Division 1 Girls' Hockey State Final | Hingham 3, A-B 1

Hingham’s the one

Linehan shows way past A-B

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By Anthony Gulizia
Globe Correspondent / March 21, 2011

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There’s one cardinal rule when playing against Hingham’s Catherine Linehan — do not give her second chances.

If you do, she’ll take advantage and that’s what she did in the Division 1 girls’ hockey state championship.

The freshman forward slammed home two rebound goals to help Hingham (20-4-2) to a 3-1 victory over Acton-Boxboro (19-5-1) last night at TD Garden.

“I was kind of shocked at my own performance,’’ said Linehan, who scored her eighth and ninth goals of the season. “I just wanted it so bad. I just kept moving my feet because I knew if we tried hard, we’d have this game.’’

The Harbormen, who captured the Division 2 state title in 2008, added to their trophy case with their first Division 1 title.

In the first period, Hingham got on the board when Linehan scored at 11:56.

Sophomore Sarah Schwenzfeier put the initial shot on net, but Linehan controlled the rebound and sent the puck past Cali Loblundo.

Acton-Boxboro had an opportunity to tie the score after Hingham’s Kaitlin Sullivan took a tripping penalty with 2:24 to play. However, the Harbormen successfully killed the penalty.

Hingham stormed the ice to open the second period and scored at 4:05 after sophomore defender Emily Falvey’s slap shot fluttered past Loblundo.

The 12-year old goaltender, who finished with 21 saves, appeared to make the stop, but the puck deflected off her shoulder and bounced in.

The Colonials cut the deficit to one when Annie Nero lit the lamp less than three minutes after Hingham’s score.

“That was huge,’’ A-B coach Brian Fontas said. “When we got the goal, our benches picked right up and we had a good shift after that.’’

But Linehan and the Harbormen were not satisfied with the one-goal lead. With 3:49 remaining in the period, Linehan took a pass from senior defenseman Catherine Chittick, but Loblundo made a stellar save and looked to have the puck in her possession.

But before the play was whistled dead, Linehan aggressively poked at the puck and knocked it home for her second score.

“[Linehan] is so tenacious,’’ Hingham coach Tom Findley said. “The puck just sticks to her stick and she’s starting to understand the game and get some hockey IQ. She’s young, and the sky’s the limit for her.’’

Hingham senior goaltender and coach’s daughter Beth Findley, put together a strong performance, collecting 17 saves. The win was the 82d of Findley’s four-year career.

“If you’ve got a good goalie, you’re going to be in every game,’’ coach Findley said. “She leads by example, and she’s so good to the other kids. I’m so proud of her tonight.’’

Coach Findley attributes the program’s success to a strong youth program, but more importantly the hard work of the athletes.

“Beach time means bench time,’’ he said. “If you got a great tan, your just a fan and these girls know it. When it’s 90 degrees out and you want to head to the beach, shoot 50 pucks.’’