THE NO. 15 PLNR girls’ hockey team congratulates No. 2 Arlington after a well-played Sweet 16 game at the Ed Burns Arena that the Spy Ponders won 2-1. (Peabody Athletics Photo)

By STEPHEN MARTELLUCCI

ARLINGTON — In a game that could have went either way, the Peabody-Lynnfield-North Reading co-op girls’ hockey team was edged by host Arlington, 2-1, in a Division 1 Round of 16 game on March 9 at Ed Burns Arena.

With that loss, the 15th-seeded Tanners ended the year at 16-5.-1 The second-seeded Spy Ponders, meanwhile, then beat guest Bishop Feehan, 5-1, on March 12 and beat Shrewsbury, 2-1, in the state semifinals on Monday evening to improve to 22-1-1.

Arlington will now play for the Div. 1 state title at the TD Garden this coming Sunday.

“For us to play the team that is going to the state final that close shows how good our team is,” said Tanners head coach Michelle Roach. “I was proud of the way my club played.”

With the score knotted at one early in the third period, Madeline Krepika scored the game-winning goal for the host 1:08 in. That tally was unassisted.

“She made a nice shot,” acknowledged Roach.

The Tanners scored the first goal of the night when Shirley Whitmore beat goalie Elise Rodd (19 saves) with 4:54 remaining in the first period. Alexa Pepper and Vanessa Steinmeyer were both credited with assists.

Whitmore, Pepper and Steinmeyer are all from North Reading.

Whitmore scored as she was able put home a rebound of a shot by Steinmeyer.

From there, Arlington took control and put a lot of pressure on goalie Alyse Mutti.

“Alyse had a tremendous game for us,” stated Roach, about the North Reading resident. “She is only a freshmen and she was able to keep us in the game.”

The Spy Ponders were able to tie the game with 5:20 left in the second on a Gabby Russo tally converting a loose puck in front of the net. Krepika, and her sister Julia, were both credited with the assist.

After Arlington took the lead early in the third, the best chance for the Tanners came with just under six minutes left as they had a 5-on-3 power-play advantage. Madeline Krepika, however, came up with a big block on a Sarah Powers shot.

“We had some good opportunities but were not able to put it home,” pointed out Roach. “Sarah had a couple of good chances in that period.”

With a little over a minute left, Mutti was pulled for the extra attacker but Arlington was able to hold on.

Arlington outshot the Tanners 36-20, as Mutti made 34 stops. Mutti finished with a mark of 9-2 in net this winter.