Georgie Santullo never had any doubt that her Woburn girls’ hockey team could do what countless other teams had failed to do this season — come back to beat Austin Prep.
“There was no doubt,” said Santullo. “We haven’t had many games where we’ve been down, but we knew as soon as we went down that we had to come back out with more momentum. We knew we would get that one goal back and keep on getting shots to the net and hopefully get more goals.”
After Woburn fell behind undefeated Austin Prep, which hadn’t allowed a goal this postseason, Santullo assisted on the tying goal before jamming home the puck on a five-on-three power play in the third period to send the defending state champion Tanners to a 2-1 victory at O’Brien Rink in Woburn on Monday night in the Division 1 semifinals.
The Cougars (21-1-2) dominated possession to open the game, creating numerous chances before eighth-grader Maeve Carey put them on the board with a wrister from the blue line just over six minutes in.
Prep also clamped down on defense, holding the Tanners (23-0-2) without a shot on goal until nearly nine minutes had passed.
“I think we had to adjust to the pace because we haven’t played a team like this maybe all year,” said Woburn coach Bob MacCurtain. “So I think that first period was like, OK, we’re in for a real battle here.”
Woburn wasted no time leveling the score in the second period. Marissa Gregory took a feed from Santullo and split two defenders on her way to the net, potting the puck five-hole past Hannah Aveni just 13 seconds into the frame.
The Tanners pressed for a second goal throughout the third period, finally breaking through with 4:46 left.
With Carey and Prep senior captain Kendra Currier in the penalty box, Santullo hammered away at a loose puck in the crease, poking home the rebound with just two seconds left on a two-man advantage.
“That’s the stick I like it to be on when [the puck] is around there,” said MacCurtain. “She wants the puck on her stick in these moments. When it’s down there and she’s jabbing away, there’s a pretty good chance it’s going to wind up in the back of the net.”
After killing off the last power play, the Cougars pulled Aveni for an extra skater for the last two minutes but were unable to put the puck past Amanda Essigmann to force overtime.
Woburn returns to TD Garden to defend its crown on Sunday against Methuen/Tewksbury.
Metheun/Tewksbury 4, Masconomet 2 — Senior Kelly Golini’s two goals proved to be the difference as the third-seeded Red Raiders survived a stiff test from ninth-seeded Masconomet in the Division 1 semifinals at O’Brien Rink.
“Our slogan this year was ‘Prove It,’ ” said Methuen/Tewksbury coach Sarah Oteri. “We got bumped to the [MVC] Large. We got bumped to Division 1. They just kept coming out and saying that we’ll prove that we’re worthy. And I think playing at the Garden on Sunday proves that we’re worthy.”
The Chieftains (18-4-2) struck first, as freshman Erin Irons took a pass from older sister Kate and found the back of the net with 9:22 to go in the first period.
The Red Rangers (21-1-2) responded with authority.
Golini scored her first goal just under four minutes into the second period, jamming away at a puck just above the crease in traffic. Freshman Kaylen Taddia made it 2-1 on a power-play tally three minutes later.
Pressing for a tying goal, Erin Irons came through once again for Masco, scoring on the power play with 10:37 to go to tie the game. But Golini wasted no time in reclaiming the lead.
On a phenomenal individual effort, she toe dragged around a defender and deked around Masco goalie Molly Elmore to make it 3-2 just 1:16 after the Chieftains tied it up. Junior Cassidy Grunning scored an unassisted goal with 31 seconds left to clinch the win.
Elmore was coming off a 52-save shutout in the quarterfinals.
“You’ve got to get pucks to her and you’ve got to get bodies to her,” said Oteri. “If she sees it, she’ll save it. We just talked about playing a more gritty game than we normally play.”
Division 2 semifinals
Wellesley 5, Algonquin 0 — From the opening puck drop at Warrior Ice Arena, Wellesley’s game plan was clear: fire, fire, fire.
The Raiders (18-2-3) put the puck on net every chance they could, and their balance paid off as junior Isabelle Kressy scored twice in a victory that sent Wellesley to its fourth state final in five years. The Raiders will face Canton on Sunday at TD Garden.
“We definitely don’t have an individual player. It’s a team effort all year. We rolled three lines,” said Wellesley coach PT Donato, who took over two years ago. “Across the board, everyone played well. We had two goals from our third line. I don’t think there’s teams that can say that, and we’re proud of that.”
Angela Ferro was solid in net for Algonquin/Hudson (14-10-0), making 35 saves.
Kressy opened the scoring with a wraparound goal with 1:11 left in the first period. Early in the second period, sophomore defender Erin Fleming extended the lead with a wrister from just inside the blue line, off an assist from senior Catherine Crosier.
The Raiders knew all they had to do was stick to the plan.
“Let’s keep doing what we’re doing and we’re going to get success. Play hard, keep getting pucks to the net, and trust the way we’ve been playing all year,” Donato told his team.
“Their goalie played great. She’s a really great goalie.”
The Raiders put the game out of reach with two goals in the opening 24 seconds of the third period.
Sophomore Bridget Noonan scored 14 seconds in with a walk-in wrister, and sophomore Mackenzie O’Neil tallied 10 seconds later off a pass from senior Jenna Harrison.
Kressy tacked on a late goal.
“We have some great senior leadership. Not only our captains, but across the board,” said Donato. “They’ve really proven what it takes to get back to the Garden.”
Canton 1, Archbishop Williams 0 — Junior Maggie Malloy scored the lone goal for the Bulldogs (18-2-3) at Warrior Ice Arena to drive her team to its second straight Division 2 final.
“It’s awesome. It was a great team effort all game,” said Malloy. “We were a force against that team. It felt so good, and we’re ready to play for the state championship.”
Malloy had a tremendous effort to set up her goal, 6:18 into the second period. Nearing the end of a defensive zone shift, she saw an opportunity and took the puck with speed end-to-end. With a quick snap shot, she scored the eventual winner.
Archbishop Williams junior goalie Alison Delmonte kept her team in the game with 35 saves. The Bishops (16-5-2) were a bounce away from a state final.
But reaching the semifinal? It’s the furthest the Bishops have gone in the tournament.
“There’s not one kid that’s going to walk out of here with their head down,” said coach Mark McHale. “Everyone hates to lose, but I’m very proud of this group. They came to play every game.”
“We’ll be back,” he added.
The Bulldogs sneaked up on teams in their run to the final last season. But coach Dennis Aldrich is proud that his team was able to reach the Garden despite having a target on its back.
“This is a bigger accomplishment for this program, and you have to put it all on them,” said Aldrich. “They never wavered, and they stuck together.”Globe correspondent Lenny Rowe reported from Brighton.