BRUNSWICK FORWARD Beth Labbe, center, cuts between St. Dom’s defenders Isabel Frenette (left) and Katya Dons during a girls North regional semifinal at Norway Savings Banks Arena in Auburn on Tuesday. Labbe scored a goal, but the fifth-seeded Dragons fell to the No. 1 Saints, 6-2.

BRUNSWICK FORWARD Beth Labbe, center, cuts between St. Dom’s defenders Isabel Frenette (left) and Katya Dons during a girls North regional semifinal at Norway Savings Banks Arena in Auburn on Tuesday. Labbe scored a goal, but the fifth-seeded Dragons fell to the No. 1 Saints, 6-2.

AUBURN

The first two periods went about as well as anyone on the Brunswick High School girls hockey team could have hoped.

MIKAELA ASCHBRENNER of the Brunswick High School girls hockey team closes in on Dasha Fons of St. Dominic Academy during a North regional semifinal game at Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn on Tuesday. The Dragons took the unbeaten Saints into the third period before three late goals led to a 6-2 final score.

MIKAELA ASCHBRENNER of the Brunswick High School girls hockey team closes in on Dasha Fons of St. Dominic Academy during a North regional semifinal game at Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn on Tuesday. The Dragons took the unbeaten Saints into the third period before three late goals led to a 6-2 final score.

On the whole, Tuesday’s North regional semifinal game belonged to unbeaten St. Dominic Academy. The hosts peppered Brunswick goalie Marilyn Daniel with 34 shots in the first two frames and held the puck for almost the entirety of both.

Yet, the scoreboard didn’t show it.

Admirable, puck-deflecting defense and a pair of counter goals had the Dragons dead even with the defending state champions heading into the final frame, and it wasn’t until then that the potent Saints attack prevailed. Three late goals broke things open and led to a somewhat misleading 6-2 final scoreline.

“First of all, you had outstanding play by Marilyn (Daniel) in net,” Brunswick coach Dave Boucher said. “She was making all the first saves and then we had our defense tying people up and clearing rebounds. Our forwards blocked probably a dozen shots in all. We tried to bunch up the low slot and force shots from the outside and it worked well for two periods.”

Tied 2-2 at the start of the third, St. Dom’s (19-0) applied the pressure early and made it clear one final push was coming. Daniel saved an early breakaway chance and then took a sigh of relief as a Saints’ goal was called off just over four minutes in.

It wasn’t until 6:40 into the frame that Kristina Cornelio rifled in her third goal of the night and put Brunswick (8- 11) behind.

“A skater and a shooter,” it was often Cornelio firing one of a whopping 59 shots on goal for St. Dom’s.

“I was going into this game knowing it was going to be a tough one,” Daniel said. “It’s very stressful but it’s a lot of fun. Like when you make a save, it’s just so exciting. It feels good.”

Daniel blocked 53 shots on the night and narrowly scooped up multiple loose pucks in front of the net.

Defenseman Emma Theriault made it 4-2 a mere six seconds into a power play at 9:34, and Cornelio, before tacking on a sixth with 21 seconds left in the game, followed with her fourth score of the night nine seconds later to seal the deal.

The Dragons’ defense did all it could.

“There was a lot of stuff happening,” senior captain Anna Webster said. “Today, we all just kind of got in the zone and did what we needed to do to keep everyone out in the slot and stop all those rebounds. Marilyn (Daniel) was on fire tonight, so that really helped and then everyone being really good about clearing out rebounds. It was just our night tonight.”

On the counter

St. Dom’s skated right at Daniel and tested her eight seconds into the first period, and when Cornelio wristed a backhand high into the net at 1:36, it looked like a long night was forming.

The senior netminder settled in and made save after save as Webster and her teammates cleared the puck away. Eventually, one of the pucks found its way up to sophomore winger Beth Labbe, who darted the other way and poked it past Payton Winslow to even the score at 7:30.

Just before the break at the end of the second period, Jenna Brooks chased after a puck on the left, gathered and sharply turned toward goal to beat Winslow again and make it 2-2. Both goals were purely opportunistic and came on Brunswick’s first and second shots of the period.

“We’ve just got to look for an odd-man break,” Boucher said. “Because they play very aggressive, their defense. That’s how they keep the puck in and get so many shots. We’re just trying to wait for our opportunity to get that 2-on-1 or partial breakaway.”

Ultimately, the Dragons didn’t have nearly enough of the puck, let alone any more counter-attack opportunities. St. Dom’s possessed for huge chunks of each period, even during Brunswick’s lone power-play chance. When a puck was frantically cleared out of the zone, there was almost always a black and white shirted skater right there to retrieve it and start the movement again.

“They just know how to skate and they really know how to deke,” Daniel said of St. Dom’s. “They know some pretty good plays. I feel like the training that I’ve had, mainly from (Jenna) Brooks and working with these girls in practice, I’ve had a lot of opportunities to study the play and know how everything goes.”

“They’ve got a lot of skaters that have played the game a lot longer than most of our players,” Boucher added. “It’s puck control, it’s skating with the puck.”

Still, Tuesday was a long way better than the two regular season meetings that both ended with 11-1 scores in favor of St. Dom’s, and for seniors like Webster and Daniel, it was a heck of a fight to go out on.

“They made us proud, made Brunswick proud,” Boucher said. “We went up against an undefeated team up until the third period, as well as the defending state champs. I’ve watched a lot of girls games the last 10 years and that’s by far the most talented team I’ve seen on ice.”

“This game went so well,” Webster said. “I think it really showed the effort we’ve put in this season. When I was a freshman, it was one win, two wins a season and now we’re up to second round of playoffs. It’s really reflective of all the effort we’ve put in and everyone showing up and being there.”

No. 1 St. Dom’s 6, No. 5 Brunswick 2

North regional semifinal At Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn

Brunswick 1 1 0 2
St. Dom’s 1 1 4 6

First period — 1. (SD) Kristina Cornelio (Callie Samson), 1:36; 2. (B) Beth Labbe, 7:30. Penalty—(SD) Bugsy Hammerton, interference, 9:38. Second period — 3. (SD) Kristina Cornelio, :18; 4. (B) Jenna Brooks (Beth Labbe), 14:27. Penalties — (SD) Bugsy Hammerton, body-check, 6:28; (B) Beth Labbe, embellishment, 6:28; (B) Jenna Brooks, hooking, 12:12. Third period — 5. (SD) Kristina Cornelio (Bugsy Hammerton, Isabel Frenette), 6:40; 6. (SD) Emma Theriault, 9:34; 7. (SD) Kristina Cornelio (Bugsy Hammerton), 9:43; 8. (SD) Kristina Cornelio (Bugsy Hammerton), 14:39. Penalty — (B) Colleen McKearney, hooking, 9:28. Shots on goal — (B) 2-1-2-5; (SD) 18-16-25-59. Saves — (B) Marilyn Daniel 53; (SD) Payton Winslow 3. Power-play opportunities — (B) 0-for-1; (SD) 1-for-2. Note— Brunswick’s season is completed.


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