If the regular season is any indication, this year's AIS A Division Tournament could end up being one shootout after another.
With three weeks left in the regular season, ties abound. The three remaining unbeaten A Division teams each have tied the others, the latest a 0-0 tie between No. 5 Bryn Mawr and No. 10 St. Paul's yesterday. Both teams also have tied No. 6 Garrison Forest -- which tied No. 14 McDonogh, 1-1, yesterday.
"I would like to think the level of hockey in the AIS is increasing across the board," said Bryn Mawr coach Jeanette Budzik, whose team also has won four 1-0 games.
"We're becoming a very strong league and it seems to be a uniform thing where all the coaches just want to get kids motivated, want to them to like hockey."
No team appears more motivated than St. Paul's, which finished 3-8-2 last year and now ranks among the A Division's top three teams with a 5-0-2 record. The Gators already have outscored the opposition, 29-4.
"It worried us a little that they had been scoring a lot," said Mawrtians back Rachel Arnot.
But the Mawrtians (6-0-2) responded by shutting out the Gators for the first time this season and limiting them to four shots -- all in the second half.
On the other hand, the Mawrtians managed just six shots despite eight penalty corners to three for St. Paul's.
Bryn Mawr, which scored in the final three minutes to edge Maryvale Monday, threatened twice in the last 3 1/2 minutes yesterday.
On a furious goal rush, Karine Gibbs' shot carried barely wide.
A minute later, Charlotte Graham drilled a perfect crossing pass from the left wing, but no one could deflect it as it sailed through the circle untouched.
Earlier in the half, the Gators had their chances when they surged back into the circle after a broken corner play, but the Mawrtians defense turned away two shots. The Gators also had a handful of breakaways throughout the game they could not finish.
"We couldn't shoot, but our transition was really good," said Gators' forward Libby Hoyle.