LYNN– For one period of Saturday night’s game between the St. Mary’s and Winthrop girls hockey teams, things were about as even as they could be. The Spartans were out-shooting the Vikings and were the more aggressive offense but Winthrop’s defense held its own. Then St. Mary’s found its footing in the second period and Winthrop had no answer.
The Spartans scored five goals in the second period, on their way to a 6-0 win at William P. Connery Rink on St. Mary’s senior night. With the win, St. Mary’s (10-1-1) qualified for the state tournament.
“I’m so happy for the seniors,” St. Mary’s coach Frank Pagliuca said. “Mady (Hentosh), Codi (Butt), Skylar (Davis), Lauren (Vaccaro) and Mia (DiBiasio). It was senior night and we qualified for the tournament. I’m just proud of our kids for responding in the second and third period in this type of game.
“We’re in a great spot right now. Hopefully this win will get us back to playing like we’re capable of playing. We’ll move on from there. Now it’s about us getting as many points as we can to get a high seed. That’s what we’re focused on now.”
Marina DiBiasio led St. Mary’s with two goals. Codi Butt, Jenna Chaplain, Kate Gray and Samantha Porazinski scored one goal each. Assists were logged by Butt (two), Gray, Mady Hentosh, Kelsey Sullivan, Felicia D’Alessandro, Jillian Kirby and Makayla McGrath.
Lauren Vaccaro made 15 saves for her fourth shutout of the season.
The Spartans and Vikings tested each other in an evenly-played first period. St. Mary’s put Vikings goalie Summer Tallent to work but the freshman kept the Spartans off the board and gave her team a shot to grab an early lead. Tallent finished the game with 45 saves.
“Winthrop came out strong, physical and aggressive,” Pagliuca said. “They won a lot of those loose pucks. We had to get our skating legs. We were a little too cluttered. Once we started to stretch out and play with a little more width, I think we had some opportunities and utilized our speed.”
Things went downhill for Winthrop in the second period. In the blink of an eye, the Spartans turned a scoreless game into a 5-0 lead to take the wind out of the Vikings’ sails. Porazinski put the Spartans on the board on a powerplay goal with 7:58 on the clock. Butt followed with a goal of her own a minute and a half later to bump St. Mary’s lead to 2-0. From there, the Spartans closed the second period with two goals from Marina DiBiasio and one from Gray, and took a commanding 5-0 lead.
“We’re a young team,” Winthrop coach Anthony Martucci said. “We have young players playing in key spots. When that happens and St. Mary’s scores that first goal, the young kids revert back to ‘my hockey’ and chasing pucks around instead of staying within the stretch we had in the first period, which I felt we dominated.
“You can’t get out of position against a team like St. Mary’s. They’re too well-coached and they’ll make you pay.”
Chaplain closed the scoring with 8:27 remaining in the third period. St. Mary’s was whistled for three penalties in the third period but the penalty kill, along with Vaccaro, stepped up to keep Winthrop off the scoreboard.
St. Mary’s hosts Beverly Wednesday (8).
The Vikings have a quick turnaround as they host Monday (6).
“We have to come right back Monday which is usually good from a loss rather than sitting and waiting. We’ll just have to against Belmont and see what we can do. We’re in the tournament but any more losses will put us on the road against a very good team. We have to try to win out the rest of the way.”