Top-seed St. Mary’s will play for the MIAA Girls Division 1 title for the first time in a decade, using a third period barrage to get past stubborn Billerica/Chelmsford, 6-3, Sunday in an MIAA Girls Division 1 Semifinal.
With the game tied 2-2 in the final stanza, the Spartans struck for three goals in 62 seconds to take control.
While on the power play, Amanda Forziati tipped home a Jenna Chaplain slap shot from the point to put St. Mary’s ahead, 3-2. Forty-six seconds later, Chaplain sent linemate Maggie Pierce (2 goals, 4 assists) in on a breakaway, and she deposited a backhander home.
Billerica/Chelmsford called timout, but off the ensuing draw, St. Mary’s moved into the offensive zone, and Chaplain was in the perfect spot to slip in a rebound. All of a sudden it was 5-2 St. Mary’s.
“The third period was wild,” said St. Mary’s coach Frank Pagliuca. “We needed our best players to step and that is what they did. It was probably the best period of hockey they have played in the second half of the season. Billerica/Chelmsford was playing us physical and their goalie (Hailey Graybeal) played outstanding.
“We knew it would be a tough game. Billerica/Chelmsford deserved to be here. They play in a tough league. That’s why power seeding works. We were fortunate to get some lucky bounces in the third period.”
This game was actually scoreless until midway through the second period before Chaplain got St. Mary’s on the board, wheeling off the left wing boards and whistling home a wrist shot into the near side.
But less than a minute later, B/C drew even. Kate Harrison drove to the net and slid home a rebound while falling to the ice to make it 1-1.
St. Mary’s took a 2-1 lead before the end of the period. Pierce fired from the right wing side and Tia Piccardi buried the rebound.
At the 4:18 mark of the third period, Billerica/Chelmsford drew even again as Remore Serra’s knuckler from the left point hit something in front and went past St. Mary’s goalie Ang Cantino.
Then came the St. Mary’s barrage.
Katherine Morin’s goal broke B/C to within two, but the #13 seed could get no closer. Pierce closed things with an empty-netter.
St. Mary’s will face Shrewsbury in the Girls Division 1 state final on Sunday at TD Garden.