No. 1 St. Mary's stays unbeaten

LYNN, Mass. -- Carrying an 80-plus game unbeaten streak, No. 1 St. Mary’s of Lynn girls’ hockey knows they have a target on them at all times. And the Spartans didn’t expect anything less with No. 2 Woburn coming to town for Saturday night’s non-league contest at Connery Rink.

St. Mary’s trailed for most of the game after the Tanners’ Ashley Moran scored with 19 seconds remaining in the first period. While it looked as though Saturday might be the night that the Spartans’ prolific streak finally came to end, Sabrina Iannetti tied it with 3:08 left in the third on a power play goal.

The teams ended in a 1-1 tie and St. Mary’s streak hit 90 games.

One thing’s for certain, No. 90 didn’t come easy.

“We were dealt with some adversity tonight, but we didn’t panic,” St. Mary’s head coach Frank Pagliuca said. “We kept going. That was great test for us in the middle of the year, but all of them are.”

Although the Spartans (10-0-3) were down 1-0 after the first, they out-shot Woburn 9-4. However, Tanners freshman goaltender Courtney Davis once again proved she’s up for the test of a big game. After dispatching No. 3 Lexington in a 4-0 shutout last week, Davis was on task again, turning aside 17 Spartan shots.

“She played great and she’s only a freshman,” Woburn head coach Bob MacCurtain said. “She battled hard and I think she likes playing in these big games.”

The Tanners (10-1-1) got another boost from another freshman in Moran, who paced them to a 1-0 lead. Her tally was the result of some strong net front presence and was assisted by yet another freshman, Emily Lissner.

Perhaps more impressively, Moran’s goal ended a 21-plus period shutout streak pitched by the Spartans and netminder Sarah Foss. The last goal St. Mary’s allowed came in their 2-2 tie against Notre Dame of Hingham on Jan. 6.

“We knew we were going to have our hands full, they’re one of the best teams around,” Pagliuca said. “They have a great coach, they’re disciplined, they’re organized and they have some players.”

Neither team could get on the board in the second, though Lissner had a tremendous chance to put Woburn up 2-0 with a slick move in front of Foss (15 saves). After shedding a defender with a deke to the right, Lissner was in alone on Foss. She pulled another deke to the backhand but simply ran out room and was unable to sneak the puck inside the nearside post.

St. Mary’s attack intensified in the third. The Spartans were able to draw the penalty which led to the game-tying goal with a sustained presence in the Woburn end. Iannetti finally found the back of the net with 3:08 to play on a blast from the point set up by Gina Beth Manganiello and Marisa Maccario.

“Our power play’s been much better the last couple of games,” Pagliuca said. “We made some adjustments and we’re trying to make more opportunities. That was a big goal there.”