Time seemed to stop as St. Mary’s forward Alison Butler approached Arlington Catholic goalie Megan Messuri late in the third period of Sunday’s Division 1 girls’ hockey state championship game at TD Garden.
“She had a couple of opportunities earlier and she changed her shot selection. She went with a quick type of shot to keep Megan off balance,” said St. Mary’s coach Frank Pagliuca.
Butler shot the puck past Messuri with 2:46 remaining in regulation and goalie Lauren Skinnion made it stand even after the Cougars pulled their goalie for a 6-on-4 advantage, securing a 2-1 win for the Spartans.
It is St. Mary’s state-record fifth title, their first since 2010. Last year, the Spartans fell, 3-1, to Arlington Catholic.
This time, Skinnion made 21 saves and Amanda Donahoe assisted on the winner for the Spartans (19-3-4).
“It’s a tremendous accomplishment and we learned a lot from last year. It wasn’t pretty at times, but we found a way to win,” said Pagliuca.
“We stressed we have to finish opportunities when we get them. We had to cash in and [Butler] did that for us.”
Butler’s goal, her 36th this season, was the senior’s 199th point of her career. The Saint Anselm commit finished the season with 61 points, matching last year’s performance.
“She has all the accolades. She’s just an outstanding leader and player. It’s a privilege to be able to coach her as a player and person,” said Pagliuca.
Spartans senior forward Gabby Crugnale started the scoring with 22.8 seconds remaining in the first period when she snapped a wrist shot into the back of the net. Eighth-grader Sarah Ryan had the assist.
At 2:46 of the third period, the Cougars’ Adrieana Rossini evened the score with a shorthanded goal.
“They’re [Arlington Catholic] well-coached and they have tremendous players up front. We knew we had to account for Rossini because on ice they’re deep,” said Pagliuca.
St. Mary’s has outscored Arlington Catholic, 40-18, in their last 10 meetings. The squads split the regular-season series at one apiece.
The Cougars finish at 17-5-2.
“We’ve come a long way and we had a transition period but as the season went on the kids gained confidence in themselves,” said Pagliuca.