MIAA Girls Division 1 State Final: St. Mary’s Outlasts Notre Dame, 5-4, in 3OT Thriller

Gary Demopoulos
Gary Demopouloshttp://www.hnibnews.com
Gary Demopoulos has been covering prep school hockey for the HNIB News for over 30 years, and has been the editor of the HNIB News since 2005. A former sportswriter and news editor at the Woburn (MA) Daily Times Chronicle, he has been the HNIB News' key reporter for Mens Prep School hockey since 1988, as well as womens hockey, both at the prep school and high school levels. for almost 20 years. Gary also helps organize and oversee HNIB's many summer tournaments and festivals for scholastic players.

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St. Mary’s Lynn is the 2024 MIAA Division 1 Girls state champion after a 5-4 3OT win over Notre Dame.

All that were expecting a close defensive battle in the MIAA Girls Division 1 state final between Notre Dame Academy and St. Mary’s were sadly mistaken.

Instead it was a high-paced, offensive battle with lead changes and the big time goals, one that needed three overtimes to decide the state champion.

Freshman Alyssa Norden was the hero for St. Mary’s, banging home a loose puck at the left post at 5:36 of the third overtime to give the Spartans a 5-4 win over Notre Dame.

The winning goal came just eight seconds into St. Mary’s’ fourth power play of the overtime sessions.

Linemates Bella Freitas and Keira Twomey assisted on the goal

“I’m so proud of these kids” said St. Mary’s coach Frank Pagliuca. “This game could have gone either way. It iwas one of those games, where it going to take one opportunity, one bounce. We got down 3-1, getting outplayed, but we kept playing. That has been our motto all year. The kids stayed focused. They battled their hearts out.”

The Cougars had tied the score in dramatic fashion. After an icing call led to a faceoff to the right of Spartans goalie Gianna Tringale with 12.1 seconds left, Devon Moore’s centering pass bounced across the crease to Emma Burke, who calmly backhanded it home in the open side with 7.3 seconds left in regulation.

St. Mary’s captains Regan Sullivan, Gianna Tringale and Kasey Litwin, and coach Frank Pagliuca with the MIAA’s Scott Paine and the 2024 MIAA Division 1 girls championship trophy.

Notre Dame (18-5-2), making its first appearance in the Division 2 tournament, held leads of 1-0 and 3-1 before the Spartans responded, taking a 4-3 lead midway through the third period on Freitas’s second goal, a rebound of a Norden shot from in close.

The Cougars scored just 2:05 into the game. Defenseman Sarah Francis sent a short pass to Devon Moore, and Moore’s wrist shot found its way home through traffic.

Three minutes later, St. Mary’s forward Audrey Zinck got to a puck off a Vanessa Hall shot before NDA goalie Ava Larkin could tie it up, and tapped it home to make it 1-1.

It stayed that way until the second period, when NDA junior Sarah White notched a pair of unassisted goals to give the Cougars a 3-1 advantage. On both goals, White stole the puck in the neutral zone, moved in on the right wing side, and drilled wrist shots to the far corner.

Despite their short bench, the Spartans (23-3-1) kept chugging, and netted a pair of goals 46 seconds apart late in the period to tie it up at 3-3.

Norden got the first one from the doorstep after a initial shot by defenseman Abby Malcuit made it through to the net.

Freitas tied it with her 47th goal of the season, collecting the puck deep in her defensive zone, rushing up the ice, deking an NDA defenseman and sliding home a shot five-hole.

It led to an exciting third period. Freitas gave St. Mary’s its first lead at 7:39, flipping home a rebound after Larkin made a great stop on Norden. It stayed that way until Burke’s tally send the game to overtimes.

The first two overtimes were full of scoring chances, but NDA’s Larkin and St. Mary’s’ Tringale stood firm between the pipes.

“It was just one of those things, puck luck,” said NDA coach John Findley. “It was an evenly.matched game. We just came out on the down side. We ended up in the box four times in the overtimes and it killed us. Not saying their weren’t penalties but the kids were just exhausted.”

St. Mary’s defenseman Vanessa Hall was outstanding all game, hardly leaving the ice.

“She was blocking shots. She played out of her mind,” Pagliuca said of his eighth-grade defenseman, who rarely was off the ice. “We have to do the little things, like blocking shots and sacrificing your body, to have a chance to win a state championship.”

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