EMPTYING THE BUCKET: Masco girls gave their all in overtime loss to Woburn
By Matt Williams Staff writer
WOBURN — It was going to take a puck with eyes.
With a trip to the Division 1 state final at TD Garden at stake and every player for both underdog Masconomet and favored Woburn leaving every bit of themselves on the ice in sudden death overtime, there was no way the tiebreaking goal would hit the back of the net cleanly.
After 4:03 of extra time, Woburn’s Lily Mallard unleashed a high blast that ticked off two Chieftain sticks on its way to sneaking inside the crossbar to send the Tanners past Masconomet, 2-1, in a thrilling state semifinal Monday at O’Brien Rink.
The No. 3 seed Tanners (20-2-2) scored the last two goals of the game to outlast Masconomet (12-9-3), an upstart No. 18 seed that made the best playoff run in the program’s 15-year history.
The Cinderella story came to a close despite a near heroic 37-save effort in net from freshman Molly Elmore.
“I think I feel OK because I know everyone on our team wanted it as badly as they possibly could have,” said Masconomet senior captain Izzy Sarra. “It’s an emotionally and physically exhausting game, and that comes with a lot of pressure. You always feel like you have a little more to give, but we didn’t leave much out there.”
Sarra’s goal just 52 seconds into the second period put Masconomet on the scoreboard first. As Elmore stopped the first 30 shots she faced, it seemed like the single tally might stand up. But Woburn cashed in on its fifth power play of the game with 9:11 left in the third to draw even.
“I knew one goal wasn’t going to be enough,” said first-year Masconomet head coach Ryan Sugar. “Woburn’s an amazing team. They were expected to be here and we weren’t, but our kids played amazing. We just couldn’t hold on.”
Early in overtime (contested 4-on-4), Elmore made a strong pad save on Woburn sniper Georgie Santullo (37 goals on the year). Sarra steamed the other way, made an inside-outside move around a defender and nearly won it, only to be denied by Tanner goalie Katlind Caivardone (21 saves).
In part due to 10 power plays in regulation (5 for each side), both teams were exhausted in overtime. Woburn won an offensive zone draw with 4 minutes to go, and Mallard’s bomb snuck in at 4:03 to end it.
“I was hoping for a shootout by the end,” Sugar said. “That goal ticked off a couple of sticks. If it was clean, Molly would’ve stopped it. We knew coming in that it would be our toughest game … and it didn’t go our way.”
Woburn had the better of the play in the first period, with Elmore making 12 saves to help her team escape at 0-0. The Chieftains came out on fire in the second, with Sarra getting free in the slot after strong cycling by Mikayla Vincent on the opening shift. Her initial bid saved, Sarra got a stick under the goalie’s pad for her 19th goal of the season.
“Very lucky and very tenacious,” Sarra said of her goal. “It was a lot of shoving.”
Assisted by Mikayla Vincent and defenseman Lexi Rosenbaum, the goal was a classic Sarra tally, Sugar said: “She keeps digging until that light goes on.”
Senior defensemen Madi Brooke and Duval barely left the ice in the third period and overtime for Masconomet. Duval was credited with seven of her team’s 17 blocked shots and both mainstays gave all their heart and bodies in their efforts to hold down Woburn’s attack.
“Both of them, it’s 100 percent every time they touch the ice,” said Sugar. “I had to shorten things up at the end, and they played a ton and never let up.”
Woburn’s tying goal came off the stick of Maddi Russo with 9:11 left in the third while on the power play. The Chieftains had killed off 23 seconds of Tanner 5-on-3 time only two minutes prior and couldn’t cash in on their own advantage in the short time between calls.
Back on the advantage, the Tanners got the puck quickly across the ice to a free Russo for the tying score.
Woburn had the better of the chances over the final seven minutes, though Masconomet’s Abby Gendron got free for two looks at the net that were saved. Sami Kelleher (8 faceoff wins) also had a strong game for the Chieftains, along with linemate Kate Irons.
“We just played our 28th game including scrimmages. Obviously, this stings,” said Sugar. “They came out and gave everything they had, so I’m proud of them. It was an incredible run.”
Though Masconomet fell short of the state final at TD Garden (where Woburn will face Needham Sunday), the team’s three playoff wins are more than any other club in program history … and, in fact, more than many in the history of their league.
Graduating seven seniors — Sarra, Brooke, Duval, Lily O’Grady, Olivia Nieves, Sophia Nieves and Mackenzie Saitta — Masconomet left the ice with much to be proud of.
“I couldn’t be prouder of my class’ legacy and the year we had,” said Sarra. “It’s bittersweet knowing my season and my career are ending, but it’s fantastic knowing that we’re trail blazers for what’s to come for this team.”
Woburn 2, Masconomet 1 (OT)
Division 1 state semifinal
at O’Brien Rink, Woburn
Masconomet 0 1 0 0 — 1
Woburn 0 0 1 1 — 2
First period: No scoring.
Second period: M, Izzy Sarra (Rachael Duval, Lexi Rosenbaum), :52.
Third period: W, Maddie Russo (Georgie Santullo, Lily Mallard), ppg, 5:49.
Overtime: W, Mallard (Brianna Jewett), 4:03.
Saves: M, Molly Elmore 37; W, Katelind Ciavardone 21.
Records: M, 12-9-3; W, 20-2-2.