second period when she rifled the puck from her team’s bench past Lenard’s right arm and into the cage.

“My teammates have always been really supportive of me, and it’s just so helpful to have them there," Lenard said. "When you’re a goalie, you beat yourself up, [and think], ‘oh no, I just blew the game,’ but they came over and were like, ‘we’ll do this together.'"

Lehman helped Lexington climb back into the contest late in the second period when she weaved through the Arlington defense and slapped the puck past Schaejbe for the equalizer.

“The kids got a little lazy, little complacent, and there’s nothing you can do about it,” Mead said. “[After Lexington tied the game], I just told them to make sure we get pucks in deep, and do the little things.”

The Spy Ponders didn’t exactly follow their coach’s demands entering the third period, as they watched senior co-captain Danielle DelGreco skate past them, and deposit the puck at 3:21 to give the Minutemen a one-goal advantage.

Arlington then ramped up its pressure by firing numerous shots on Lenard, which were turned away. Juniors Katie Cummings and Shannon Hickey each had chances to tie the game, as well as Morse during the final seconds of regulation, but the Minutemen defense assisted their goaltender with deflections and clears that helped Lexington earn the season series sweep.

“[Legnard] held her own, she stayed calm, she stayed cool, she stayed collected, and she really helped us on [Morse’s] breakaway at the end that could have tied it," Ciarletta said. "So we’re proud of her, and she’s a hard worker, and she put her team on her shoulders tonight."

For the past few years, Lexington’s coaching staff has challenged their players to organize one community service project that gives back to their town, and this year, the Minutemen chose to participate with the Susan G. Komen organization in the ongoing fight against breast cancer by decorating the rink with balloons and streamers, and sporting pink jerseys. They also sold various baked goods, and sold raffle tickets to raise money for their donation.

“Our girls worked really hard over the week to put [this event together], and a big motivator for us doing this was one of my former college teammates had breast cancer.” Ciarletta said. “She’s a survivor, and she actually was the assistant coach on the Arlington team tonight, so it even brought it more home for us because she’s a survivor, she was a teammate of mine, great friend of mine, and it’s special that we can raise awareness for this [battle].”

The head coach continued by saying, “We have so many kids here, who’s families are affected by it all the time, so we just wanted to give back, and just raise awareness for the cause.”