WEST GOSHEN — The game may have been played a week later than was originally planned, but that didn’t matter one bit to Bishop Shanahan, who was just happy to be playing in its first championship game in team history.
Along the way, Shanahan had to knock off top teams in Strath Haven and Unionville before even getting to Lansdale Catholic in the championship game — a team in which Shanahan couldn’t beat in the regular season.
But maybe the layoff worked in favor of Shanahan with a little “Luck of the Irish” to give the team in all green what it needed to pull off a 2-1 win to claim the ICSHL Girls Varsity championship title Tuesday night at Ice Line.
“It’s St. Patrick’s Day,” said Shanahan goaltender Sara Petrondi. “Both Catholic schools are competing, we both have green as our home colors — I couldn’t have thought of a better day to have it on. The layover may have been better than I expected.”
Both teams may have green as their color, but only one got to wear the green jerseys, and Shanahan just so happened to be that team.
Even so, the layoff was tough on the girls as they had nothing to do for the week, aside from a practice thrown in on Sunday.
“It made me nervous,” said Shanahan defenseman Casey Rubin. “I just sat there and thought about it. Walking into this ice rink was the most nerve-wracking thing I’ve ever done.”
However, even with the nerves going, she was able to send an e-mail out to her team as a little bit of inspiration the day before the game.
Once which affected the girls and coaches more than she could have imagined.
“I just told them the biggest things is to have faith and put it in the hands of your teammates and let the ice take you,” Casey Rubin said. “They all came up to me in the beginning of the game and said it made them cry. I didn’t think it was anything big.”
Though they were facing an opponent they hadn’t beaten during the regular season, the coaches didn’t want to change anything up from the semifinals a week before.
“We came in with the same gameplan as Unionville,” said Shanahan head coach Thomas Petrondi. “We wanted their No. 11 covered by Susan Roselli and Haley Reid. We didn’t want her to get free and they did that.”
Although Eleanor Donaher — Lansdale Catholic’s No. 11 — did get one past Sara Petrondi, it would be the only goal the Crusaders would get as Petrondi stopped 7-of-8 shots in net.
On the other side, however, goaltender Helen Cooney was just as stringent as Petrondi.
It took until the second period and Shanahan’s 10th shot against her to finally get a goal, courtesy of Mikaila Rubin.
Christine Lampron tacked on one more for good measure in the final eight seconds of the middle frame, which ended up being the game-winning goal.
“I couldn’t believe the passing,” Thomas Petrondi said. “Who taught them that? It wasn’t me. They were outstanding. This goalie (Cooney) had a 0.80 (goals-against) average and we knew we had to move her to score. These girls were on fire. It was amazing. The kids wanted to win.”
Up by just a goal, Shanahan was put through the ringer in the final three minutes of the game as Lansdale Catholic came on with more pressure than they had all game and firing shot after shot at Petrondi.
“It was caught in our zone and hard to get it out,” Mikaila Rubin said. “We kept pushing through. When we got it out and that buzzer hit, I just wanted to jump on Sara because she played a heck of a game.”
Lampron echoed her teammate’s sentiments.
“That was very stressful,” she said. “The team held it together and I’m very proud of them.”
Shanahan held on for the win and became not only the first girls team to win, but the first high school hockey team to win a championship in school history.
“This probably the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me,” Mikaila Rubin said. “We knocked off three of the best teams in the league, so it feels great. I’m honestly speechless. I don’t know what to say.”
Despite being a young team on the ice and a young club — Shanahan has only been in existence for five years — the girls know this is a moment which will live on in Shanahan girls hockey history and something which will bond them all together for a lifetime.
“I’ve been playing five years for this team and I’ve never seen it come together like this,” Sara Petrondi said. “The girls worked so hard. We’re like family. When you’re with a group of girls like this it’s amazing. I call them my sisters. I love them to death.”