WOBURN — They came to earn a spot in the Division 1 state semifinals. The respect the Beverly girls hockey team earned by sticking with defending state champion Arlington Catholic last night is a consolation prize, as the Panthers saw the best season in the program’s brief history end with a 4-0 loss in the Division 1 quarters at O’Brien Rink.
The Cougars (16-4-2) were too deep, too fast and too disciplined in the defensive zone. They limited Beverly to 13 shots as the Panthers were shutout for just the second time all season.
“The loss doesn’t define us, and getting to this stage will make our program better. We’ll grow,” said Panthers coach Brian Seabury. “I can’t tell you how proud I am of the girls as a whole, to win the league championship and win 17 games, we’re going in the right direction.”
Beverly (17-3-2) came in as the No. 2 seed, but had something to prove against the defending champs and a team from the vaunted Catholic Central League. The Black-and-Orange equated themselves well in the opening period, but fell behind when Jackie Sindoris buried a rebound at 8:06.
The backbreaker came in the second, when Jessica Piracini got behind the Beverly defense and scored on a breakaway to make it 2-0.
“That second goal is always important. When you’re down 1-0, you’re usually feeling like you have some life, and when you go down 2-0, there tends to be a let down,” said AC coach Maggie Taverna, whose team faces Westford Academy in the semis on Sunday.
That let down hit Beverly throughout the second, a period in which they were outshot 10-1. The Cougars cashed in on their third power play chance of the frame when Duggan Delano lifted a rebound over the outstretched glove of Panther goalie Ami Thompson.