Arlington High School Girls' Hockey scored with no time in the first period and then relied on their sufficating defense to beat fifth-ranked Belmont, 3-0, Saturday afternoon, Feb. 4, shutting out one of the highest scoring teams in Eastern Massachusetts in their home rink.
Saturday marked the second time the Spy Ponders defeated the Marauders (12-3, 4-2), winning 2-1 earlier in the season, nudging Arlington (7-4-4, 3-2-1) closer into clinching a playoff spot.
While Arlington's offense is at best haphazard working on the notion of doing the most with the chances they have, the heart of the team is based on a superior defense.
And that unit begins with senior goalie Casey Schaejbe who played a solid game in between the pipes especially when facing Belmont's first line of Erin O'Donovan, Alexandra Cellucci and senior captain Caroline McCarthy, one of the top scoring trios in the state.
But it was Arlington's two sets of defenders, first pair Hannah Wright and Taylor Norman and second Katie Taylor and Meredith Gallagher, whose steady and smart play along the boards and on the break out allowed the Spy Ponders to disrupt Belmont's usual dominance in the middle of the ice.
Despite winning the edge of play throughout the first period, Belmont found itself behind with no time left on the clock when Arlington's Sami Barrett slipped by the Belmont defense containment to drive a shot by Belmont's Megan Foley as the buzzer sounded. The refs discussed whether the puck passed the goal line as time expired before pointing to center ice giving Arlington a critical 1-0 lead.
With the advantage in hand, Arlington all but abandoned its offense game in the second period, concentrating on driving Belmont to the boards where two Arlington players would surround the Belmont player to scrap for the puck. Belmont's best chance came with McCarthy's snap shot on the power play that beat Schaejbe and hit the post.
In fact, despite having four consecutive minutes of being a man up including 30 seconds with a two man advantage on three Belmont penalties, Arlington could only muster a single shot on goal as they stayed in their favored defensive posture.
But Arlington took advantage of a scrum in front of Foley to score on their third shot of the period as Kaitlyn Morse beat the Belmont goalie high on the glove side with a minute-and-a-half remaining in the second.
And the Spy Ponders sealed the victory early in the third when Katie Cummings scored after only three minutes in the third. Belmont would have their chances to spoil Schaejbe's shutout but could not force their way by the Arlington tenacious D.
Belmont Boys' finish strong to earn tie
Down 2-0 with five minutes remaining in the third to visiting Arlington, Belmont Boys' Ice Hockey decided that they would no longer be the good hosts. And to the Spy Ponders disappointment, linemates Brian Gramolini and Pat Quinn decided to team up to ruin Arlington's Saturday trip to Belmont.
Quinn scored with 56 seconds remaining off a Gramolini shot, coming four minutes after Quinn assisted on Gramolini's power move by an Arlington defender to beat Arlington's Luke Tremblay who had an outstanding game that forced Belmont to comeback in such a dramatic style.
Arlington took the lead with less than two minutes left in the first when Sean Sullivan redirected a Alec Newell shot from the blue line by Belmont goalie John Egbert. The Spy Ponder doubled their lead when brother combo Dan and Brian Jigungian assisted on Dan Fitzgerald's goal midway through the second.