Colonials hockey team wins state championship


Colonials hockey team wins state championship
The Shrewsbury hockey team poses with the State Championship banner after beating St. Mary’s, 4-1, in the D1 final at TD Garden. Photo/Bill Gilman

BOSTON – Every hour of every endless practice, every drop of sweat, every bruise and sprain, every tear shed from every past disappointment – it was all just an investment.

Sunday night, it paid off with championship gold.

Shrewsbury High School captured its first-ever girls’ hockey State Championship with a 4-1 win over top-seeded St. Mary’s of Lynn, at TD Garden.

“Words can’t describe how I feel right now, I’m so proud of these girls,” said Coach Frank Panarelli. “I knew we had the team to do it this year. I kept telling them to buy in, work hard in practice, that’s why, in the third period, I think it showed we were in better shape than them. I’m just so proud of these girls, I don’t know where to start.”

Last year, the Colonials made it to the Final Four before falling to Arlington. 

As it has throughout much of its post-season run, No. 3 Shrewsbury got off to a sluggish start, skating hard but just out of sync on the offensive end. By contrast, St. Mary’s looked like a team on a mission, buzzing the net and keeping the Colonials scrambling in their defensive zone.

But Shrewsbury goalie Risa Montoya was up to the task, making 10 of her 19 saves in the first period. The junior set the tone early with a brilliant stop on St. Mary’s  forward Gabbi Oakes, left all alone in front of the net.

“I have no words. This is such an amazing feeling! We just won the state championship!” said Montoya, who finished the season with a 1.02 GAA. “Honestly, I know it sounds cocky, but I knew after (we scored) that first goal, I knew we could do it. I knew we were just going to have to play our game and keep the lead.”

That “first goal” came off the stick of Captain Taylor Ryder, who was sitting on the doorstep and knocked home the rebound of a shot by Rachel Busnick, with 5:00 to play in the first period, giving Shrewsbury a 1-0 lead.

“I’m so proud of our team, this is amazing. Our team just played so amazing,” said Ryder.

Ryder said that scoring first was key for the Colonials.

“I think in our last game, against NDA-Hingham, we went down 2-0 in the first period and the nerves just got the best of us,” said Ryder. “And I think (tonight), the first five minutes, we were lucky not to give up a goal and go down. I think after we got that first goal it just boosted us and gave us so much confidence in ourselves.”

Shrewsbury carried that momentum into the second period, dominating play but unable to build on its lead thanks to the solid play of Spartan goalie Angelina Catino, who totaled 20 saves.

Playing with a sense of desperation, St. Mary’s came out hard in the third period and tied the game just 2:33 into the period. 

With Shrewsbury back on its heels, St. Mary’s pressed the attack and looked ready to take the lead, were it not for the heroics of Bridget McLaughlin. Montoya made a nice save but the rebound came loose and there was a scramble in front of the net. Somehow, the puck wound up behind Montoya and rolled precariously through the crease of the vacated net.

McLaughlin, a junior defenseman, swooped in and cleared the puck safely away to maintain the tie.

“Oh, my God! That was probably the scariest moment all game. [Bridget] played amazing all game,” said Montoya. “She basically played goalie on that one. I literally came off the ice and gave her a huge hug for that one.”

Moments later, perhaps frustrated, St. Mary’s freshman Gianna Young was whistled for a hooking penalty, putting Shrewsbury on the power play and setting up Colonial Yasmine McKenzie’s tie-breaker.

Goals from Maddie Mrva and Paige Umile rounded out the scoring.

The four goals scored by Shrewsbury were more than St. Mary’s (25-2-0) had given up in any game this season.


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