RAYNHAM, Mass. -- If the Joseph Quinn Tournament is any indication, the Division 2 state tournament is going to be exciting. All four games at the Raynham Ice Plex were played with playoff-like intensity, with very few penalties, and each was decided by a single goal.
With 7:22 remaining in the championship game and the score tied 1-1, Boston Latin senior forward Joe Gillespie turned with the puck against the near boards. Heeding his coach’s advice, Gillespie flipped the puck towards the net where it ricocheted off the stick of a Coyle-Cassidy defenseman, past goalie Brent Petrowski, and into the far post.
In tight games, sometimes it is the bad bounce that decides the outcome. In the tournament final, the Wolfpack was the beneficiary of a fortunate bounce and turned it into the trophy-winning goal in a 2-1 victory.
It may not have been the prettiest of goals, but following the trophy presentation Boston Latin head coach Frank Woods was not complaining.
“We have a lot of kids that work hard and we preach throw the puck at the net because you never know what can happen,” he explained. “It’s just kind of our game. You give yourself a chance to bang an ugly one or two in, in games like this with competitive teams it’s usually the difference.”
When asked about how unlucky the final goal was, Coyle head coach Dave Borges simply smiled and shrugged.
“Like we told our guys, come next week those are the kind of pucks that go in the net,” Borges said. “You have to get pucks to the net in tight games and you never know what can happen. That’s a perfect example. Unfortunately, we’re on the short end, but I thought it was a great game.”
The Wolfpack (11-6-3) made a conscious effort to get the puck to the net as frequently as possible. Boston Latin dominated the first period, outshooting Coyle ,14-5, and opened the scoring with just 15.9 seconds remaining. Senior captain Ryan Dougherty made a great move through the Coyle defense and punched the puck in on the second attempt.
In the second period, the hosts asserted themselves. Coyle (13-5-1) outshot Latin 10-6 in the period and had a number of scoring chances before finally finding the equalizing goal. Nick Cambria laid the perfect pass in the path of captain Ryan Jones. The forward outskated the defenseman to the net and finished with a backhand over the pads of goalie Michael Murray before following the puck into the back of the net.
Borges praised Petrowski for keeping the team in the game and giving them the chance to turn the game around.
“I told Brent before the game that it’s their style,” Borges said. “They like to throw the puck at the net and he did a great job of either holding them or kicking the rebounds out to the corners.”
He added with a chuckle, “It was a great game…other than losing.”
Boston Latin won both games in Raynham by 2-1 scores (the first was on Tuesday against Franklin) and Woods feels that this will give his team plenty of confidence ahead of the state tournament.
“we have a group of seniors that have had a lot of success with this team, been in tournament games and won the league, but it’s good to get wins with this particular group,” Woods said.
CANTON 3, FRANKLIN 2
The consolation game featured Hockomock League division champions No. 24 Canton and Franklin meeting for the third time this season. The teams had split the opening two games so, in addition to finishing third in the tournament, the game would give one team the edge in the season series.
After losing third period leads in each of its last two games (including Tuesday’s overtime loss to Coyle), Canton (15-3-2) held off a late Franklin (13-7-2) flurry to win 3-2 and clinch the top seed in the upcoming Division 2 South sectional.
Bulldogs head coach Brian Shuman understood the importance of his team managing to hold on and get the victory over its league rival.
“In the third period against a good team, you need a lot of things to go right,” he remarked. “You’ve got to give credit to Franklin, they’re a phenomenal team, two very even teams and we just scored one more goal than them tonight.”
Canton stormed out of the gates and jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first period.
Just 2:50 into the game, senior captain Pat Ward scored his third goal of the tournament as Franklin goalie Devon Maloof was caught too deep on his line and the puck squeezed across the line at the near post. The first goal was fortunate, but the second was a great shot from J.C. Marcone just underneath the crossbar.
At this point, it seemed like Canton would cruise to victory, but Franklin showed the heart of a team that has been to consecutive state finals.
The Panthers got on the board on a redirected shot by sophomore Alec Borkowski, who got his stick to a shot by defenseman Kyle Filbert and sent it through Rich Nee’s five-hole. A minute later, captain Mike Patjane pounced on a rebound to make it 2-2 and give the Panthers momentum.
The momentum was short-lived as Canton fully controlled the second period, outshooting Franklin, 14-1. After Maloof robbed Brian Brooks, the Bulldogs got the go ahead goal from junior Ben Lodge, who found space in the slot and fired into the top corner.
Franklin head coach Chris Spillane emphasized the need for his team to play a full 45 minutes if they hope to be successful in the state tournament.
“It’s sort of been the season for us,” Spillane said. “We haven’t played three periods. We always take a period off and tonight it was the second. We had one shot on goal and the puck was in our zone the entire time and it takes a lot of gas out of you.”
Canton withstood a strong third period from the Panthers and Shuman was pleased to see that other players besides his top two scorers (Brooks and Ward) got on the scoreboard.
He said, “We had our second power play out there, which doesn’t get much run because our first line is pretty talented. They just kept it simple. We always say to win this time of year, you need twenty-four guys. You need those second and third liners contributing and we got it tonight.”