Before Saturday night’s Division 1 state girls’ hockey semifinal, St. Mary’s coach Frank Pagliuca had a plan to motivate his team.
With Ann Marie Manganiello the last player in the shootout during practice, he said, ‘‘If your team loses, you have to do pushups.’’
Manganiello responded with the winning goal in the shootout as the Spartans edged defending champion and rival Hingham, 4-3, at Stoneham Arena.
‘‘It was good to see her get back at me for that,’’ he said.
Saturday's game was as dramatic as the St. Mary's-Hingham game a year ago. With just three seconds left, Hingham's Samantha Ryder tied the game 3-3, leading to a scoreless overtime and the shootout.
The victory avenges last year’s 3-2 state quarterfinal overtime knockout of St. Mary’s by Hingham, which ended the Spartans’ unbeaten streak at 100.
“We’ve played [Hingham] nine times in three years. If that’s not a rivalry, I don’t know what is,’’ said Pagliuca. ‘‘They got us last year we got them this year.’’
Although the Spartans were thrilled to be back at the top, Pagliuca did not want the race for Division 1 to come down to a shootout.
‘‘They should just let us play and get rid of the shootout,’’ he said. Hingham is a class act. They don’t deserve to lose a game like that.’’
The decision came after a second period three-goal surge from Kaleigh Finigan (30 goals), Alison Butler (16 goals) and Brittani Lanzilli (25 goals) in response to Hingham’s junior Jane Freda’s breakaway goal in the first period.
Hingham’s Sarah Schwenzfeier backhanded a power play goal between Spartans Lauren Skinnion’s pads to brings Hingham back to 3-2, setting up Ryder's dramatic tying goal that sent the game into a scoreless overtime.
“They bust their butt all game. It says something when you give up a goal with three seconds left and come back and play good overtime and finish it out in a shootout. I couldn’t be more proud of this group,” said Pagliuca.
St. Mary’s will return to TD Garden on Mar. 18, for the first time since its 2010 state title, against the winner of the Braintree/Arlington Catholic matchup.