LOWELL, Mass. -- It took a lot of extra effort for the Burlington High School hockey team to defeat Winchester, 2-1, in Monday night's Division I North championship game.
The teams were tied at the end of regulation, and remained tied after a 12-minute overtime. Burlington didn't prevail until it won the shootout, 3-1.
The Burlington fans began to celebrate after Joey Scali, Burlington's fourth shooter, beat sophomore goaltender James Offner (36 saves) to give the Red Devils a two-goal edge in the shootout. Burlington goalie Derek DeCastro made 27 saves before stopping three of the four shots he faced in the shootout.
Burlington coach Bob Conceison said his team wasn't lacking confidence entering the shootout.
“I think that confidence comes from having Derek back there,” Conceison said. “That definitely gave us a lot of confidence in the shootout.
“Derek is just a rock back there. In the shootout I knew he was going to stop most of them because he's so good at that. He's so poised.”
DeCastro, a senior, has surrendered one goal in the last eight periods. Nolan Redler was the only player who beat DeCastro in the shootout.
Joe Berardi and Adam Crowley also scored shootout goals for fifth-seeded Burlington, which improved its record to 13-6-5. Second-seeded Winchester finished with a 16-6-3 record.
“It was a very good high school hockey game,” Winchester coach Matt Spang said. “I don't think either team has anything left.”
Spang spent most of his postgame meeting with the media praising Offner's performance.
“He was the best player on the ice,” Spang said. “I can't say enough about what that kid did tonight. That was just absolutely phenomenal goaltending. He's going to be a special, special hockey player.
“I have 22 heartbroken kids and they left it all on the ice.”
Burlington will play either Marshfield (19-6-0) or Hingham (16-7-2) for the Division I state championship March 17 at TD Garden. Fifth-seeded Marshfield and second-seeded Hingham will meet Tuesday night to determine the Division I South champion.
It was the second meeting between the teams this season. Burlington beat Winchester, 3-0, during the regular season.
Berardi and Redler scored during regulation, when Burlington had a 27-21 edge in shots on goal. Both goals came in the third period.
It was the second Division I North title in as many years for Burlington, which beat Milton to win last year's Division I championship.
It was scoreless until Berardi scored on a backhanded shot from low in the left faceoff circle at 2:43 of the third period. Redler made it a 1-1 contest when he beat DeCastro with a wrist shot from high in the slot at 6:38.
“It's nice to get back to the Garden,” Conceison said. “It's so hard to get there, but to get there again … I can't even describe what it's like. And a lot of people didn't think these kids could do it, but they have a lot of heart and they showed a lot of heart tonight.”