The congratulatory calls and emails began almost immediately after No. 8 Arlington Catholic’s 5-2 victory against Archbishop Williams last night at the Canton Sportsplex, the 500th win of 36-year AC coach Dan Shine’s career. They were still flooding in this morning.
“There have been a lot of kids over the course of 36 years and I’ve received calls and emails from many of them. It’s very meaningful to me the number of of them who made the trip
down last night and the number of them who came on Saturday night when we fell just short,” said Shine, a 1973 Arlington High graduate who celebrated his 60th birthday over the weekend.
“Personally, it’s a milestone that is obviously gratifying. You get to a point in your career where you think you can get to it and so I’m proud of it as an individual. But most of all, I’m proud of the program, where we’ve come over time, and the kids and how they’ve represented themselves and the program. It means something special because there have been so many people who have been a part of it,” said Shine, reflecting that his first season on the AC bench in 1978-79 seems “a short time ago.”
As to the game, junior Ryan Spagnoli netted a hat trick, the Cougars converted each of their three power plays, and junior Ryan Tierney also scored twice as AC improved to 9-2-1 (4-2-1 CCL Large). Shine expressed his appreciation for the classy manner in which Archbishop Williams responded to the milestone.
“They did a very nice job. The Archbishop Williams people were all very congratulatory,” he said.
Shine said any celebration will be short-lived. The Cougars must re-focus and turn their attention to eight remaining regular-season games as they build a resume that merits Division 1A consideration. The Cougars get back at it Saturday evening at Bishop Fenwick (McVann-O’Keefe, 6), then face Archies again Monday at home (Ed Burns Arena, 8). Stiff non-league tests against St. John’s Prep on Feb. 8 (Ristuccia, noon) and Duxbury on Feb. 15 (Falmouth, 1), the first of three games at the season-ending Buddy Ferreira Classic, remain.
“We’ve played 12 and we’re in the mix but I truly feel we have the potential to be even better than we have been. There’s another gear there and it’s up to us as coaches to bring it out. In terms of the season, last night was huge because we rebounded and rallied as a group from a disappointing loss. It was a big step and showed a lot of character,” Shine said.