BOURNE – There is a thorn still stuck in the side of the Longmeadow High School girls’ ice hockey team. Her name is Kelly Golini.
Methuen-Tewksbury junior forward Kelly Golini recorded a hat trick and the fourth-seeded Red Rangers eliminated Longmeadow for the second straight year, defeating the No. 12 Lancers, 3-2, in a West Division 2 quarterfinal game Saturday at Gallo Arena in Bourne.
Last year, Golini had a hand in all six Methuen-Tewksbury’s goals (3 goals, 3 assists) in a tourney win over Longmeadow.
“We had heart and desire and fire,” said Longmeadow coach Dave Pelletier, a Westfield native. “We set plays played to perfection. The puck just did not go in.”
Longmeadow found the back of the net early as both teams came out firing.
Longmeadow nearly cracked the goose eggs on the scoreboard in the opening minutes with a couple of nice stick moves by Katelyn Joyal. Joyal deked two defensemen and fired a shot at Methuen-Tewksbury freshman goalie Kaia Hollingsworth, who corralled it for the first save of the game.
Golini countered a short time later for Methuen, powering home a goal three minutes, three seconds in.
Longmeadow answered back in quick fashion.
Karalyn Jones took a pass from Joyal, and skated around two defenders to hammer home a game-tying goal midway through the opening period. It was Joyal’s 100th career point.
Longmeadow built on that momentum, seizing a 2-1 lead when Brigitte Goeler-Slough deked three defensemen and scored with 2:45 remaining in the period. Methuen responded with a goal 13 seconds later on a goal from Golini. Tori Schille and Carolyn Curley assisted.
Early in the second period, Methuen surged ahead on a goal from – none other than – Golini, who took a feed from Kaylen Taddia. Golini would eventually get to celebrate the hat trick, and eventual game-winning goal 26:16 later.
Longmeadow did not go down without a fight.
Hollingsworth had to slide in front of a Longmeadow shot with just under eight minutes remaining in the second period. The Methuen goaltender also pushed away a shot that was dangling out in front of the net with 4:18 left in regulation.
With about 3:30 remaining, Golini broke up a potential game-tying goal. Joyal peppered Hollingsworth with consecutive shots, but the goalie did not budge. On a 6-on-4 power play in the closing seconds, Goeler-Slough had a shot saved.
Hollingsworth finished with 24 saves. Longmeadow sophomore Kayla Brown had 15.
“It’s a game of inches,” coach Pelletier said. “Every year we are better. Maybe next year, we will take this one.”