Two weeks have passed since Ashley Wojewodzic scored the goal that shook up the Massachusetts girls high school hockey scene and ended undefeated, top-ranked Woburn’s season.
Wojewodzic, a 14-year-old eighth grader for St. Mary’s, came off the bench to score the winning goal in a thrilling 4-3 shootout victory over Woburn in the Division 1 state semifinals at Chelmsford Forum.
One week later the St. Mary’s hockey team followed the course of the U.S. Olympic hockey team after Mike Eruzione’s winning goal in the 1980 Olympic semifinals in Lake Placid – it went out and won the final (gold medal) game, forever cementing Ashley Wojewodzic’s place in the St. Mary’s record books.
Wojewodzic recalled the moments before she became an instant legend.
“I was sitting at the end of the bench nearest to where the two goaltenders were for the shootout,” recalled Wojo. “Coach [Frank Pagliuca] came over and picked me as the tenth shooter.”
Wojewodzic was ready when she got the call.
“I skated down to the goalie and I was going to fake left and then fake right and then shoot to the left. But I faked to the left and went to the right and shot five-hole on my backhand. The puck went between her pads. Everyone just started celebrating.”
Just like Jim Craig finding his father in the crowd after Team U.S.A. won the gold medal, Wojewodzic said she saw her mother (Debbie) cheering in the audience at the arena. Her father, Henry, a Lynn Police officer, was also present at the game.
Wojewodzic may not have realized the significance of the goal in the big picture at that moment, but with a state title now achieved, she now better understands the magnitude of her goal.
“I was really happy [after I scored] and when I look back now, I just smile at it because I was so surprised that it actually happened,” said Wojo. “After we won the state championship game, people were coming up to me and saying, ‘we won this game because you won the [Woburn] game for us.’ But it wasn’t like that. I was the one who scored the goal but everyone played the entire game and it was my teammates who got me in a position to be in the shootout. I give all the credit to the whole team.”
Wojewodzic said there was an emotional moment after the game.
“After the game Coach [Frank Pagliuca] looked at me and said, I’m really proud of you.”’
Pagliuca said he admired Wodewodzic’s focus and confidence in such a key situation.
“To go out on the ice and execute like that says a lot about her,” said Pagliuca. “She has a very bright future. I think she’s really going to elevate her game. For her to score that goal – that was outstanding for us. Ashley has very good offensive skills and we practice the shootout. She really came through when we really needed her to. I think the goal is something she’s going to remember for a long, long time.”
Wojewodzic began her career in the Lynn Youth Hockey in-house program and later in the Marblehead Youth Hockey girls’ program before moving to a select hockey team in the sixth grade. She suited up for eight varsity games for St. Mary’s last season.
Wojewodzic said she’ll miss the five seniors on the St. Mary’s team who are graduating.
“I used to watch Alison [Butler] play hockey before I came to St. Mary’s and I’ve always wanted to be like her,” said Wojewodzic. “Playing last year on her team, I thought she was the coolest person ever.”
Who would have predicted back then Wojewodzic and Butler would score the two biggest goals of the 2012-13 season on back-to-back Sundays in the semifinals and finals of the State Tournament?