By Chris Villani
Milford senior Aislinn Bennett’s overtime goal helped the Shrewsbury ice-hockey program to new heights, sending the team to the final four for the first time.
Bennett found the back of the net to lift the Colonials over a highly-ranked Hingham team, the eighth consecutive victory for the team.
“Aislinn took the puck at the point and she absolutely unleashed a bomb,” Shrewsbury head coach Frank Panarelli said. “It was something we had worked on in practice. I was proud of the girls, we practiced getting traffic in front of the net and screening the goaltender.”
Shrewsbury’s season came to an end in the state semifinal, a close 2-1 loss against Arlington. Panarelli said it was a great season.
He added, “it was an emotional win for the girls against an extremely talented Hingham team.”
Bennett was one of two Milford High athletes on the Shrewsbury roster this year, joining sophomore defenseman Jessie Kenney. A blue liner and alternate captain, Panarelli said Bennett came on strong during the second half of the season.
“She emerged as a player and as a leader,” he said. “She was second on the team on points, which is impressive for a defenseman. In the run to the playoffs we had won five in a row and she had a lot to do with those wins.”
Shrewsbury went into the tournament ranked sixth in the state. Bennett is one of five seniors on the roster this year and will be continuing her hockey career at Salem State next season. Four out of the five seniors are planning to play college hockey, Panarelli said, the most he has ever had go on to the next level out of a single class.
The depth and talent contributed to an outstanding 2021-2022 campaign.
“It didn’t end the way we wanted to, but this is the furthest this program has ever gone,” he said. “We have gone to the quarterfinals five times, this was a big accomplishment for the girls. We’d have liked to have won our last game, but it was a great year.”
The Colonials hockey team is headed to the final four.