ACTON, Mass. – With a berth in the Division 1 semifinals on the line, No. 4 Acton-Boxborough hosted No. 5 Marshfield in a quarterfinal game that pitted two of the state’s most physical, up-tempo teams against each other.
The Colonials would utilize an aggressive, five goal third quarter to hold off a gritty Marshfield squad and come away with the 10-9 victory.
“That is our M.O.,” Acton-Boxborough head coach Pat Ammendolia said after the game. “We like to attack, attack, attack.”
Despite arriving in Acton slightly behind schedule, due to travel delays, Marshfield jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first 90 seconds of the game. Nolan Ryan and Mike Carbone banged home quick scores to give Marshfield the 2-0 advantage.
A-B (18-4) would settle in midway through the first quarter as their defense buckled down and their offense would score four first half goals as Joe Cormier, Chris Wiggins, Trevor Kononenko and J.T. Kelly added scores to even the game at 4-4 at the half.
“They are a tough, physical team,” Marshfield head coach Jake Jones said. “I thought we did a good job defensively of slowing them down early on.”
In an evenly played, back-and-forth game, the third quarter would prove to be the difference. Cormier did a great job at the faceoff X for A-B ad helped the Colonials control the majority of the possessions in the quarter.
A-B took advantage of the time of possession advantage, stayed aggressive, and went on a 5-2 run in the third, behind three goals in the quarter from A-B attack Thomas Cotter.
“We like to go, go, go and when we are clicking like we were in the third quarter we can score in bunches,” Ammendolia said.
Leading 9-6 heading into to the fourth quarter, Carbone would score the first goal out of the break to cut the A-B lead to 9-7.
A-B’s Hunter Arnold would then answer to extend the lead back to three goals at 10-7. The A-B defense, led by goalie Rick Kronenwett, would remain stout until the final minute of the game when Carbone would put a scare into the Colonial faithful.
Marshfield’s Shawn Daly, who played a great game all evening, would find the diminutive but tough Carbone for two late goals at the 34 and 13 second marks in the fourth to cut the lead to 10-9.
Cormier would secure the ensuing draw for A-B to preserve the one-goal victory.
“That put a scare into us late when they scored those two,” Ammendolia added. “We got the big faceoff at the end, got it behind the net and killed it. It was a good team effort today and we did the little things that were important.”
Marshfield concludes their season with an 18-5 record and showed tremendous heart and fight as they battled the entire game until the final horn sounded.
“I am just real proud to have coached these guys,” Jones said. “Having started with a lot of these guys last year, in my first year as their coach, I have seen the growth of many of them and I am just real proud.”
Marshfield goalie Pat Burchill also played well in net making 15 saves in the game.
An All-DCL Large State Semifinal: A-B advances to the D1 state semifinals for the first time in program history. They will take on a familiar foe in DCL Large rival Lincoln-Sudbury on Saturday. L-S defeated Billerica, 14-1, in quarter-final action in Sudbury on Wednesday.
L-S (17-2) defeated A-B both times they met in regular season play.
“We have a lot of respect for that team and their coach,” Ammendolia said. “We look forward to playing them. L-S is just a real good team and we are just going to go out there and give it our best.”