QUINCY, Mass. -- Sometimes when you go up against a goalie of Austin Prep’s Shannon O’Neil’s caliber the only thing you can ask for is a little bit of luck.
For 43 minutes, O’Neil twisted, turned and tossed aside Fontbonne Academy’s offensive advances until a lucky bounce finally went the Ducks’ way.
McKenna Russell had a shot tipped inside the blue line and it jumped high in the air over the head of O’Neil and into the net with 1:28 to go and the Ducks added an empty-netter later for a 2-0 victory over Austin Prep (4-2-2) in a nonleague battle on Thursday at Shea Rink.
The Ducks (5-3) had 32 shots on O’Neil for the game, with more than half of those coming in high quality situations, but a tipped puck gave Fontbonne the key two points and left the Cougars wishing for the split.
“No,” Russell said when asked if she cared what the goal looked like. “A goal is a goal. It could be an ugly goal, a pretty goal, as long as it’s in the back of the net then I’m fine with it.”
The fact that the puck carried enough momentum off the tipped shot was surprising even to Russell.
“When I shot it I thought I missed the net,” Russell said. “When I turned around it was in the net. It just went right over her shoulder. … [O’Neil] has a big glove. We had to find a way around her and I guess right over her head was the way.”’
The Ducks outshot the Cougars 33-10 and carried the play for the majority of the game. It was the effort of O’Neil to help keep it a contest as her offensive mates struggled to mount any kind of pressure against a stout Ducks’ defense
“She played a great game,” Cougars head coach Stephanie Wood said. “She kept us in the game. We had to kill off a lot of penalties and a four-minute penalty kill through the third period. She is definitely on her game right now as you can see from that third period. It was very unlucky and it’s definitely one I think she would want back. But when Shannon is on she is on.”
MAKE WAY FOR DUCKLINGS
The two goals marked the first goals for the Ducks in two games, but now they have a scoreless streak of their own from one of their young goaltenders.
Jessica Olivieri made 10 saves for a shutout. She, along with Samantha Moussalli, are alternating starts as both freshman work themselves into varsity hockey life. Bob Huxley said that each goalie gets an equal amount of playing time and he expressed excitement over the future in net for a program that is no stranger to postseason appearances.
Olivieri made a good save on Michaela Boyle on a 2-on-1 which could have heavily shifted the momentum into the Cougars favor in the second period.