Saber girls take step one

GOFFSTOWN – It was the Shannon Paquette Puck Show at Saint Anselm College’s Sullivan Arena on Tuesday night.

And as a result, history was made.

The Sabers forward scored four times to give Souhegan its first girls hockey tournament victory ever, 4-1, over St. Thomas-Winnacunnet in the preliminary round.

“It’s amazing,” said Paquette, who scored three of her goals in the third period to break a 1-1 tie. “It’s just a great thing for our team. There’s no words.”

No, just goals. With the Sabers down 1-0 late in the second, she got the equalizer and then just took the game over in the final 15 minutes

“Somebody definitely had to,” Sabers coach Kelli Braley said, her No. 7 team (11-8) now headed to face No. 2 Hanover in Friday’s quarterfinals. “Makayla (goalie Lachance, 12 saves) did a great job making sure we stayed in it.

“And Shannon did what great captains do, put the team on her back and off we went.”

Paquette pounced on a puck at center ice, and before any defender could reach her, fired one that beat St. Thomas-Winnacunnet goalie Shannon Abbey (13 stops) to the far corner to give the Sabers a 2-1 lead just 1:36 into the third.

“She had an open spot, and I was trying to hit right through it,” Paquette said.

“She’s a good player, we knew right from the beginning that we had to be aware of her,” ST-W coach Al Oliveira said, his first year, 10th ranked co-op team done at 6-9.

Paquette wasn’t done, either. From center ice she just slapped at a puck that somehow found its way in the net at 10:46 for the hat trick, calling it “The luckiest goal I’ve ever had.”