Lexington, MA – In a rare morning regular season hockey matchup the Tanners of Woburn traveled west to lock up against the Lexington Minutemen. Early on in the action you could tell that some of the players hadn’t yet had their cup of coffee as there were a few missed passes and overskated chances. It took until there were four minutes remaining for the first tally to be scored. Senior defender Patrick Herbert took a pass at the point from forward Anthony Colombo and Herbert fired it top shelf to give the Tanners a 1-0 lead. We assumed the score would stay that way into the 2nd period but sniper Johnathan Surrette has other plans. With two seconds left on the clock he lined up for a faceoff in the shooter’s position behind the center. Forward Michael Santullo won the draw back to him and he ripped one top shelf just before the buzzer sounded to make it 2-0 Tanners.
Coming out for the second period, the Tanners seized control right off the bat, it was Surrette again who kicked a puck to his stick and broke into the offensive zone, sliding a pass to a wide open captain Will Carpenter who was cutting back door: 3-0 Woburn. At this point the Minutemen decided they had had enough and started to make a push. Just three minutes later, hulky defender Luke Murphy put a shot on net from the point that forward Matt Harding was able to poke home to cut the lead to 3-1. Just two minutes later, more determination in the offensive end paid off as a shot by forward Eric Decoste hit a stick in front and changed direction on its way into the net. We now had a 3-2 game heading into the decisive 3rd period.
In the third, both teams had quality scoring chances but Lexington was harder on the puck and played with more urgency. They spent all period pushing for for the tying goal and finally a few minutes in, a shot by Decoste was deflected in by Harding to knot things up at three. The remainder of the period featured some great goaltending by sophomore Donald McCarthy who was locked in and on top of every shot to keep the score tied through the final buzzer.
After battling back to earn a tie, we caught up postgame with Lexington Coach Curt Colarullo:
We came out and this was a winnable game at home: the kids really wanted it, especially after we went down by three, that was extra motivation. We came back, made a couple good plays to put the puck in the net after that. Plus, (Goalie) Donald (McCarthy) has been there for us all season long, he’s our backbone, he makes the big saves and gives us a chance to win every game.
As we mentioned above, since this was an AM tilt, both teams looked a bit groggy for most of the first period, which really affected the trajectory of this one. Late in the first frame, the Tanners took control offensively, largely based on the work of the team’s top unit: Johnathan Surette, Will Carpenter and Aiden Robinson. It’s worth noting that the Tanners moved a few of their forwards around between the top lines, but those three were the most consistent. It took until the second before the Minutemen really started skating hard and competing for pucks, but they were able to capitalize on a few rebound opportunities near the netfront to climb back into the game.
The story of this game, aside from the exploits of players like Harding (two goals) and Surrette (goal and assist), was young goalie Donald McCarthy. He showed a confident and quick glove hand, good footwork and an ability to track the puck well. His timely saves allowed Lexington to climb back into the game and eventually split the final score.
For Woburn, Surrette was a force, he is a gifted skater with good vision and smarts about how to cut around and through defenses. We also liked the speed and tenacity shown by senior forward and captain Carpenter as well as sophomore forward Aiden Robinson. Both of them showed no fear in their games and got in the kitchen of bigger players to create turnovers. Senior defender and captain Keith Burke logged massive minutes and was snapping off good outlets to start the rush all game long.
For Lexington, junior defenseman Luke Murphy won nearly every puck battle because of his size, strength and ability to lean on his stick. As the game went on the effort and tenacity of Ronan Bryant stuck out as well. He went into the corners with speed and won pucks which started to shift the momentum in his team’s favor. There was also the raw and lean athleticism of forward Joe Hunt who showed a clean skating stride and good length to affect the play when he didn’t have the puck.
1. F Matt Harding, Lexington
2. F Johnathan Surrette, Woburn
3. G Donald McCarthy, Lexington