By Jean DePlacido
---- — Alison Butler has been a scoring machine for the St. Mary’s of Lynn girls hockey team the past four years. But the Danvers native never had a goal as big as the one she scored Sunday morning.
In the final minutes of the Division 1 state championship game against league rival Arlington Catholic at the TD Garden in Boston, the senior captain scored the game-winning goal to deliver a 3-2 victory and state championship to the Spartans.
“It was a 2-on-1 and their defenseman moved over to cover (teammate) Madison Molea, so the far side (of the net) was open,” said Butler, who scored in the middle of a line change. “I shot the puck quickly and it went in.
“It was really crazy after I scored. When I saw the puck go in the net, I was just thinking we have to keep this lead. I didn’t think about that being the winning goal until it was all over.”
There were still close to three minutes remaining after Butler scored, and Arlington Catholic went all out trying to get the equalizer. They pulled goalie Megan Messuri for an extra skater and put a lot of pressure on Spartan junior netminder Lauren Skinnion.
“They hit the post with 14 seconds left,” said Butler, this year’s Catholic Central League MVP. “That was really a close call, and they nearly tied it up another time on a wraparound. But they couldn’t get anything past Lauren.
“We had a 1-0 lead after the first period, but I knew it would be hard to keep them off the board with their talent. Neither team could score until they tied it up four or five minutes into the third period.”
Butler finished her illustrious St. Mary’s career with 199 points, including 61 this season. She has committed to play college hockey for St. Anselm College in New Hampshire beginning next year.
St. Mary’s won its first state championship since 2010 and fifth overall. They finished with a 19-3-4 record while AC was 17-5-2. The two teams split two regular season meetings.
“This was especially sweet because we avenged the loss to them last year in the finals when they took the championship away from us,” said Butler.
“I had hoped to reach 200 points before I left high school ... but I’ll take the championship instead with no regrets.