BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. – During the last several seasons, Framingham goaltender Al Lynch has been among the state’s very best. But, at times, Lynch and his Flyers teammates have struggled to find consistency.
“We’re always shifting back and forth and we were hoping to hit our stride at the end of the year,” Lynch said. “We started off good. We knew we had the talent and we had some really nice wins, but we had some really bad losses. It’s just that when we don’t show up, it shows.”
And so, Lynch and Framingham’s seniors faced down what potentially could have been their final period of high school hockey. Tied, 2-2, against reigning Division 1 South champion Marshfield, Lynch knew they needed to come up with something special.
“We’ve been looking for this win, nothing was going to stop us tonight.”
Lynch continually slammed the door shut, making 42 saves. Meanwhile, junior forward Ryder Lessing chipped in a 2-goal game as the Flyers skated away with a 5-2 win over the Rams in Wednesday’s Division 1 South first-round game at Gallo Arena.
“Here we are against the defending Division 1 South champions and we’re tied 2-2 going on the third period,” Framingham head coach Paul Spear said. “[Lynch] made some absolutely amazing saves against some really talented and skilled players. He’s proven time and again he’s one of the best goaltenders in the state and he stole this one tonight.”
The Rams (15-8-0) got on the board first on Hunter McCauley’s one-timer set up on a pass across the top of the crease from Nevin Connors at 9:24 of the first.
Framingham (12-10-1) countered on the power play at 12:09, when Lessing played the puck between the pads of Rams netminder Connor Lemieux from below the goal line.
The Flyers claimed the lead before the period was out as defenseman Tim Tierney’s point shot through a screen, with Lemieux unable to see the rising half-slap.
Marshfield swung momentum in the second, outshooting the Flyers, 12-5, while tallying the lone goal of the period. Senior forward David Cataldo evened the score going bar-down with a power-play goal with less than a minute remaining in the second, beating Lynch to the high glove side.
“I thought we were focused and ready to get right back on the ice,” Rams head coach Dan Connolly said of his team’s effort in the second. “But credit to Lynch, the kid played phenomenal in net. They played hard, Paul [Spear] ran a great system, Lynch was amazing and they capitalized on their chances.”
Framingham regained the lead for good on Christian Seariac’s wrister from the slot with 7:24 remaining.
Lessing added an insurance goal with his second of the game – also on the power play – at 11:28.
Cory Gorovitz added an empty-net goal with less than a minute to play.
The Flyers advance to play No. 5 seed Franklin in the sectional quarterfinals on Saturday (time TBD), after the Panthers routed Weymouth, 7-2, on Wednesday.
Falmouth 2, Walpole 1 (2 OT)
A pair of freshmen led the way as the Clippers (13-8-2) walked away with a 2-1 victory in double overtime.
Patrick Coyne scored the game-winner on the power play, following a Rebels’ too-many-men penalty with 2:32 to play in the second overtime. It was Coyne’s second point of the game (1 G, 1 A).
Freshman defenseman Cam Tobey opened scoring for the No. 8 seed Clippers in the first period. Walpole (12-9-2) tied the game in the second period on a goal from junior defenseman Kevin Ivatts.
Falmouth advances to play Braintree, which returns to the South sectional tournament as the No. 1 seed, following the Wamps Super 8 play-in game loss, in a quarterfinal Saturday at Gallo.