Boston High School: Megan Messuri

AC's Messuri to play at Hobart

April, 23, 2014
4/23/14
10:49
AM ET
In 2012 and '13, Megan Messuri backstopped Arlington Catholic to the Division 1 girls' state hockey final, winning the state title in 2012. Next year, the goaltender will join Hobart and William Smith Colleges first-year women's hockey program, her father tells ESPN Boston.

Messuri was between the pipes for the Cougars win as a sophomore and also helped them to finals appearance against league rival St. Mary's of Lynn as a junior. Last year, Messuri played at the Northwood School in Lake Placid, N.Y.

"This is a great opportunity to lead a college team into it's inaugural year in the NCAA," Messuri wrote in an email. "While I fully expect my team to experience a learning curve, my aspiration is to impact my team to ensure we make a title run."

Recap: No. 8 Arlington Catholic 2, No. 7 AP 0

February, 1, 2014
2/01/14
10:18
PM ET
STONEHAM, Mass. -- Austin Prep head coach Stephanie Wood doesn't need to be reminded. Neither does her team.

The Cougars realize that for them to make any kind of headway in the upcoming Division 1 postseason tournament later this month, they need to get better production out of their power play unit.

On Saturday night, and facing Catholic Central Large Conference rival Arlington Catholic inside Stoneham Arena, AP had multitude of player-advantage opportunities, including a pair of substantial 5-on-3 chances. But not once did the Cougars capitalize as AC prevailed 2-0.

"We had a lot of chances on the power play but couldn't take advantage, but I also thought their goalie played really well for them tonight," said Wood. "We had a couple of 5-on-3 as well as some other chances to come back in this one but we just couldn't. This season we haven't had much trouble finding the back of the net but today for some reason it didn't happen for us."

With the victory, AC (11-2-1, 4-0-1), winners of the seven straight, moves one step closer to clinching its first CCL title. Coming off a tie two nights ago versus Notre Dame Academy (Hingham), AP drops to 9-2-2 (1-2-0). These two combatants will meet again on Wednesday at Ed Burns Arena in Arlington.

Despite her team doing her no favors by committing a plethora of infractions, AC goalie Katherine Crane played superbly. The junior stopped all 20 shots she faced, including a couple of breakaway chances.

"From the net out, I feel we played our hardest tonight," Crane said. "My mind was telling me don't let them score. It got a little nerve-racking at times out there. [Former AC goaltender] Megan Messuri has been a great role model for me. During practices, she tells me what to do in these types of situations. I feel like she has really prepared me well. Throughout every game I feel like I have gotten better and we have gotten better as a team."

AC controlled the opening period. Working the puck up quickly along the boards, and continuously cycling inside AP's zone, the visiting Cougars would take a 1-0 lead at 9:26. Duggan Delano, a junior forward, standing in the right slot, sent a shot through the leg pads of AP goalie Caty Flagg.

Despite putting up 14 first period shots, AC would have to settle for its one-goal margin heading into the first intermission. The remainder of this tilt turned into a whistle fest. With no penalties called in the opening period, officials made up for it over the final two frames. In all,14 penalties were called over the final 30 minutes, including eight against AC.

The constant stoppage in play, in turn, took away from a relatively entertaining contest. Early in the second period, AP was awarded its first 5-on-3 chance, but failed to get anything past Crane. A brief two-player advantage ensued shortly thereafter with still nothing to show for it. As second period concluded with no scoring from either side, AP knew it needed to put everything on the line coming out for the third.

But early in the frame, AC junior forward Adrieana Rossini had a chance to pad her team's lead after breaking in on Flagg all alone. But the sophomore held her ground and was able to kick aside Rossini's low right side attempt keeping it a one-goal contest.

Moments later, AC sent two more in the penalty box, giving AP a 30 second 5-on-3 to work with. But the result proved no different as the earlier ones as AC's defense and Crane continued to keep AP at bay.

"Katherine has played well for us pretty-much the whole year," AC head coach and former Boston College standout Maggie Taverna said. "Her taking Messuri's spot this year was a worry at first but she has really stepped up to the plate. She has been making some big saves for us. As a team we have practicing a lot on our penalty kill. I'm trying to teach them the rotation that I learned in college from my coaches Katie King-Crowley and Courtney Kennedy. I'm hoping that is going to work. These kids are willing to learn and when they see something they are taught work for them, then they're like OK let's do that. When they start to execute things properly that is when things start to click in their heads."

With time winding down, AP was dealt a crushing blow after sophomore Juliana Dolan managed to put in a backhand shot past Flagg after a mad scramble in front of the crease. The tally extended AC's advantage to two goals with under three minutes to go. AP could do little after that as the Cougars went down quietly.

"The depth of our team is what makes up strong," Taverna said. "We are fortunate where I have six pairs of forwards that I can throw out there at anytime and I have a seventh forward I trust as well."

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

MIAA championship hockey picks

March, 16, 2013
3/16/13
9:55
PM ET
GIRLS’ DIVISION 2
No. 1 Duxbury (21-1-2) vs. No. 2 Falmouth (19-1-2), 11 a.m., TD Garden

Players to watch: Duxbury – F Hannah Murphy, F Marissa Fichter, F Jane Dudley, F Meredith Wright, F Julia Nolan, D Ally Hammel, D Payton Donato, G Rachel Myette; Falmouth – F Alexa Scribner, F Rachel Moore, F Madison Haberl, F Kelly Ferreira, D Hannah Ghelfi, D Alexx Good, G Madison Scavotto.

