SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

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March 6, 2014

Beverly girls hockey falls in quarters

STONEHAM — There’s a phrase in hockey about breaking the dam. The idea is that if a team scores one goal it’ll lead to more, like the first drop of water getting through a dam leads to gushes.

Last night, the dam in front of the Austin Prep goal might as well have been sealed with military grade epoxy.

Beverly tried everything it could think of to get a goal in the Division 1 state quarterfinals, but the Cougars and goaltender Caty Flagg had the answer at every turn of a 3-0 Austin Prep victory at Stoneham Arena.

In the third period alone, the Panthers (18-3-2) attempted 28 shots. AP blocked four of them, another nine went wide and Flagg (30 saves) handled the rest.

“It was one of those nights where you’re trying and trying and it doesn’t go. We pressed and pressed and we never got that one goal,” said Beverly coach Brian Seabury.

The Cougars (15-5-3), who advance to Sunday’s state semifinals against Arlington Catholic, led 2-0 going into the third thanks to a pair of second period goals.

Beverly came out for the final 15:00 applying all kinds of pressure. It’s tough to say which chance had the best odd of going in: Julia Nearis had two in the final period, the first falling off her stick on the backhand and the second saved at the post by Flagg. Captain Nicole Woods had a blast from the slot saved by Flagg, and linemate Anna O’Neill had the rebound hop over her stick. Even third liner Karen Hovey had a blast from the slot sail wide.

With about 10:30 to go, Kristen McCarthy had a clean breakaway. She deked to her right, and the shot went wide.

“I thought maybe the breakaway would be the one that got us over the top,” said Seabury. “We told the girls keep going for that goal, and the second one will be right behind it. We just never got that first goal.”

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