Beverly scored 114 goals this season and ran up against an Austin Prep team that allowed only 24. The Cougars filled the passing lanes, forcing pucks high and wide and deflecting them with good positioning. They were especially mindful of Woods (70 points) and Nearis (61 points).
“We knew Beverly had one really good line and it was a big challenge. We kept them in front of us,” said Austin Prep coach Stephanie Wood.
The Cougars went ahead with 3:53 left in the second when Emily Burke and Maddy Ricci worked to free a puck that Beverly goalie Madison Jalbert was trying to cover in the crease. It found its way to Gabby Floramo, who had an open net at the other side.
“We wanted to crash the net and get the bodies in front, and that paid off,” said Wood.
Caroline Benson made it 2-0 minutes later when she capitalized on a turnover in the defensive zone by the Panthers. Trailing by two against a team as strong defensively as Austin Prep felt like trailing by 10.
“We knew that first goal would be a big one,” said Seabury.
Beverly graduates five seniors from a team that set a program record for wins with 18: Woods, Nicole Kamens, Rachel Trocchi, Rachel Ingraham and Karissa Zakas.
“I only had them for two of their fours years and I feel like I got the short end. They’re irreplacable,” Seabury said of the senior class.
Jalbert made 18 saves for Beverly, with her best work coming on AP’s counter attack in the second. She made a sliding stop on Olivia Finocchiaro in that period and also made three strong saves during a first period Cougar power play.
A few times in the third, Beverly was able to carry the puck to the front of the net but couldn’t get off clean shots due to the play of the Austin Prep defense.