The expectation was exceptionally high: win the final game at TD Garden.
And with its 4-1 victory over Arlington, the top-seeded Austin Prep girls’ hockey team put the finishing touch on a dominant unbeaten season with the Division 1 championship Sunday night at TD Garden.
In their final season in MIAA play before the school shifts to the New England Prep School Athletic Council for the 2022-23 school year, the 27-0 Cougars outscored foes by an eye-popping 145 goals, 156-11.
“Going into the season, we knew that we were going to have a strong team,” ninth-year Austin Prep coach Stephanie Wood said.
“We thought that this was going to be the best team that we’ve ever had, so we knew the potential was there. This group has cemented themselves as the most successful sports team in the history of Austin Prep athletics.”
Bree Anderson kicked off the scoring a minute and 23 seconds in. The freshman from Danvers slotted a slap shot from the point past Arlington senior captain goaltender Elise Rodd. Senior captain Kathryn Karo potted the second goal of the period, roofing a backhand in close off a saucer pass from junior McKenzie Cerrato — her 39th tally of the season.
“McKenzie made a really great pass and the goalie wasn’t really expecting a backhand,” said Karo, a transfer from Hingham High. “Just put it on net, that’s what you have to do in big games.”
Cerrato extended the advantage to 3-1 with 2:14 remaining, curling around the left circle and rifling a blistering wrister through a screen and into the top right corner. Jumping into the glass in front of a raucous student section, the magnitude of the moment set in.
“With the crowd there, it’s a pretty great feeling,” said Cerrato. “[Madison Vittands] put up a great screen, so that’s probably the only way it went in.”
Freshman Libby Corsetti netted the lone goal for the Spy Ponders (22-2-1). Rodd made 23 saves, including several highlight reel stops.
“It was a great game,” said Arlington coach Jeff Mead. “The girls played hard, just kind of ran out of gas. To beat a team like that, we have to capitalize on our power play and our penalty kill has to be a little sharper. We battled with them, just a matter of a bounce here or there.”
Austin Prep 4, Arlington 1
at TD Garden
Arlington (22-2-1) 1 0 0 — 1
Austin Prep (27-0) 2 0 2 — 4
1, AP, Bree Anderson 1:23. 2, AP, Kathryn Karo (McKenzie Cerrato) 8:57. 3, A, Libby Corsetti (Maddie Krepelka) 13:31 (pp). 4, AP, McKenzie Cerrato (Madison Vittands, Maeve Carey) 12:46 (pp). 5, AP, Isabel Hulse 14:08 (en).
Saves: A, Elise Rodd, 23; AP, Lauryn Hanafin, 17.