Breakdown: It is perhaps the most predictable of all of Sunday’s matchups and the most anticipated. The Dragons and Clippers renew a burgeoning rivalry, intensified by last year’s duel at the Garden and invigorated by the fact that either team’s lone loss of the season was handed to them by the other. Duxbury has been playing lockdown defense throughout the playoffs and haven’t allowed a goal in more than six games, including the regular season. The Clippers’ young corps will look to get over the hump, building on a bittersweet experience on the Bruins’ home ice sheet one year ago.

X-factor: Scavotto. As dominant as Duxbury’s defense has been in front of and including Myette, the Clippers are capable of the same. And their sophomore netminder is a big reason why. She could steal one.

Pick: Duxbury, 1-0.

GIRLS’ DIVISION 1
No. 4 St. Mary’s of Lynn (18-3-4) vs. No. 7 Arlington Catholic (17-4-2), 9 a.m., TD Garden

Players to watch: St. Mary’s – F Alison Butler, F Kaleigh Finigan, F Gabby Crugnale, F Madison Molea, D Tatiana Doucette, D Amanda Donahoe, G Lauren Skinnion; AC – F Adrieanna Rossini, F Jess Piracini, F Duggan Delano, F Hayle Rudin, D Melissa Richard, G Megan Messuri.

Breakdown: The Catholic Central rivals meet for the second straight year on championship Sunday and, like their Div. 2 counterparts, also split their season series at a game apiece. Behind the benches, both the Spatans’ Frank Pagliuca and the Cougars’ Maggie Taverna have done work worthy of Coach of the Year honors. St. Mary’s has the feel of a team of destiny, neither a short bench nor nagging injuries all season long have kept the Spartans from returning to the biggest stage, all while dispatching No. 1 Woburn in the process.

X-factor: Rossini. You’d be hard pressed to find a young player in recent memory who has scored more clutch playoff goals than the AC sophomore.

Pick: St. Mary’s, 3-2.

BOYS’ DIVISION 3
Swampscott (19-5-0) vs. Westfield (18-3-2), 3:30 p.m., TD Garden

Players to watch: Swampscott – F Corey Carmody, F Noah Maercklein, F Nunzio Morretti, D Chris Carman, D Trevor Massey; Westfield – F Sean Spohr, F Mike Santinello, F Anthony Cagliostro, F Adam Collier, F Neil Parrow, D Nate Barnes.

Breakdown: The Big Blue took down defending D3 finalist and South sectional champion Medway (thanks to an OT goal from Maercklein) to advance to the program’s first title game appearance. Westfield returns to the Garden ice after a one-year hiatus after taking a scorched-earth policy to Western Mass. competition, while averaging more than 5.5 goals per game.

X-factor: Swampscott freshman goaltender Tristan Bradley. The first-year backstop has been a key element to the Big Blue’s success, maintaining a 91.5 save percentage through the season.

Pick: Swampscott, 5-4.

BOYS’ DIVISION 2
Wilmington (20-3-2) vs. Franklin (17-7-2), 1:30 p.m., TD Garden

Players to watch: Wilmington – F Cam Owens, F Brendan McDonough, F Jake Rogers, F Dylan DiNatale, D Brian Pickett, D Cam Collins, G Drew Foley; Franklin – F Cam Curley, F Dennis Pisani, F Aidan Isberg, F Troy Donahue, D Kyle Powers, D Kyle Filbert, G Devon Maloof.

Breakdown: The third of six rematches on the day, after the Wildcats claimed a 3-2 victory over Franklin a year ago on championship Sunday, propelled by a hat trick from Owens. The Panthers will be looking to avoid their third straight fruitless trip to the Garden, having dropped title tilts with Wilmington and Tewksbury. The Wildcats, who had Super 8 aspirations until late in the season, are eying their second straight title.

X-factor: McDonough. He’s been the break-out performer of the tournament and provides a great complement to Owens on Wilmington’s top line.

Pick: Wilmington, 3-2.

BOYS’ DIVISION 1
Burlington (13-6-5) vs. Marshfield (20-6-0), 8:15 p.m., TD Garden

Players to watch: Burlington – F C.J. Grinnell, F Joe Berardi, F Joey Scali, D Adam Crowley, D Sean Costa, G Derek DeCastro; Marshfield – F Mike Carbone, F Pat Burchill, F Joe Admirand, F Pat Shea, D Matt Burchill, D Trevor Salmon.

Breakdown: While this isn’t another rematch, these teams are no strangers to this stage, with the Red Devils and Rams representing as the last two Div. 1 state champions. Both teams were near .500 squads through the first month of the season, and closed their regular-season slates with momentum they’ve carried over into the playoffs. Both these teams can skate with the best of them, but they also pay attention to the little things in the defensive zone as well.

X-factor: Crowley. I’d expect a defensive struggle in this one and so I’m going with the Red Devils’ blue-liner who always makes his presence felt.

Pick: Burlington, 3-1.

BOYS’ DIVISION 1A – SUPER 8
No. 4 Austin Prep (16-1-6) vs. No. 7 Malden Catholic (15-6-3), 6 p.m., TD Garden

Players to watch: AP – F Nolan Vesey, F Bobby Carpenter, F Frankie Candelino, F George Sennott, F Eric MacAdams, D Andrew Cross, D J.J. Layton, G Elijah Harris; MC – F Ara Nazarian, F Mike Iovanna, F Tyler Sifferlen, F Pat Wrenn, F Austin Goldstein, D Casey Fitzgerald, D Nick Rolli, G Connor Maloney.

