Arlington onslaught helps girls get by Belmont, 2-0

Arlington senior defenseman Shea O’Day got used to helping Belmont phenom goalie Bridget Gray shut down opposing offenses as club teammates on the East Coast Wizards last year, but as Middlesex League foes Monday night, she was the one finding the back of the net against the sophomore in a defensive battle.

Despite a charged effort in which Gray racked up 44 saves for Belmont, the Spy Ponders used second-half goals from O’Day and fellow senior Olivia DeMarco as part of a relentless attack en route to a 2-0 win on senior night. Arlington (8-0-2) controlled the puck most of the way with a 46-9 shot lead, taking advantage of a Marauders (3-4-3) team that lost key forward Emma O’Donovan early in the season.

Elise Rodd earned the shutout with nine saves, helping Arlington head into the Middlesex League tournament unbeaten.

“It was a lot of fun,” O’Day said. “The goalie, she’s a friend of mine from club. She’s a really phenomenal goalie, so it was fun to have a little edge on her.”

Defense from both groups did a great job breaking up opportunities throughout a scoreless first half. While Belmont mustered just three shots in that time, the defense shut down numerous scoring chances. Whatever it didn’t break up, Gray made sure to clean up with a save.

A power play just 10 seconds into the second half left Belmont exposed, though, and Arlington capitalized on an O’Day wrist shot near the blue line for a 1-0 lead. The Spy Ponders gave Gray trouble again two minutes later as DeMarco buried a rebound off senior Ava Talanian’s shot in front of the net.

With such a disparity in possession, that’s all Arlington needed to secure the win.

“Today was a hot, fun game, (Belmont) competes hard and their goaltender is real good,” said Spy Ponders head coach Jeff Mead. “But I thought we battled hard, got a lot of shots on net and eventually found a way to get through. … They made it difficult for us, so credit to them, and hopefully we don’t play them again because sooner or later (Gray) is going to get a shutout.”

The win marked the regular season finale for Arlington, with both teams entering the league tournament on Wednesday. Grateful was the postgame attitude from both Mead and O’Day for making it through the season without issues. They’re just excited to get more games in, knowing that’s what’s important in a year they had a good chance to win the state title.

If things line up right, one of those games might give Gray and the rest of the Marauders a shot to get the last laugh with O’Day. Sure enough, it’ll likely be another defensive battle.

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