All season long, Woburn had no problems scoring goals. They boasted one of the premier offensive groups in the state.
In the MIAA Girls Division 1 state championship game, the Tanners found themselves against a similar offensive power in top-seeded Needham. Trading goal probably wouldn’t be an option.
Instead, it was Woburn’s defensive effort that was the key to game. Limiting the Rockets to just 12 shots on goal, the third-seeded Tanners took home the Division 1 state championship with a 3-1 win Sunday at TD Garden.
It was Woburn’s (21-2-2) third MIAA Division 1 state title, and fourth overall.
“Our defense has been great all years. This was probably the best job of overall team defense that we had in the tournament,” said Woburn coach Bob MacCurtain. “I don’t think we gave up any odd-man rushes, maybe one or two. The kids played did a nice job. And we had a little help from the posts.”
Needham (22-1-2) did hit three posts in the game, and had another potential goal disallowed.
“Sometimes the puck just doesn’t bounce your way,” said Needham coach Allisyn Furano-Foster. “It was just not our game today. Woburn played hard and stayed disciplined and executed the coach’s game plan.”
Woburn was able to jump out to a two-goal lead in the first period.
At 6:17, Georgie Santullo collected the puck behind the net and after some nice stickhandling, sent a great feed to Maddie Russo, who fired it home to the far side.
Later in the frame, Marissa Gregory sent the puck in front from behind the cage. It bounced off a few bodies over to Cassidy Connolly at the left post. She calmly whisked it into the open side to give Woburn a 2-0 lead. Kaitlyn Delaney also drew an assist on the goal.
“That was huge,” MacCurtain said. “I really felt like if we could come out early and get a little bit of a lead, and not sit back on our heels, that would be helpful. ”
Russo scored her second of the game at the 3:46 mark of the second period to push Woburn’s advantage to 3-0. Sent down the right wing with a pass from Lily Mallard, Russo cut to the outside and fired a wrister from the faceoff dot that found the twine far side after it grazed the stick of Needham goalie Melissa Strauss.
“Maddie has scored some huge goals for us in the tournament,” MacCurtain said. “She has had a fantastic season.”
Woburn took the three-goal lead into the second intermission, but knew the game was far from over.
“We knew they (Needham) would come at us,” MacCurtain said. “If we could stick to the game plan and be resilient we would be OK. The kids did a good job sticking to the structure.”
Needham got on board at 13:35 of the third period when Elizabeth Hernberg’s centering pass deflected in off a Woburn defender.