Ousted in the semifinals a year ago, third-seeded Shrewsbury did not want it to happen again this winter. And, it didn’t.
The Colonials found themselves down by two goals after the opening 15 minutes against #2 Notre Dame Academy. Undaunted, Shrewsbury came back with four straight goals, and then held off a late NDA charge to post a 4-3 win to punch the ticket to TD Garden, where the Colonials will face the winner of Sunday’s St. Mary’s-Billerica/Chelmsford game.
“We knew that Notre Dame was a fast starting team,” said Shrewsbury coach Frank Panarelli. “We had watched film from their game against St Mary’s and they went up 2-0 right at the start against them. They caught us flat-footed but they are a very aggressive team.
I told the girls in the locker room after the first period that we needed to win the second period, even if it was just one goalie. We were lucky enough to get two goals to tie it. The third period was great by both teams.”
Notre Dame indeed came out strong, and forged ahead 2-0 on goals by Caroline Hartnett and Lauren White.
In the second period, Mia Ryder got the Colonials on the board when she buried a shot from just off the right post. A few minutes later, Sadie Cusson snapped home a rebound and all of a sudden it was a 2-2 tie, which is how the game went into the third period.
Early on, Rachel Bunsick put Shrewsbury on top for the first time when her bid from the right wing boards hit a skate of an NDA defender in front and got past Cougars goalie Ava Larkin.
Shrewsbury expanded the lead to 4-2 a few shifts later when freshman Lauren Albertson, stationed at the left post, was able to sweep home a rebound.
Notre Dame got one back on Lauren White’s second of the night, but couldn’t get the equalizer past Colonials netminder Risa Montoya, even with a late power play advantage.