Photo: Belmont’s Bridget Gray makes the save early in the first period.
An anticipated barnburner between a pair of red hot teams never materialized as stone cold defense stole the show between Arlington and host Belmont as the Middlesex Liberty rivals skated to a joint shutout, 0-0, at the Skip Wednesday, Jan. 15.
The tie hampers both squads attempts to stay close to league leader Woburn (7-1-1) which beat Belmont, 5-2, but lost to Arlington, 5-1.
In a game which Arlington (5-1-2) held the upper hand for most of the 45 minutes, the highlights came from the top defensive pairings from both teams while each goaltender did what was required to come off the ice with a clean sheet.
The SpyPonders first D-line of junior Shea O’Day and first year Cailyn Murphy were especially solid tracking down Belmont’s top scorers – senior Katie Goden, junior Emma O’Donovan and first year Lilly Duffy – and limiting the offense to single shots on goal. Belmont’s seniors Meaghan Noone and Jenna Crowley produced more of an attacking punch for the Marauders (7-1-2).
The SpyPonders had the advantage of goal scoring chances including a pair of near breakaways (from first year players Molly Conneely and Madeline Krepelka) in the first six minutes of the game. But each one was stifled by Belmont’s goalie Bridget Gray, the first year standout in the league who earned her sixth overall and third consecutive shut out to lower her goal-against average to an eye popping 0.85.
Offensively, Arlington was happy to keep the puck on the boards before breaking out as it relied on its physical playing style. Belmont leaned on its quickness to attack on the counter and pounce on the odd SpyPonder miscue.
While Arlington’s sophomore tender Elise Rodd was troubled by a handful of shots – Belmont’s best chance came from senior Kara Rowan from the slot that flew by the left post in the second period – Gray faced 35 in which several required a quick glove hand including several sprawling pad saves early and late in the third.
Belmont welcomes Watertown on Saturday, Jan. 18 at 1 p.m.