Methuen Rangers Girls Ice Hockey '17-'18

Mon, Mar 12, 2018 08:00 PM @ Neutral Location
Team 1 2 3 Final
Masconomet 1 0 1 2
Methuen 0 2 2 4

Methuen/Tewkksbury surges into first state title game

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Monday, March, 12 By David Willis
Staff writer

WOBURN — Kelly Golini was furious.
With a trip to the TD Garden on the line, the Methuen/Tewksbury star had just seen Masconomet tie the game early in the third period. And she simply would not let it stand.
“I was honestly very, very mad they got that goal,” said Golini. “For them to score that goal at that point made me so angry. I just wanted to throw in back in their faces. So I got the puck and something in me told me I needed to get to the net and my shot had to go in.”

Golini picked up the puck near center ice and broke towards the goal. She deked one defender, flipped the puck to her backhand to out-maneuver another, then slid the puck just outside the goalie’s skate to give Methuen/Tewksbury the lead with 9:21 to go in the game. 
From there, the No. 4 Red Rangers held strong to take a 4-2 victory over No. 9 Masconomet in the Division 1 state semifinal at O’Brien Rink in Woburn in front of a jam-packed estimated 1,000 fans.

“It’s amazing,” said Golini. “I don’t even know how to explain it. It’s so much adrenaline. Senior year, doing this is everything I could have asked for and so much more. This is all going exactly how I wanted it to.”
With the win, Methuen/Tewskbury advances to its first state title game in the program’s six-year history, at the TD Garden on Sunday (time TBA).
The Red Rangers will take on No. 2 Woburn (23-0-2). The Tanners beat No. 3 Austin Prep 2-1 in the earlier semifinal Monday night. Methuen and Woburn did not meet in the regular season.
“I can’t even put this feeling into words,” said Methuen/Tewksbury head coach Sarah Oteri. “The kids battled so hard. They did everything we asked them to. It was a good battle tonight. Masco was a good team. But we never gave up and we just kept battling.”
Methuen’s Brenna Greene set the tone just minutes in on Monday, delivering a monster open ice check on a Masco forward. The sophomore was not called for a penalty.
But it was Masco that struck first, as Erin Irons took a pass from sister Kate Irons and scored to give the Chieftains a 1-0 lead 5:38 into play.  
“I think the nerves of the big game and the crowd of the big game got to us a little early,” said Oteri, a former Andover High star. “But it just came down to making a few good plays and getting the confidence that we could do this.”
Red Rangers goalie Kaia Hollingsworth went to work after that, making a few huge saves to kill a Masco penalty that ended the first period. Her best was when she stopped a shot with her chest, then lunged to cover the rebound.
After one goal was disallowed, Methuen/Tewksbury tied the game 3:49 into the second. Golini gathered in a rebound in front of the goal and hammered it home to make it 1-1. Assists went to Greene and Lydia Pendleton.
Just over two minutes later, Kaylen Taddia gave the Rangers the lead, taking a pass in the left faceoff circle and firing home a shot from an impossible angle. Greene and Golini had the helpers.
“That was huge,” said Oteri. “We had been working on the power play, which I think is a strength. Kaylen is battling a sickness, so for her to get that on the power play was huge.”
Masconomet tied it up 4:23 into the third. But Golini needed just 1:16 to give the Red Rangers the lead for good with her highlight-reel score.
“It was a beautiful goal,” said Oteri. “Kelly has a great deke. It was Kelly with her tic-tac-toe goal for sure. It was huge.”
Masco had a few opportunities late, but Hollingsworth (26 saves) would not let another in. With just over 30 seconds left, she squashed the one final attempt, blocking the right post with her skate as Chieftain tried to hammer it past her. 
Cassidy Gruning scored in the final seconds, setting off a huge celebration for the Rangers. 
“It’s amazing,” I am honestly so excited to play at the Garden. I can’t wait to do everything and see everything and experience everything about the state title game. It is something none of us will every forget.”

Game Statistics:

Division 1 State Semifinals
 M/T — Kelly Golini 2, Kaylen Taddia, Cassidy Gruning; Ma — Erin Irons 2

Assists: M/T — Brenna Greene 2, Lydia Pendleton, Golini; Ma – Kate Irons, Abby Gendron, Charisse Flanagan

Saves: M/T – Kaia Hollingsworth 26; Ma – Molly Elmore 28

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