Algonquin girls hockey advances to semifinals after overtime thriller

Cagan excels in the clutch, Johns scores game-winner


Algonquin girls hockey advances to semifinals after overtime thriller
The Algonquin girls hockey team celebrates becoming state semifinalists. (Photo/Evan Walsh)

KINGSTON – As players took turns jumping over the boards and hugging their teammates, one giant pile of Algonquin Titans formed on the ice.  

At the bottom of the mosh pit? Emily Johns – the team’s senior captain and Central Mass.’s leading scorer. With the season on the line, and with five minutes left in an intense 4-on-4 overtime period, Johns grabbed the puck and deked the goalie, sending her team to the MIAA Division 2 semifinal. She was immediately mobbed by teammates from all angles.

“I saw the puck, I made a move around the girl, pulled it across the goalie, across the crease, back-handed over the left pad, and I saw the back of the net, and I was just like, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe it.’ I wouldn’t want to do it with any other team,” said Johns, still catching her breath from her game-winning goal. “I just want to play hard as a team, play together, and win.”

With the goal, the fifth-seeded Algonquin Titans officially beat the fourth-seeded Nauset Warriors to the tune of 2-1. The game, which went well into the night on Thursday, was played at The Bog Ice Arena in Kingston. While it was a long night for the athletes – they arrived back at Algonquin close to midnight – it was one that will be hard to forget. 

“[I saw] Emily just driving hard to the net like she always does… I thought she had that first one, but she was just resilient,” said Head Coach Tina Beauchemin, referring to how Johns had been stifled on a previous shot moments earlier. “She came up, got the puck, and came back down. Hey, she’s a sniper – we want the puck on Emily’s stick, right?”

But to register the overtime winner, Algonquin had to survive three back-and-forth periods of hockey. While both teams started slowly in the first period, Nauset gained some offensive momentum in subsequent action. Though the Warriors had several serious scoring opportunities, including two breakaways that bookended the second period, sophomore goalie Addison “Addy” Cagan kept Algonquin afloat.

Algonquin girls hockey advances to semifinals after overtime thriller
Algonquin’s Courtney Shifrin eyes the puck. (Photo/Evan Walsh)

Cagan, who came into the game on a two-game shutout streak, turned away 15 total shots.

“She is doing absolutely amazing. She has far exceeded our wildest expectations. That girl – she is the first one on the ice and the last one off. She has been working so hard for this team. The team is so unified, and they’re right behind her,” Beauchemin said. 

Algonquin was first on the board, scoring less than two minutes into third-period action. After the Nauset goalie allowed a rebound, Algonquin’s Brooke “Alex” Cutler fought for the puck, grabbing it from behind the net and flinging it forward toward a teammate. The puck was deflected off a defender’s skate and slid past the goalie, putting the Titans ahead 1-0.

Nauset converted on another breakaway opportunity to briefly knot the game at 1-1

Although the game was touch-and-go for a short period, Beauchemin said that she knew her close-knit Titans team would pull through. Even in the game’s toughest moments, Algonquin’s bench was loud, enthusiastically cheering on teammates. 

“The chemistry is amazing and they want to play for each other,” Beauchemin said.

Algonquin will now face No. 1 Duxbury in the MIAA Division 2 semifinal. Duxbury defeated No. 9 Milton, 2-1, just before Algonquin took the ice. 

The match – which will feature the last two Division 2 champions, with Algonquin and Duxbury winning the tournament in 2022 and 2023, respectively – is set to be played at Framingham’s Loring Ice Arena on Saturday at 5 p.m. 

The Community Advocate will have complete coverage of that matchup and the rest of Algonquin’s playoff run.

Algonquin girls hockey advances to semifinals after overtime thriller
Algonquin’s Bryn Domolky fights to grab the puck. (Photo/Evan Walsh)

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