Breakdown: AP, while short on years, is not short on talent. I think we all knew coming into this season that they were capable of reaching this stage, but it might have been a question of when. The Cougars earned their way to Sunday after dispatching town rival Reading and then No. 1 seed St. John’s Prep in Wednesday’s semifinal. It seems like years ago since there was a time when the Lancers were in jeopardy of missing the tournament all together, but they’ve played the best hockey in the state during the last month.

X-factor: Nazarian. It’s his tournament, the rest of us are just living in it.

Pick: Malden Catholic, 4-2.

D1 girls: Arlington Catholic 3, Westford Academy 2

March, 11, 2013
3/11/13
1:34
AM ET
NORTH BILLERICA, Mass. – Adrieanna Rossini had been there before.

In last year’s MIAA Division 1 state semifinal, Rossini scored in overtime to defeat Braintree and send the Cougars to the TD Garden.

Sunday night, the Arlington Catholic sophomore did it again, beating Westford Academy sophomore goalie Kerry Pouliot two-minutes and 57-seconds into the 12-minute overtime to give AC a 3-2 win in the second scintillating semifinal at Chelmsford Forum.

The Cougars will take on St. Mary’s – 4-3 shootout winners over Woburn in the day’s first semifinal – Sunday at the Garden in a rematch of last year’s state final, which was won by AC.

Rossini’s sophomore line-mate, Jessica Piracini, started the game-winning sequence by playing the puck into the Westford zone. It was mishandled and Rossini pounced on it, skated in on goal and putting a forehand past Pouliot’s glove to win the game.

“I was looking to see what was open, and to see if there was any move I could make or any kind of opportunity,” Rossini said. “I felt like the [defenseman] was hooking me, so I kinda’ just shot and hoped for the best.”

It was Rossini’s second goal of the game, having scored at 9:58 of the first on a terrific individual effort down the left wing to make it 2-0 in favor of the Cougars (17-4-2).

“She’s a huge factor every game,” AC head coach Maggie Taverna said. “She’s a great player. She has the ability to change a game…She’s fantastic; she just loves the game of hockey.”

The Grey Ghosts (17-4-2) had all the momentum going into the extra period. Down 2-0 going into the final 15 minutes of regulation, Westford got a goal from junior Bretta Beer from the right face-off circle just 49 seconds into the period.

Rossini rang the post at 5:36 of the third, and Westford senior Kim Lizotte had a great chance of her own just 19 seconds later after stealing the puck deep in the Cougars’ zone. AC junior goalie Megan Messuri made a good stop to preserve the one-goal lead.

Pouliot (18 saves) was tremendous in the third period, making 11 saves. One of those came on a penalty shot with 4:29 left to play, as Piracini was hauled down from behind on a breakaway. Piracini cut in from the left on the penalty shot and ripped a forehand wrister from just outside the crease, but Pouliot made a great glove save. She then made two point-blank stops on Rossini and senior Melissa Richard.

Incredibly, Westford got a penalty shot of its own with exactly three minutes on the clock. Killing off the last seconds of the penalty, sophomore Kathryn Walker broke up a pass in her own zone, sped down the left wing and was tripped from behind while bearing in on goal.

Walker tied it up on the penalty shot, ripping a wrist shot past Messuri and tying the game at 2.

Pouliot made three more saves in the final two minutes of regulation, and head coach Todd Fletcher’s team had sent the game to overtime in dramatic fashion.

“Our girls are just unfazed,” Fletcher said. “Wipe away the score and just play our game. You’ll get what you deserve when we’re playing well and stick to our game plan.”

Taverna said she had a simple message for her players before the start of overtime.

“I just said, ‘You guys are good enough to win this game. You just gotta put a puck in the net,” Taverna said. “Making them believe in themselves is the most important part of the game. If they believe that they can be successful then, more than likely, they will be successful.”

AC’s first goal came from Mickey McLaughlin, who scored from in front off a nice feed by sophomore Duggan Delano from behind the net at 6:42 of the first.

Messuri made 15 saves in the win.

The 8: Duxbury shuts out AC

February, 22, 2013
2/22/13
3:32
AM ET
HINGHAM, Mass. -- The running theme when playing against the Duxbury girls hockey team this season has been pretty simple - sure, you may be able to hang with them for a period or two, but in the end, the chances are fairly strong that their depth, strength and overall ability will eventually wear you down.

Such was the case Thursday in the opening game of the second day of The 8 Showcase as the second-ranked Dragons did all their scoring in the third period to shoot past No. 4 Arlington Catholic, 3-0, in a clash of the two reigning girls hockey state champions at Pilgrim Arena.

Liz Collins and Marissa Fichter scored back-to-back goals in a 54-second span and Carly Campbell added an empty-netter in the final seconds to ice the win.

"Our second and third lines won this game," stated Duxbury coach Friend Weiler. "They were matched up against first and second in both games and they prevailed and worked hard."

AC (13-4-2) goalie Megan Messuri more than held her own against the Duxbury (17-1-2) onslaught, making 15 of her 22 saves during the first two frames to keep the Dragons off the scoreboard.

