THE PLNR seniors led the way to another terrific season in which the Tanners won 18 games. Pictured from left to right are seniors Penny Spack, Jenna DiNapoli (NRHS), Chloe Considine, Avery Bird, Hannah Gromko and Ella Chase (NRHS). (File Photo)
By STEPHEN MARTELLUCCI
LYNN — In their regular-season meeting back on Dec. 14, the North Reading -Lynnfield- Peabody High girls’ co-op hockey team lost to St. Mary’s of Lynn, 2-0, at home. The two teams met again on March 8 in the MIAA Division 1 Round of 8 game at Connery Rink in Lynn.
This time, the result was the same as the Catholic Central League champion Spartans won 2-0 to end the Tanners’ season.
With the loss, 8th-seeded PLNR ended the year at 18-5 while the Spartans beat Billerica-Chelmsford, 6-3 in the state semifinals on March 12 at the Tsongas Center in Lowell to improve to 25-1.
St. Mary’s will now take on Shrewsbury for the state title at the TD Garden on March 19 at 7:30 p.m.
“We controlled the play for the majority of the game except for that six-minute stretch where we gave up two goals off of defensive zone mistakes,” explained Tanners head coach Michelle Roach. “The first came off a failed clearing attempt and the second was a steal off the winger on the breakout.”
Roach also praised the play of the Spartans.
“St. Mary’s does a great job of limiting rebounds in front of their net so it was hard to follow up on quality chances,” Roach added. “Strong teams wait for the other to make mistakes to capitalize and this game was going to be a game of inches. Unfortunately, we came up a couple short.”
Tia Picardi scored the first goal or the game at the 8:40 mark of the first period on a rebound of a shot by Gianna Young. Vanessa Hall was also credited with an assist.
Jenna Chaplain, who is the Catholic Central League’s MVP, then had the other tally as her shot from the slot found the top left side of the net late with 3:10 remaining in the first.
That tally, which came off a steal, was unassisted.
There were seven total power opportunities in the game for both teams as each team’s penalty kill came up big. The Tanners were 0 for 3 with the man up while the Spartans were 0 for 4.
Spartan goalie Angela Catino made 19 saves to post the shutout while Tanner net minder, Alyse Mutti, made 12 stops as the Tanners outshot the Spartans 19-14. Mutti, who is from North Reading, finished at 18-5 in net this winter.
“I’m very proud of my team’s effort,” stated Roach. “They were aggressive and attacked the paint non-stop. I think Catino only physically saw one of the shots all game. Alyse played a tremendous game keeping it a two-goal game.”
Along with Mutti, Roach complimented several of her other players efforts despite the result.
“Leah (Buckley) and Penny (Spack) were strong defensively while Hannah (Gromko), Catie (Kampersal), and Jenna (DiNapoli) led the offense,” said Roach.
DiNapoli is a senior captain from North Reading.