After scoring what appeared to be yet another heart-crushing goal in her career against Belmont Monday afternoon, Watertown senior forward Erika Kelly began shimmying her shoulders as she skated by her friends at Watertown's Ryan Skating Rink, a gesture that confirmed the belief that Watertown would once again beat their arch rivals.
What Kelly and her Watertown teammates were not counting on was Belmont senior center Caroline McCarthy performing her own bit of magic by producing a hat trick out of thin air.
Capping a wild third period comeback, McCarthy scored her final of three consecutive goals with 14 seconds remaining and securing a 3-3 tie against one of only three teams that have defeated Belmont this season.
This is the second time in three games that Belmont has scored with seconds left on the clock to earn a tie. On Wednesday, Feb. 15, junior wing Alexandra Cellucci scored with 11 seconds remaining to secure a 3-3 tie with top-ranked Woburn.
After a scoreless first period where Belmont was attempting to wear down the undermanned Raiders with quick player exchanges and pressure on their forwards, the Raiders scored on the power play, just after Belmont killed a two-man advantage when Haley Gorman snuck the puck by Belmont's goalie Megan Foley after only a minute in the period.
Despite having a clear advantage in play, Belmont could not find their scoring touch as Cellucci and Erin O'Donovan shot pucks into Watertown goalie Anna Kleis' body making for easy saves.
Watertown doubled their lead on a freak play as Gorman's innocent looking dump in from center ice took a strange final bounce and knuckled by Foley with five minutes left in the second.
A minute later, it was Kelly's turn. A nemesis of all Belmont teams she has played against in her high school career, Kelly seems to score big goals against Marauder teams in field hockey, ice hockey and softball. And Monday, Kelly – who earlier in the period hit the crossbar with a rocket-of-a-shot from beyond the right circle – skating in on a two-on-one break lifted a backhand by Foley's glove for a three-goal lead.
But Belmont would strike quickly in the third as McCarthy took a pass from O'Donovan and pocketed her first goal in close after only 18 seconds.
Belmont's defense also stiffened lead by Britta Martin and youngster Kendal Brown. McCarthy got her second after playing catch with Suzanne Noone before rounding the net and scoring from out front with three minutes remaining.
The final 180 seconds was played with abandoned by both teams with Belmont pulling Foley for the extra attacker with a minute left. The plan nearly backfired as Gorman missed the open net with 40 seconds left which allowed Cellucci to carry the puck into the Watertown zone where McCarthy's wrist shot eluded Kleis.
The tie gives the Marauders a 14-4-2 season record and likely two home playoff games in the Division 2 state championships.