"Megan in general as a goaltender is consistent. She's always been consistent for us," praised Cougars coach Maggie Taverna. "Sometimes a goal will come in here and there on her but overall, she's a consistent kid. She loves the sport and she loves the game. She always plays well, always."

Duxbury goalie Rachel Myette stopped 16 shots for her seventh shutout and it took nearly 38 minutes for either side to break through. The Dragons finally did with something a flukey goal as Collins fired off a shot through a screen in front that Messuri never saw at 7:21 of the third.

Less than a minute later, a two-on-one breakaway developed with Jacqui Nolan making a perfect pass across to Fichter streaking down the middle, and the sophomore buried her opportunity. AC used a power play with under three minutes remaining to pull Messuri for an extra skater, then did it again in the final minute, but Myette was able to hold the Cougars off until Campbell finished it with her empty-net tally.

"The girls showed their heart tonight," praised Weiler. "To come out with all the energy and the hard work that they did during the third period, I'm really proud of them. Arlington Catholic is a phenomenal team. They took the middle away for most of the game and we were finally able to work from the outside back in and get some better opportunities. Thankfully we were able to convert because the girls were moving and cycling it around."

Fichter and Myette were named to The 8 Showcase All-Star team, while Messuri and Jackie Sindoris were the selections from Arlington Catholic.

ST. MARY'S 2, LEXINGTON 2
The Minutemaids got off to a strong start with a pair of first period goals, but the injury-plagued Spartans rallied behind star forward Alison Butler, who scored twice to force her team's second tie of the showcase.

Lexington (12-5-3) shot right out of the gate as Jackie Denning converted a nice feed from Sara Lehman for a power play goal just 2:43 into the game. Shortly after killing off a penalty of their own, Lehman found herself on the receiving end of a pass from linemate Carolyn Avery and finished strong as the Minutemaids opened up a 2-0 lead.

"On Sara's goal, we've been working hard with her on reading the defenseman in front of her and trying to make a defenseman move and step out to the side instead of going through and she did that," explained Lexington coach Mandy Ciarletta. "Her focus and determintaion resulted in a goal for her. It was good that she saw the net. It was nice that Jackie was able to get a goal as well."

Junior goalie Amanda Charlton was tough beat for the second straight night, stopping 14 St. Mary's shots in the first and finishing with 31 saves. the Spartans finally broke through with 5:40 left in the opening frame as Gabby Crugnale fired a shot that Charlton initially gloved, but the puck popped out and Butler was in prime position to bang home the rebound.

In the second, Butler got loose for a breakaway but was stoned by Charlton. The heady senior followed the rebound, however, and got off a shot from the low, left-wing circle that somehow found its through in between Charlton's left shoulder and the near post to tie the game at 1:48.

Despite playing without All-State forward Kaleigh Finigan, who suffered a shoulder injury in Tuesday's scoreless draw against Duxbury, the Spartans still managed to put together 33 shots and numerous scoring chances. Defenseman Tatiana Doucette rifled a shot that rattled around under the crossbar and should have been ruled a goal but the referee was out of position to see the play. Then, with 1:10 left in the game, Butler got loose once again for a breakway and made a late deke but Charlton managed to shoot her left leg out in the nick of time to deflect the puck with her pad to preserve the tie.

"We have to mentally focus a little bit more before we get on the ice and I think it showed tonight," admitted Spartans head coach Frank Pagliuca. "We came out slow and good teams like Lexington are going to take advantage of that and they popped a couple in. I'm a little disappointed how we played overall but we'll take the point and move on. We have to be ready to go right from the drop of the puck. We can't wait and decide to turn it on and turn it off. Teams are too good for us to do that and that's what we'll take from tonight - mentally show up ready to play."

Lehman and Avery were Lexington's selections to The 8 Showcase All-Star Team, while Butler and Crugnale earned the honors from St. Mary's.

The 8: Hingham, Woburn hold on

February, 19, 2013
2/19/13
11:24
PM ET


HINGHAM, Mass. -- Despite allowing two third-period goals, Hingham was able to stay the course and knock off Lexington, 3-2, during Tuesday’s opening day action at The 8 Showcase.

The No. 6 Harborwomen (13-6-2) took control of the game early by putting a lot of pressure on Lexington goalie Amanda Charlton (34 saves).

“We try and play by the model, even if you are up by a couple of goals, to play like we are down two goals,” Hingham head coach Tom Findley said. “We have been playing very well of late, but we need to be able to tighten it up a little bit on some of the smaller plays.”

Charlton was able to limit the Harborwomen attack and gave Lexington (12-5-2) a fighting chance throughout the game.

“They had a lot of shots on her, and she was able to keep us in the game,” Lexington head coach Amanda Ciarletta said about her goalie’s play.

At the other end of the ice, Hingham goalie Taylor Walsh was no slouch, turning away 19 of 21 Lexington shots. One big save was stopping Sara Lehman on a breakaway in the first period by holding the angle. As a result, the Harborwomen were able to come back less than two minutes later and take the early 1-0 lead.

Sam Ryder got Hingham on the board with only 34 seconds left in the first period by splitting the Minutemaids defense. Ryder got in alone with Charlton and made a nifty move to the backhand to finally get Hingham a goal. Charlton had turned away the first 16 shots she faced.

Hingham’s Jane Freda didn’t waste any time in the second period getting her team on the board, scoring 12 seconds in. Freda was able to fly around the defense on the left wing and walk around Charlton for the goal.

