What do you tell your team after it’s just been 3.9 seconds away from accomplishing its goal and now you have to regroup and play in an overtime period and a potential shootout?
St. Mary’s girls hockey coach Frank Pagliuca faced that scenario after Hingham had dramatically tied the game at 3-3 in the final seconds of Saturday’s Division 1 state semifinal at Stoneham Arena.
“I just told the team that they had to put it behind them,” said Pagliuca. “I know it’s hard, but it’s a 0-0 game now – the next team that scores is going to win. It’s such a tough, demoralizing thing to happen, but they have that ‘it’ factor, they really do. I’m so proud of them.”
After a scoreless 12-minute overtime, the teams participated in a shootout during which five players from each team get a 1-on-1 [penalty shot] opportunity against the opposing goaltender.
When sophomore Ann Marie Manganiello took the puck at center ice for her chance, the shootout was tied at 1-1 and if Manganiello could score, St. Mary’s would be headed to the TD Garden to play for the Division 1 state championship.
Manganiello delivered the winning goal on a clutch shot that went between the goaltender’s pads and the St. Mary’s celebration began.
“I’m saying to myself that I have to score,” said Manganiello. “I’ve practiced the move. You bring the puck to your backhand and cut it back and go to your forehand and try to go 5-hole or try to get it around the goalie.”
Manganiello was asked if she knew the magnitude of her attempt prior to lining it up.
“I knew what the stakes were – I just tried to play relaxed and do it for the seniors,” she said.
The other stars of the shootout were junior Alison Butler, whose shot popped over the Hingham goalie and landed in the net and sophomore goaltender Lauren Skinnion, who stopped four of five shots.
“Lauren has been absolutely phenomenal,” said Pagliuca. “Players have stepped up this year and she’s right at the top. To stop Hingham’s [Jane] Freda and Sarah [Schwenzfeier] in a shootout, that says something right there. She was outstanding and gave us a chance to win the shootout. I can’t be happier about her play this year.”
Skinnion felt her team would come through in the shootout.
“I have confidence in my team that they would do their part,” said Skinnion. “I knew that Ann Marie is a great player and that she was going to score. I just wanted to do my best for my team. That’s why our team has been so successful because we want to win for each other.”
Butler, Kaleigh Finingan, and Brittany Lanzilli scored goals for the Spartans who improved their record to 21-3-1. St. Mary’s will play Arlington Catholic for the state championship Sunday at the TD Garden.