FRANKLIN, Mass. – Whenever Medfield and Medway share the same sheet of ice, the intensity follows.
In front of a raucous crowd at Pirelli Veterans Rink on Thursday, the Warriors and Mustangs again turned in a riveting 45 minutes of play. But in a 2-2 tie full of gasps, near-misses and spellbinding play, nothing compared to its final 10 seconds.
With Medfield (11-2-2, 8-1-1 Tri-Valley League) humming in the Mustangs’ zone, the Warriors had the advantage of a delayed penalty coming against Medway (10-3-2, 8-2-2). The Warriors’ bench gave the signal to goaltender Dan Graham to leave the net with possession in Medway’s end.
However, as Graham reached the bench, an intended pass from one of Medfield’s forwards broke through center ice and back toward the Warriors’ vacated net.
Medfield defenseman Matt Crowell chased in vain as the puck continued on between the faceoff dots.
“He’s one of our fastest skaters trying to catch it and it was just moving way too fast … That’s the kind of stuff that will kill you,” Medfield head coach Toby Carlow said.
As improbable as the scenario leading up to it, the only fitting conclusion for the two evenly-matched teams is where the loose puck ended up – bouncing harmlessly off the left side post.
Crowell, in hot pursuit, then cleanly played the puck off the goal line.
Time expired. All remained even.
“When I saw it hit the post, I actually laughed,” Mustangs head coach Chris Ross said. “I’ve personally never seen that happen as a coach.”
For the Warriors, who dropped their lone league game to Medway (a 3-2 loss on Jan. 11), the draw enables them to win the league title outright with a victory against Hopkinton on Saturday.
League title implications aside, Medway hit its stride first, claiming a 1-0 lead at 3:33 on Josh O’Toole’s goal assisted by Cam Fisher and Mike Boldy.
The Warriors tied the score before intermission, with Matt Dressens’ seventh goal of the year. Ben Ruzzo and John MacLean contributed assists.
Ruzzo picked up his second point of the game, knocking home a rebound for the go-ahead goal at 7:05 of the second period.
“They made adjustments to our breakout, they figured some stuff out when they made changes and it bottled us up some for sure,” Carlow said. “We fully expected that, if we expected any other kind of game today, you haven’t seen us play each other.”
The Warriors took a one-goal lead to the room between periods, but just 47 seconds into the third the Mustangs found the equalizer on a booming slap shot by senior defenseman Andrew Karlin from the right point.