“I saw an opening in the defense, so I was able to get around them,” Freda said. “I made a move, and I was able to slide the puck around the goalies pad on my forehand.”

Charlton bounced right back though making several key saves to keep the Minutemaids in the game. Hingham’s Katherine Saleski dangled around the defense and tried to wrist a shot past Charlton, but the goaltender kept her angle to make the save.

In the third period, Charlton made three big stops down low, which allowed Lexington to pull within one goal as Carolyn Avery beat Walsh.

Unfortunately for Lexington, Catherine Linehan got it back as she walked in uncontested and rifled a shot to the back of the twine, which put Hingham up, 3-1.

After robbing Lehman on the first period, Walsh didn’t fare so well as Lehman got a second opportunity late in the third. Lehman got by the Hingham defense was able to beat Walsh with a deke to the backhand.

Lexington didn’t pull the goalie until only 2 seconds were remaining with the face-off in the Hingham zone. Hingham won the face-off however, preventing a last-second shot from the Minutemen.

WOBURN 4, ARLINGTON CATHOLIC 1
In the 2 p.m. matchup between No. 1 Woburn and No. 4 Arlington Catholic, the Tanners mustered up a sound attack to defeat the defending Division 1 champs, 4-1.

“That was one of the best [games] all year, as we did our jobs all over the ice, especially defensively,” Woburn head coach Bob MacCurtain said. “Defensively, last year we were not very good, so to see a performance like this now is a positive.”

Woburn’s Ashley Moran (2 G, 1 A) and Kayla Smith (1 G, 2 A) turned in 3-point games, assisting on each other’s goals.

“I have been really leaning on them the past few weeks,” MacCurtain said. “They were really good moving the puck around out there and making smart decisions.”

Woburn goaltender Courtney Davis was sharp in the Tanner goal turning away 15 of 16 shots from the Cougars (14-3-2).

The Tanners lit the lamp early in the first period on a nifty backhand move by Moran as she slid the puck through the 5-hole of Arlington Catholic goalie Megan Messuri.

“Coach [MacCurtain] told me that I needed to start getting to the net more, so I was able to do that there,” Moran said.

The Cougars came right back with several chances, but Davis stayed square making three consecutive stops to keep the Tanners ahead.

Erica Lissner wasted little time in the second period as she beat Messuri (15 saves) with a backhander within the first two minutes.

Back at the other end, Davis robbed Danielle Kelley with about 8:20 remaining in the second down low on the power play. Before the second period ended, the Cougars finally had a brush with luck. A shot from Jackie Sindoris deflected high, and although Davis gloved the puck, she could not hold on as it fell into the goal.

The Tanners (16-0-3) bounced right back in the third as Smith scored on a breakaway. Moran picked up the assist, feeding Smith on the breakaway.

Moran followed suit minutes later on a two-on-one with Smith by rifling a wrist shot top shelf.

“I had Kayla [Smith] with me and both the goalie and defensemen started pulling over to her, so I just shot the puck,” Moran said.

The Cougars tried to mount a comeback as they had several chances, but Davis was up to the challenge making multiple key saves. Adrieanna Rossini had the best chance on a one-timer in the slot, but Davis sprawled across her crease to make the highlight reel save.

Recap: No. 5 St. Mary's (Lynn) 4, No. 3 AC 1

December, 20, 2012
12/20/12
12:26
AM ET
LYNN, Mass. -- The official roster for the St. Mary's girls hockey team lists just 16 names. With a couple of those missing for Wednesday night's clash with Catholic Central League rival and defending Div. 1 state champion Arlington Catholic, Spartans fans would have been excused for thinking a long night was in store.

Instead, Frank Pagliuca's club received key contributions from several players thrust into larger-than-normal roles. Oh, and they still have Alison Butler, Kaleigh Finigan and Lauren Skinnion, too.

Finigan scored twice, Butler had two assists and an empty-netter and Skinnion turned in a 31-save performance that helped No. 5 St. Mary's grab a 4-1 victory over the third-ranked Cougars in a rematch of last year's Div. 1 state final at Connery Rink.

"A lot of girls stepped up tonight," Pagliuca praised. "Obviously we had to make a couple of roster adjustments tonight but I thought some players really stepped it up. My two defenseman, Amanda [Donahoe] and Vanessa [Van Buskirk] played tremendous tonight, as well as Lauren. One of our eighth-graders, Sarah Ryan, really stepped up. We moved her from defense to forward at the beginning of the year and she’s really starting to pick it up. She took advantage of the opportunity. And the usual suspects, Alison and Kaleigh were strong tonight."

From the opening faceoff, it looked indeed like it could be a long night for the Spartans (2-1-1) as Arlington Catholic (2-1-0) dominated the first period. The Cougars piled up 11 shots and sophomore standout Adrieana Rossini potted the game's first goal, winning a race to a loose puck at center ice and racing in alone for a breakaway goal at 2:59. The assists on the play went to Duggan Delano and Jess Piracini.

"I thought our puck pursuit was very poor the first period," Pagliuca admitted. "I thought we were sitting and reacting instead of playing it as the game came to us a little bit. I thought we were waiting too much. We didn’t pursue the puck, we didn't pressure the puck enough in all three zones. I thought once we made a forecheck adjustment, we started to get our legs going and started to force them to make some decision with the puck and we capitalized on them."

