Northeast girls’ defense lifts squad to thrilling Bay State medal win
MARLBOROUGH — With two minutes left in the second period of Sunday’s gold medal girls’ hockey game at New England Sports Center, Northeast held a 1-0 lead, with two players in the penalty box.
At that point goalie Kassie Abbott stepped forward to make six clutch saves, three of which came without a stick, with the Medford teen sprawling and kicking away shots while on her stomach.
Her stellar play between the pipes, as well as a tenacious effort from the Northeast defense, paved the way for a 2-1 victory over Southeast/Coastal for the gold medal at the Bay State Summer Games competition.
“We thought that if we could get in there and establish a bit of a forecheck, it would be beneficial to us, and it was,” said coach Anthony Martucci, who coached the Winthrop/Lynn girls’ hockey team this past winter.
“When you put a team like this together, you really don’t know how you want to put them together, because we have a number of girls on each team who are quality players and are good on special teams. But it all worked out for us.”
Northeast netted its first goal at 1:40 of the second period while skating on a 4-on-3 power play. Kara Donati of Saugus flew down the right side of the ice with the puck, and as soon as she entered the defensive zone, she wristed a shot that deflected off the blocker of goalie Bethany Welch and trickled into the net.
Northeast doubled the margin to 2-0 at 5:02 of the third, when Woburn’s Ashley Moran pounced on a rebound and fired a shot over the shoulder of goalie Molly Potts.
Just over four minutes later, Southeast/Coastal put a goal on the board, but the rally ended there.
Winning the gold “means so much,” said Abbott, who suited up for the varsity girls’ team at Medford High as a freshman and sophomore, but is now home-schooled and plays year-round with the Boston Shamrocks.
“I’ve played with a lot of these girls for most of my life and to win it with them is special.”
Aside from Abbott’s dominance and the sturdy work on the blue line, the Northeast squad bonded with a number of familiar faces. The first line featured a foursome of St. Mary’s of Lynn teammates, wingers Ali Butler and Gabby Crungnale flanking Brittani Lanzilli, along with Tatiana Doucette on defense, paired with Samantha Giordano of Stoneham. The second group: Ashley Moran
The Northeast scholastics boys’ hockey squad also captured gold on Sunday.
Tied with Metro, 4-4, at the end of regulation, Northeast pulled out a 5-4 shootout win on a goal by Acton-Boxborough’s Aaron Witty, the fourth shooter. Derek DeCastro (Burlington) stopped all four Metro shots in the shootout.
The Northeast baseball team finished its gold medal run with a 4-0-1 record and a 4-3 win over the Central, thanks to solid run support from Newburyport’s Colton Fontaine and stellar pitching by North Reading’s Ryan McAuliffe.
The Northeast softball team earned the gold as well, with a 5-2 victory over the Coastal squad, with Terri Ferranzani (North Reading) belting a two-run homer for the 5-0 squad.
In girls’ lacrosse, Northeast defeated the West squad, 13-11, for the title.
At Veterans Field Complex in Waltham, the Northeast/Metro girls’ field hockey team picked up the golf after a 2-0 defeat of Southeast.
Andover’s Sophie Draper scored in the 63d minute of the girls’ soccer gold medal game for a 1-0 win over West.
“This was an incredibly competitive and well-contested week of events,” said Bay State Games coordinator Craig Kaufman.
“The Northeast did very well and came out on top in some very close gold medal games. The quality of play from every region in these games has been outstanding, and I don’t think that we could have asked for a better tournament in terms of the way each of the regions represented themselves,’’ he said. “They should all be very proud of their performances and the excitement.”
Ryan MacInnis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.