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D1 girls semi: AC 2, AP 1 (OT)

STONEHAM, Mass. -- Austin Prep finally broke through against Arlington Catholic after eight plus periods of futility, but AC got in the last word when junior Adrieana Rossini collected a pass from Jessica Piracini and fired a backhander to the top corner 1:26 into overtime, over a valiant Caty Flagg.

The goal sends AC back to the Garden to play Duxbury in the girls Division 2 final after a thrilling 2-1 victory in Sunday’s state semifinal.

“Getting to the final game regardless of the year you are going to go through some games that are going to be hard fought wins,” said Arlington Catholic coach Maggie Taverna. “If a kid is going to score a goal to win a game, it is probably going to be Rossini.”

If this sounds familiar, it is, because Rossini did the exact same thing last year against Westford Academy in the semi-final game.

Last year, AC went on to lose the finals to St. Mary’s, but hopes things will be different this year.

“With the experience of being there once it may not be so overwhelming,” Taverna said. “It was a good game back and forth last year but this year hopefully we will be a little more prepared because we have more veterans.”

Rossini’s heroics came when Piracini picked up a puck in the left wing corner and found Rossini heading to the net. She corralled the puck on her forehand and shifted to her backhand before finishing off the play.

“I am just glad it happened. I am so glad we won,” said Rossini. “We knew Caty [Flagg] was an unbelievable goalie, but we knew we had to go at her and there had to be a break sometime.”

AP relied heavily on its sophomore goalie, who almost stole the game, making 37 saves on the night.

“We knew Caty (Flagg) was going to be solid and she put on a great performance tonight,” said Austin Prep coach Stephanie Wood. “I think she really rises to these occasions and has been really solid for us the entire postseason. I think that is a good sign for the future for us.”

Despite being outshout, 12-6, in the opening period, AP thought it had the game’s first goal when Jaimee Cooke’s wrist shot broke off of AC goalie Katherine Crane and in but the net was ruled off the moorings and the game remained scoreless.

After a quiet second period, Austin broke the ice 3:11 into the third period on a power play when junior Maddy Ricci wrapped one in at the left post off of Crane’s blocker. After being shut out in their previous two meetings, it was the first goal AP scored in more than 123 minutes of play against AC.

From there, the ice tilted in Arlington’s favor with Flagg continuing to stand on her head making 18 third-period saves.

“She is unbelievable,” said Taverna of Flagg. “At the beginning of the year we went and watched her but since about February 1 on she has been an unbelievable goaltender. She is going to be great for them in the future.”

At 8:53 of the third period, AC finally broke through on Flagg when senior Duggan Delano stole a puck along the right wing boards, skated through the face-off circle, and wristed one off of Flagg, short side to tie the game 1-1.