Capitalize they did as Finigan and Butler began to go to work. With under five minutes remaining in the first, Butler forced a turnover and fed Finigan for a quick blast to tie the game at 1-1. Then, in the second, Ryan made a terrific play along the boards and sprung Finigan loose for a breakaway on which she went deep enough to draw AC goalie Megan Messuri (22 saves) out of the net for an open look.

"I know where she is and she knows where I am," Finigan said about playing alongside Butler. "Same thing as last year. We just have to go right to the net. Don’t let up, shoot right at the net and get rebounds."

Senior Gabby Crugnale provided a backbreaking score with just 13 seconds to go in the second, flying into the slot to collect a pass from Butler and sniping the go-ahead goal.

AC managed to regain control on the ice, but Skinnion was at her best in the end, singlehandedly preserving the lead with three consecutive clutch saves on a Cougars power play in the early minutes and another midway through the frame on a Rossini breakaway bid to preserve the lead.

"Lauren was tremendous," Pagliuca said. "The last two games she’s been really stepping it up. She’s been making the key saves and not giving up the rebounds. and I thought she played tremendously again tonight as well."

UNEXPECTED BUT SPARTAN CONTRIBUTION ON D
Butler finished things off with her empty-netter with 36 seconds to play, but the senior All-State forward may have made as big an impact while playing behind the blue line.

The Spartans normally dress just four defensemen and Donahoe and Van Buskirk were forced to and a mammoth amount of time on the ice due to some missing players. Eighth-grader Ashley Wojewodzic contributed several strong shifts while Pagliuca also moved Butler back on defense on occasion, and by the end of the game, it was Butler charged with marking the dangerous Rossini.

"It’s fun I guess," Butler said with a smile and a tired shrug. "It's not my favorite but I’ll do whatever it takes. I used to play defense all the time when I was little so I'm kind of used to it but it's a different pace up in high school. But it's alright. I played defense a couple times last year but not taking a regular shift. I'm a little tired but happy."

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' final: Arlington Catholic 3, St. Mary's 1

March, 18, 2012
3/18/12
10:30
PM ET


BOSTON -- For four long years, the Arlington Catholic seniors have sat back and watched as St. Mary's consistently held over them. On the last day of their high school careers, those seniors and their teammates finally got one back.

Natalie Flynn, Adrieana Rossini and Allyson Cunningham each scored goals and Megan Messuri came up with 25 saves as the Cougars finally got their victory over the Spartans, winning 3-1 at TD Garden to capture the Div. 1 girls hockey state championship.

"The previous times we've played them, there was that stigma that we've never beaten them and in a state championship game, there's a little bit more on the line and that stigma kind of leaves them," AC head coach Maggie Taverna said. "I think we just came out played our game and played how we've played all year and it ended up working this time."

The Cougars (21-3-1) took the ice with a ferocity and determination that belied the early morning faceoff, while their opponents were surprisingly sluggish. Flynn, the Cougars senior captain and one of the state's premier players, got things started with just under four minutes left in the first, walking down the left wing side and switching to her backhand while cutting across for the game's first goal.

"It's a team effort the whole time but I thought if we scored first we were going to win the game," said Flynn afterward. "That's all I was trying to do, just get the puck in the net first. That's what we did and we went out and won."

AC maintained its high energy start by tacking on a pair right out of the gates in the second. Freshman Rossini, who has been a breakout star of this postseason, pounced on a loose puck during a shorthanded situation and flipped a similar backhander past Spartans goalie Lauren Skinnion at 1:49.

The Cougars won the ensuing faceoff, and Cunningham appeared to be trying to set up a play by dumping the puck in. It went on net, and Skinnion made the initial stop but the trickled through the back of her pads and in just 16 seconds later.

That goal finally seemed to wake up St. Mary's, and Brittani Lanzilli showed off her amazing skating skills on a terrific end to end rush that the sophomore finished with a high, hard wrist shot at 5:39. Lanzilli tried to break loose several more times as her teammates rallied for a few minutes, but ultimately, the Spartans were unable to sustain anything long enough to make something happen.

"I just felt like we were in quicksand for most of the game to be honest with you," St. Mary's head coach Frank Pagliuca said. "We had a little spurt in the second period but I think all credit goes to AC. They were all over us, they were all over the puck. We just didn't get it going tonight."

The other big piece in preventing a Spartan comeback was the play of netminder Messuri. A sophomore transfer from Southfield School, Messuri made several more big stops the rest of the way. The best of those came with under five minutes left to play, as Lanzilli broke in and fed Gina Beth Manganiello for a wide open look from the slot, but Messuri's glove simply flashed up out of nowhere and snagged the puck from the air.



"What I love about Megan is her confidence," Taverna said. "She's a sophomore, so she's young, but at the same time she has that mentality that she doesn't want to be scored on. When she gets scored on she gets angry and it makes her shut the door even more in a sense. Where some kids are the opposite, when they scored on they just melt, and she almost gets more fired up. Today she was unbelievable. She's been unbelievable for us all season and that one glove save she made was so good. She works hard and she hates to lose, it what it comes down to. She hates to lose."

The Cougars still had to kill two penalties over the final 3:16, but they did so without allowing a shot on either, and ultimately wrapped the program's first state championship since 2007.

"It's been unreal," Messuri said. "Its surreal right now, I don't even know how to handle it. We just used our momentum really well. Getting that goal in the first period really set us off."

