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Road to the top

Three game-changing high school hockey plays

The Malden Catholic boys hockey team celebrates its win over Austin Prep at TD Garden in Boston Sunday.

Photos by Aram Boghosian for the Boston Globe

The Malden Catholic boys hockey team celebrates its win over Austin Prep at TD Garden in Boston Sunday.

Super 8: Malden Catholic 3, Austin Prep 2

Game changer: With Austin Prep trailing 2-1 early in the third period, senior captain Nolan Vesey made a crafty pass from behind the net to find Cam Russo , who fed the puck across the crease, leaving Malden Catholic goalie Connor Maloney out of position. But Cougars freshman Eric MacAdams , flying through the slot, couldn’t get a clean whack at the puck, and skied it over the open net. Minutes later, MC sophomore Ara Nazarian skated down the left wing 4:24 into the third period and sniped a shot that eventually gave the Lancers a third straight Super 8 title.

MC coach John McLean: “They had a few chances to bury the puck and they missed. It would have been a different outcome, of course, if they buried those, but I’ll take the win.

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“When you keep coming to the Super 8 you kind of think, ‘Oh it’s just going to happen every year. [Midway through the year] I think panic set in a little bit and everybody kind of said, ‘We have to get it going.’

“And [Nazarian] turned it up to another level. He’s a very talented player. I don’t want to lose him.”

Division 1 boys: Burlington 4, Marshfield 2

Game changer: At the 8:44 mark of the second period, senior forward Sean Murphy scored a power-play goal off a shot from senior captain Joe Berardi to give the Red Devils a 3-1 lead, their second of three goals in the middle frame. Murphy, a first-year varsity player, redirected Berardi’s shot from the slot through the legs of Marshfield goalie Connor Lemieux for his second goal of the game, sixth of the season.

A fourth tally less than a minute later gave Burlington (14-6-5) all of the momentum headed into the third period.

“When [Burlington] won states last year I was like, ‘Oh, wow, I could be there. I have to work harder to get on the team,’” said Murphy, who was then a member of the junior varsity.

“Then I worked hard and made the team . . . It’s unbelievable. It felt great. We needed momentum going into the third period, and getting those two goals was huge.”

Burlington coach Bob Conceison said his team’s work in front of Lemieux was crucial in nabbing the Red Devils’ second straight Division 1 title. All three goals in the second were of the gritty variety, a big change from the first period.

“Once we got that goal to make it 2-1, the other two seemed to come fast,” Conceison said. “We used the back door a lot. We had a couple opportunities in the first period on the same types of plays that we didn’t bury. We buried them in the second period.”

Division 1 girls: St. Mary’s of Lynn 2, Arlington Catholic 1

Game changer: With 2:46 remaining in the third period Sunday morning, Amanda Donahoe dished the puck to Alison Butler, who maneuvered around Arlington Catholic goalie Megan Messuri to snap a 1-1 tie, lifting the Spartans to a record fifth state championship. The win also avenged their 3-1 loss to Arlington Catholic in last year’s final.

The Saint Anselm recruit recorded her 199th career point with the shot, her 36th goal this season. Gabby Crugnale scored first with a wrist shot in the last 22 seconds of the first period with an assist by Sarah Ryan. Lauren Skinnion made 21 saves. St. Mary’s has outscored AC 40-18 in their last 10 meetings.

“She is one of the best players in the state,” said St. Mary’s coach Frank Pagliuca , referring to Butler.

“She has all the accolades and she’s just an outstanding leader and player. It’s a privilege to be able to coach a player and a person. She had a couple of opportunities earlier, she changed her shot selection and she went with a quick type of shot to keep [Messuri] off-balance. We stressed we have to finish opportunities when we get them. It wasn’t pretty at times but we found a way to win. We’ve come a long way and as the season went on, we gained confidence in ourselves.”

Compiled by Globe correspondents Jason Mastrodonato, Tim Healey, and Liz Torres

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