This was the Eagles second straight state title.
“It feels amazing [to win again]; I think it feels even better than last year,” said head coach Deneen Stebenne. “These girls worked so hard this year; I’m so proud of them.”
Barrington got the scoring started at 7 minutes and 17 seconds, as junior Julia Harrigan lit the lamp off a pass from sophomore Danielle Makucevich to put the Eagles up 1-0. Barrington scored again with just under four minutes to play, this time by sophomore Meghan Miller, with assists by junior Julia Flaherty and sophomore Leah Holder, to take a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.
The second period would test the Eagles resolve, as a slashing call on junior Olivia Lucas led to a Lions power play goal to cut the lead down to one. The Eagles would go back on the penalty kill with 2:21 to play in the period on a tripping call on Flaherty, but Kraunelis would trap the puck deep in the Lions’ zone to kill valuable seconds.
Meghan Miller then caught Lincoln off guard and put the puck in the net to score a shorthanded goal off an assist from Kraunelis with 1:05 left in the period, giving the Eagles a 3-1 lead heading into the second intermission.
Barrington extended their lead to three goals 2:18 into the final frame with a goal by Flaherty, assisted by Lucas and sophomore Mia Hallgring. Lincoln got the deficit back to two a few minutes later, but the Eagles would not be denied in their quest for a second straight championship.
After the Lions pulled their goalie with a minute and a half remaining, the Eagles defense shut down any threat from Lincoln, and a last minute empty netter pushed the Barrington goal total to five and the Eagles started celebrating on the ice.
“We came into tonight very calm, very relaxed,” said Stebenne. “We knew we didn’t have anything to lose; Lincoln kind of had their backs against the wall, so that [looseness] really helped our play.”
Junior goaltender Sophie Faxon had 29 saves on the evening, as the Eagles were outshot by the Lions 31-29. Faxon started all four games of the Eagles postseason.
The end of the Eagles’ season means the closing of the curtain for seniors Katie Saunders, Jess Doherty, and Rachel Day, who end their high school hockey careers as back-to-back state champions.
“These girls came out for the team their freshman year without much skating experience, but they just kept working and building their skills,” said Stebenne. “Jess was the backbone of the team on and off the ice this year. Katie was brilliant playing on the first line all season. I am so proud and happy for them.”
Kelly Kraunelis and Meghan Miller won co-MVP honors.
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