Added Flynn, "It's just amazing. When I was a freshman there was ten freshmen and we said we wanted to win a state championship. That was our goal. It just happens in our last game as high school players we won it. Its just amazing."

D1 Girls: Arlington Catholic 3, Braintree 2 (OT)

March, 11, 2012
3/11/12
12:30
AM ET


STONEHAM, Mass. -- Between the end of the third period and the first five minutes of overtime, Arlington Catholic freshman Adrieana Rossini had four breakaways without a goal.

The fifth, however, did the trick to send the Cougars to the TD Garden next Sunday.

Rossini took a pass from senior Allie Stone, stormed into Braintree’s zone and put a backhanded shot past Wamp freshman goalie Rachael Brazil to give AC a 3-2 win in Saturday night’s MIAA Division 1 girls' hockey state semifinal at Stoneham Arena.

After so many opportunities to put the game away earlier, the game-winner -- which came with 4:37 left in the 12-minute overtime -- clearly came as a relief to Rossini.

“It was a long wait to get it. It took way too long,” she said. “I went on four breakaways with teammates and none of them would go through, and finally one just went in.”

Brazil (33 saves) was brilliant throughout the night, and saved some of her best for last. Rossini dangled past two Wamps with just over a minute to go in regulation, only to be denied at the doorstep by Brazil. Braintree’s net-minder stoned Rossini again at 4:06 of the overtime on almost the exact same play. Two minutes later, Rossini tried to find sophomore Duggan Delano on another break, but Braintree senior Tori Machado did just enough to put Delano off and the shot went wide.

Brazil stopped Rossini on yet another breakaway with 7:18 to play, but was finally beaten a few minutes later. AC head coach Maggie Taverna she had to keep Rossini’s spirits up after those missed chances, and it certainly paid off.

“She would come back after every shift to the bench so angry at herself, and I’m like, ‘Kid, you just gotta keep going. It’s going to come,’” Taverna said. “Eventually, one went in for her, so that was a good thing.”

Braintree (16-6-2) was out-shot 36-17 for the game, but played hard and fought off AC for the most of the contest. The Wamps took a 2-1 lead 1:03 into the third period when junior Brittany Yaxter finished a rebound off a shot from senior teammate Ally Perdios.

Taverna came away impressed with the Wamps, who had just knocked off top-seed Acton-Boxborough in the quarterfinals.

“They’re a very interesting team, because if you just look at them at a practice, maybe they’re not the best skaters,” Taverna said. “But they work hard, they’re gritty, they’re aggressive, and I think any team is gonna have a problem with them. I think that’s why the’ve been so successful in this tournament.”

The Cougars immediately went back on the offensive after Yaxter’s goal, and tied it back up just 3:14 later. Senior Natalie Flynn found freshman Jessica Piracini on a well-executed 2-on-1, and Piracini finished it off to make it 2-2.

Perdios had a great chance to put the Wamps back ahead with 2:23 to play in regulation after skating past two Cougars on a break, but AC sophomore goaltender Megan Messuri came up with her biggest stop of the evening.

Stone opened the scoring at 4:48 of the second period on a shorthanded breakaway, collecting the puck on the right wing and speeding in on goal before backhanding a shot through the 5-hole.

Braintree freshman Haley Payne nearly tied it just over two minutes later on a nice tip from junior Lauren Connelly’s shot from the point, but Messuri made an even better kick save to keep the puck out of the cage.

Braintree eventually did tie it up with just 50.2 seconds left in the frame. Senior Jessica Hasson fired in a wrister from the right point that Messuri had a beat on, but the puck took a wicked deflection off an AC player and looped over Messuri’s shoulder into the net.

The Cougars (19-3-1) out-shot Braintree 10-2 in a scoreless first period, as a penalty on Hasson just 24 seconds into the game gave AC early momentum. One of AC’s best chances came 6:14 into the period, when senior defenseman Rebecca Zappala fired a great pass from her own blue line to Flynn, who was in alone on Brazil but put her backhand shot just over the crossbar.

Brazil was up to the task on all 10 shots on goal, including shots from in front by sophomore Duggan Delano and Rossini.

In the end, though, it was the Cougars’ night. And now, they head to the Garden March 18 to take on St. Mary’s (penalty shootout winners over Hingham in Saturday’s other semifinal) for a state title. The Spartans beat AC twice during the regular season (by 4-2 and 5-2 scores), and the Cougars’ current senior class has never defeated their Catholic Central League rivals.

Stone, the Cougars’ assistant captain, is confident that will change.

“What it’s going to come down to is out-working them,” Stone said. “We’re not gonna lose to them again. We’re not ready to do that. This is the one team that I’ve always wanted to beat in my four years here, and I know that the other 10 seniors on the team feel the same.

“We’re ready to go. We’re gonna come at them with everything we have.”

Recap: No. 3 St. Mary's 5, No. 7 AC 2

February, 2, 2012
2/02/12
12:22
AM ET
ARLINGTON, Mass. -- It took all of 25 seconds for the St. Mary's girls' hockey team to show it was capable to answering the bell when adversity came calling. In the bigger picture, the 45 minutes the Spartans put together Wednesday night might do exactly the same.

Kaleigh Finigan had a hat trick and two assists, Alison Butler added two goals and three helpers and Lauren Skinnion stopped 24 shots to help No. 3 St. Mary's topple previously unbeaten No. 7 Arlington Catholic, 5-2, last night at Ed Burns Arena.

