Not until the clock struck 0:00 Monday night could the Arlington girls’ hockey team fully comprehend the historic achievement for the program.
With her 19th and final save of the night at the buzzer, senior captain Elise Rodd denied a desperation heave from the neutral zone by Shrewsbury freshman defender Yasmine McKenzie, preserving a 2-1 Division 1 semifinal win for Arlington at Gallo Arena in Bourne.
The thrilling victory vaulted the second-seeded Spy Ponders (22-1-1) into their first state final. Arlington will play the Austin Prep/Acton-Boxborough winner Sunday at TD Garden.
Junior Maddie Krepelka scored both goals, raising her season total to 32, and an even 50 points. She opened with a rip at 14:42 of the first period and scored again just 1:48 of the third period, which stood as the winner after Taylor Ryder scored at 4:30 for the sixth-seeded Colonials (16-7-1).
“She is definitely a game changer,” Arlington coach Jeff Mead said of Krepelka. “We have a player like that who can finish, and we have really good goaltending, we’ve got a few good senior defensemen, but she’s the backbone of our team.”
In a game with no penalties and thus no power-play opportunities for either team, Krepelka’s goal late in the first period carried a fair amount of weight for the Ponders in a game deprived of any momentum swings.
“It’s pretty amazing, but I couldn’t do it without my linemates and the rest of my team,” said Krepelka, who plays on Arlington’s top line with her sister, Julia, a freshman with 31 points (11 goals, 20 assists) and senior co-captain Gabby Russo, the team’s second-leading scorer with 13-23—36 totals. Julia assisted on Maddie’s second goal.
Freshman Risa Montoya made 19 saves for Shrewsbury.
“We’ve been working our way up to this point all year, it’s an achievement we’ve been working towards the entire time,” Maddie Krepelka said. “It’s an amazing opportunity we have to play at the Garden.”
Austin Prep dealt Arlington its only loss of the season.
Division 2 State
Algonquin/Hudson 3, Medfield 2 (OT) — Her coaches told Emily Johns to keep digging, assuring her she was going to score before game’s end.
The sophomore from Clinton created space by sidestepping a defender, firing home the winner high gloveside on a two-on-none rush in overtime, lifting the 10th seeded Titans past No. 22 Medfield in a Division 2 semifinal at Loring Arena in Framingham.
Algonquin (18-3-2) will play Canton, a 2-1 winner over Natick, Sunday at TD Garden.
“My one thing was to score and put the puck in the net,” said Johns. “My coaches kept saying to keep at it because I’m going to get one. Finally, it worked.”
The Titans won their second consecutive tournament game in overtime, a testament to the team’s perseverance and ability to remain calm under pressure.
“It was a one bounce game and that was our bounce,” said Algonquin coach Mike Hodge. “The message was just to dig deep. Find whatever ounce you have and make it happen. I mean, that was a hard fought game. That was fun.”
Sophomore Katherine Flippo weaved through two defenders and sniped a goal just under the crossbar to put the Warriors (16-8) ahead with 8:38 to play, yet the Tomahawks were not to be denied.
Mallory Farrell, a sophomore from Marlborough, eluded a defender at the blue line and tied the game with 2:53 to play with a powerful wrist shot, scoring her second goal of the game. With the multi-goal game, Farrell hit the 30-goal mark for the season.
“I saw an opening and my coaches always tell me to go wide and shoot,” said Farrell. “I was thinking about that and it worked.”
Algonquin last reached the state semifinals in 2018, a 5-0 loss to Wellesley.
“I just feel for the girls, they’ve worked hard for years,” said Hodge. “We knew that we could have a chance this year. After the first week or two of the season, we saw tremendous growth within our team and started to feel like, ‘why not us?’”.
“It’s a dream,” said Johns. “We’ve been working this the whole entire season and it’s so crazy that it’s finally real.”
Canton 2, Natick 1 — Though a co-champion banner accompanies the experience, what happened two years ago remains a sore subject for the Canton girls.
The Bulldogs were one of 12 hockey teams unable to play for their respective state titles after the games were cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Two years later, Canton will get the chance to carouse Causeway Street after all. The ninth-seeded Bulldogs outlasted fifth-seeded Natick in a semifinal at Gallo Arena.
“It’s all about our team atmosphere,” Canton senior co-captain Tess Khoury said. . “We were really sad about it, that was a great team back then. But we didn’t dwell on the past, we looked forward. We believe in each other.”
Senior co-captain Audrey Koen factored in both goals for the Bulldogs (18-6), scoring at 8:48 of the first and assisting on sophomore Anna Lehan’s game winner at 8:04 of the second against the Redhawks (15-7-2).
Junior Carolyn Durand made 17 saves, including a flurry in the final minute of regulation.
“You can tell when she’s focused when she has a little attitude,” Canton coach Dennis Aldrich said. “When she’s showing her personality in net, you know that she’s focused.”
The Bulldogs also benefited from a number of blocked shots from players up and down their lineup, from captains such as Khoury and Allie McCabe on down.
“When you have players like that jumping in front of pucks and they’re also your leading scorers, how can [everyone else] not do it,” Aldrich noted.
The win for Canton avenged a 4-1 season-opening loss to Natick on Dec. 11 at Metropolis Rink.
Colleen Quirk had the lone goal for the Redhawks at 1:09 of the second period.
For Canton, it will be the fourth time the program has advanced as far as the championship round since 2017. The Bulldogs lost against Notre Dame (Hingham) in 2017 and against Wellesley in 2018 before being named co-champs in 2020. Canton is still searching for its first outright state title in girls hockey.
Cam Kerry reported from Loring Arena in Framingham.