CHELMSFORD, Mass. -- It was déjà vu all over again for the Wakefield Warriors, who escaped Wednesday’s Div. 1 North semi-final clash by defeating Chelmsford, 2-1, in a shootout.
With the win, Wakefield once again earned themselves a spot in the sectional final, as the Warriors repeated their performance from a year ago. Wakefield also went to a shootout with Billerica in last year's semifinal.
“Down two periods all night, but we’ve been there before,” Wakefield head coach Derek Edgerly said. “We’ve been down a couple games this year, [but] we just comeback fighting hard, and that’s all it takes.”
“It’s called composure, positivity, keep your positive up all night and these kids just played excellent,” Edgerly added. “What a great game.”
Chelmsford notched the first goal early in the opening period when senior David DeDonato beat Wakefield senior goaltender Joe Cerulo (31 saves) before the Warriors answered in the third period with junior Daniel Cardillo, riffling the puck into the back of Lions' net, forcing overtime.
In the extra session, both teams chased the puck up and down the ice, but no resolution was found.
DeDonato eventually registered his team’s first strike in the shootout.
Wakefield answered on their third attempt when senior Kevin Doherty beat Chelmsford’s junior netminder Derek Noble, tying the shootout, 1-1. The Warriors then answered on their ensuing attempt when junior Alec Brown scored the clincher before Cerulo denied sophomore Jesse Lye.
“We go over shootouts every night in practice for 15 minutes because when it comes down to this end in a tournament, you’ve got to do your shootout," Edgerly said. "And one thing about these games, it’s usually a blowout or it’s an overtime win or shootout, there’s nothing in between."
“We had a great year,” Chelmsford head coach Mike McGrath said. “I would have to say if there was a word I’d use for these kids, it’s adversity because we had kids out with mono, we had a lot of things where we were missing kids, and we battled through it, and peaked at the right time, and had a nice little run.”
BURLINGTON 5, ACTON-BOXBOROUGH 1
After a sluggish two periods, the Red Devils offense exploded by tallying four goals in the final 15 minutes, which lifted Burlington past the Colonials, 5-1.
Senior Trevor Cimino registered his team’s second goal 22 seconds into the final period before senior Brian Hood, junior Joe Berardi (1 G, 1 A) and sophomore Joe Scali (2 G) struck.
“[Dan McMahon] made a good play, dumping it into the zone and I just had a breakaway, put it home,” Cimino said. “We got that first goal in the third period, [and] I think they kind of shut down because they didn’t know what to do anymore.”
“It took us two periods to figure it out,” Burlington head coach Bob Conceison said. “They played Monday night, [and] I felt like we could wear them down in the third period, and I think that showed in the third period."
Burlington earned a one-goal advantage when Berardi connected with Scali late in the first period before Acton-Boxborough evened the score at 1-1 when senior T.J. Barrett wrapped around the cage and squeaked the puck past junior netminder Derek DeCastro for the score.
“I think he was disappointed in the goal that [he] let in," Conceison said of DeCastro. "It was kind of a funny late period goal that might have been in the nearside, but he made a big save on a break away at 3-1, it was a huge save for us. And Derek’s that type of goalie, he comes up big in those situations when we needed and that was a big step, and we needed that, we really needed that."
A-B had chances to earn a lead, but solid defense and goaltending by Burlington helped them escape with a victory, and set up an exciting Division 1 North final against Wakefield, Monday at Tsongas.
“It will be fun,” Conceison said. “I don’t know [if our] crowd can outdo their crowd.”