In the process, the Spartans (11-4-0 overall, 4-0-0 Catholic Central League) qualified for the postseason, took a one-game lead over the Cougars (14-1-1, 3-1-0) atop the league standings while picking up a much needed bounce-back victory.

"It was good to see us respond to a little bit of adversity, I was proud of them for that," Spartans head coach Frank Pagliuca said. "I thought the game was physical, I thought AC had some opportunities to score and Lauren came up big for us. Great win for us, a good bounce back win. Big league win as well. AC is a great team. They're going to be one of the team's fighting for it at the end."

St. Mary's jumped out fast in this one, something they haven't always been able to do on the season. Butler screamed a pass down to the low slot where Finigan was able to tip it past AC goalie Megan Messuri 4:09 into the game.

The Spartans top line of Finigan, Butler and Brittani Lanzilli (2 A) continued to pressure, and Lanzilli came up with the assist of the year, threading the puck between the skates of an AC defender to Butler, who made a nice move outside the crease to tuck it just past the right skate of Messuri with 2:27 left in the first.

Then, just 21 seconds into the second, Butler sprung Finigan and the junior fired a shot from the high slot that went off a defenseman's stick, shot over the head of Messuri and somehow ended up in the net behind her.

Skinnion made 11 of her 24 stops during the second but Arlington Catholic caught a break when Melissa Richard snuck one through right at the buzzer and Adrieana Rossini kept the momentum going with a shorthanded breakaway goal at 3:25 of the third.

As the walls seemed to be caving in, the Spartans got plays from Finigan, Skinnion and senior captain Rachel Donahoe that turned the tide back in their favor.

Finigan popped in her third goal of the night just 25 seconds after Rossini's tally to stop the bleeding, then Skinnion turned in perhaps her best save of the season as Rossini got loose again, and Donahoe came flying back into her own end to snuff out yet another breakaway bid, this time by Natalie Flynn.

"I thought Rachel Donahoe was unbelievable tonight," Pagliuca said. "She was all over the ice. She's a captain and she's really starting to step up and elevate her game. And Lauren Skinnion I thought was phenomenal."

Butler tacked on one more goal on a rebound of a Finigan shot with 3:45 remaining to close out the scoring.

While the taste of the season's first loss will be sour for the Cougars, they will have a chance to get it back when the two teams meet again next Wednesday at Connery Rink in Lynn (4:30 p.m.).

"When we play St. Mary's there's always that stigma that exists from previous years," admitted AC coach Maggie Taverna. "The kids know like last year, they creamed us 8-1, and they came in excited. Sometimes I feel like they get over-excited and they hold their sticks to tight or they dump pucks and things too quickly. St. Mary's, even though they have a short bench, they're a great team. We're excited to play them again next week. I told the kids, let it stick with you, let it sting a little bit because we have another chance."

'SPARTAN' DEFENSE
Pagliuca's praise of Donahoe was most certainly warranted. A preseason ESPNBoston All-State defenseman and one of just two seniors on the squad, Donahoe turned in a brilliant performance while being matched against the the talented Flynn. Everywhere Flynn went on the ice, Donahoe was was within arms reach. Not only did Donahoe chase Flynn down on the breakaway but she continually forced the Cougars star forward to take wide angles with the puck rather than drive to the net where she is deadly.

"She's definitely one of the players we needed to look out for on the ice," Donahoe said of Flynn. "She has a good shot, she's very good at seeing the game so whenever she's out there we had to make sure she was covered or it wasn't going to be a good deal."

"I was just saying to myself, 'Don't let her shoot and get the puck to the corner,'" the senior continued. "Mainly I was just trying to keep a body on her, keep her to the outside of the goal and not let her get any opportunities to put the puck in the back of the net."

Along with Donahoe, fellow blueliners Tatiana Doucette, Hannah Quin and Amanda Donahoe turned in strong performances. The shots on goal total for AC would have been much higher if not for this unit's relentless work in both blocking and forcing bad shots.

"Lot of blocks, they moved the puck pretty well. We got caught a couple of times flat-footed and AC has some good speedy forwards that exploited us a little but I thought D zone, we played much better. I thought we moved the puck well out of the zone. They came down hard and crashed on the walls and I thought we made a nice adjustment coming out of the zone.

GOLD STAR FOR THE GOALIE
Despite a terrific night for the St. Mary's defense, Arlington Catholic still managed several breakouts and had plenty of good scoring opportunities. If not for the play of Skinnion, AC might still be undefeated and it would be the Spartans looking for revenge in next Wednesday's rematch.

The sophomore was particularly brilliant in the final three minutes of the second period. She zipped to the far post to cover a wraparound attempt by ACs Michaela Scutti, made a great stop on Flynn (who also hit two posts) walking in from the blue line and covered the post as Katie Waitt tried to jam the rebound through.

Then in the third, with the memory of Rossini's breakaway goal still fresh in her mind, Skinnion saw the exact same play develop, adjusted, and made a spectacular stop.

"I didn't want to let in the same goal again," Skinnion admitted when asked about her thought process on the play. "The first time I didn't come back fast enough so I tried to stay back a little bit more. (Rossini) went to the left again and I thought she was probably going to try and do the same thing so I just tried to stay low and make sure I got the pad on the puck."

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

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