Forward progress – Iannetti nets hat trick as St. Mary’s advances to Division 1 State final

March 11, 2010
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Fame arrives quickly in the State Tournament.

You do something really special in a big game – like scoring a hat trick – and then you open up your Globe and your Herald the next day and there are your personal quotes and a photo of you celebrating a goal.

Sabrina Iannetti, come on down and enjoy the post-season spotlight because you’ve earned it. The two-time Catholic Central League All-Star and St. Mary’s High School junior scored three goals and had one assist as St. Mary’s defeated Hingham, 4-3, in the Division 1 state semifinals Saturday at Stoneham Arena.

With her team trailing a by a goal and its 75-game unbeaten streak in jeopardy, Iannetti went Great Gretzky-ish and personally carried the Lady Spartans home.

By the time she was done with her spectacular three-goal effort, the Spartans were back in the lead – and its defense helped seal the win and ensure another trip to the TD Garden for a shot at a third consecutive Division 1 state championship.

Head coach Frank Pagliuca, leader of the St. Mary’s girls hockey dynasty, said Iannetti was “the best player on the ice” in the showdown with Hingham.

“Sabrina really elevated her game and stepped up tremendously,” said Pagliuca. “It was nice to see her elevate her game to the level at which she’s capable of playing. ”

The 16-year-old daughter of Stephen and Denise Iannetti of Lynn, Sabrina is in her fifth season in the St. Mary’s hockey program. Pagliuca recalled Iannetti’s days as a seventh grader playing for the St. Mary’s varsity.

“I remember when she was in seventh grade, her hockey jersey went down to her knees and she was out there skating around,” said Pagliuca. “It’s been nice to see her grow as a young lady on and off the ice and develop into an excellent hockey player and great person.”

A speedy, 5-foot-4-inch skater and adept stick handler whose nickname is “Beans,” Sabrina said she wasn’t nervous when her team fell behind Hingham, 3-2.

“We kept our composure. We were just really angry but we kept going and pulled out the victory,” said Sabrina, who skates on a line with Courtney White and Alison Butler.

Iannetti is looking forward to a return trip to the TD Garden. St. Mary’s defeated Woburn, 1-0, in last year’s state final and the Tanners will be the opponent once again. Though she has her sights on playing college hockey one day, Iannetti is thinking only about doing her best to make it a successful farewell for the seniors on the team.

“It’s a good feeling after a long season to be back in the Garden,” said Iannetti. “We want to win it for the seniors. I’ve been on the team since seventh grade so I’ve known some of them like Erin McAndrews and Liz Giacchino for five years.”

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