Hollingsworth, Conway Lead Tewksbury/Methuen Girls Into D2 State Quarterfinals
Mar 02, 2015 04:02PM ● Published by Bill Gilman
Gallery: Red Rangers win [7 Images] Click any image to expand.
And with just cause. The senior forward has re-written the high school hockey record book with 79 goals and 89 points during the regular season.
But lost in Conway's considerable shadow has been the play of goalie Kaia Hollingsworth. Just a 7th grader, most nights facing players four and five years older than she is, Hollingsworth has been immense for the Red Rangers, posting a solid 2.58 GAA in her rookie season.
On Saturday, Hollingsworth brought her "A' game with her, leading No. 4 Tewksbury/Methuen to a 3-1 win over No. 20 Fontbonne Academy in the opening round of the Division 2 State Tournament. The Red Rangers move on to face No. 12 Burlington (16-5-1) in the quarterfinals, Friday at 4:30 p.m. in Chelmsford.
"Kaia was wonderful, she has really been our backbone this year," said T/M Coach Arriana Rigano. "This is just her first year and she has been phenomenal."
Hollingsworth, who finished with 24 saves, and Conway were both at their best in the decisive third period. With under five minutes to play in regulation and the score tied, 1-1, Conway intercepted a cross-ice pass in the neutral zone and broke in alone, beating Fontbonne goalie Samantha Moussalli with a wrist shot to give Tewksbury/Methuen the lead.
The goal came shortly after the Red Rangers (15-3-1) killed off their second 5-on-3 power play of the game.
"I had seem them use that cross ice pass a few times earlier in the game, so i was looking for it," said Conway.
Two minutes later, Fontbonne (11-7-4) had a chance to get the equalizer, as Patrice Guerard broke in clean from the right side. But Hollngsworth was up to the task, stoning Guerard and preserving the lead.
Conway sealed the victory with an empty-net goal with 56 seconds to play. It was her third goal of the game and 82nd of the season.
Tewksbury/Metheun, a team that features just two seniors and 10 players in 7th, 8th or 9th grades, came out a bit timid in the first period. Fontbonne carried the play and grabbed a 1-0 lead on a goal by Katie Nolan from Maggie Landers at 4:33.
Conway said she had the other veterans on the team reminded the youngsters to keep their focus.
"we just tell them to work hard and keep their heads on straight," she said. "You never way to get too cocky but you don't want to get too down."
With the butterflies gone, Tewksbury/Methuen started to play more aggressively in the second period and pressed the attack. The Red Rangers tied the came on Conway's first goal of the night, assisted by Carolyn Curley, just 27 seconds into the period.