North Billerica, MA – Tonight in the back half of a playoff doubleheader at the Chelmsford Forum the 16-win Spartans of St. Mary’s Lynn locked horns with the 13-win Rams of Marshfield. Both teams were looking to make the final bracket field of the Super 8 and you saw both teams lay everything on the line which made for a tremendous pace to watch.
In the first period, it was a bit of a sloppy start on both sides. Both teams were gripping the sticks a little too tight: missing passes, overskating the puck and looking for big hits. As the period wore on the Spartans made a series of poor decisions in front of their own net but fortunately, junior goalie Joe Purtell (Beverly, MA) was excellent and saved their bacon. The Rams continued to apply pressure at the net-front but to no avail as Purtell slammed the door repeatedly. Later in the period, the Spartans had a couple of nice chances off the rush and another off a power play, but lightly tested senior goalie Jack Gatie was equal to the task. The score was 0-0 entering the second.
In the middle frame, the action really picked up: just 20 seconds in on the power play, forward Colin Reddy (Lynn, MA) fed charging forward Damon Maribito (Georgetown, MA) up the middle who squeaked one past Gatie to make it 1-0 Spartans. That energized the Spartans who continued to put the pressure on in the first half of the period, buzzing around the zone. Soon after the midway point, Marshfield took control as a net-front scramble led to a puck just trickling over the goal line, knocked in by junior forward Matt Mullaney. Six minutes later on a Marshfield power play, another odd net-front play occurred when Purtell caught a shot from the point with his glove and dropped it to the ice which Kevin Buckley was more than happy to clean up for the goal to make it 2-1 Rams. And then the icing on the cake was a slapper from the right point just before the buzzer sounded by junior defenseman Jonathan Jordan which ignited the bench and sent the jubilant Rams into the room up two by a score of 3-1.
In the final stanza, it was a back and forth swing of momentum changes. It all started when stellar freshman Spartans defender Davis Kinne (Swampscott, MA) took a shot from the faceoff dot which created a pinball rebound in the slot to a wide-open Colin Reddy who finished the play to cut the lead to 3-2. Just two minutes later, Marshfield pushed back when James Kolar broke in alone and tucked a nice backhander past Purtell to restore the two-goal lead at 4-2. Another two minutes elapsed and then St. Mary’s Lynn struck again on the power play where senior forward Nick Napolitano (Revere, MA) slipped a pass across the crease to an open sophomore forward Brady Carpenter (Peabody, MA) who put the Rams’ Gatie in the torture chamber with a nifty stick move finishing with a backhander up high, the score was now 4-3. It turns out that this was as close as the Spartans would get, despite a number of quality chances that were generated over the last five minutes when they really turned up the heat in the offensive zone. Leading Rams scorer Paul Rorke iced this one with 26 seconds to go with an empty netter to seal the deal at 5-3.
- F James Kolar, Marshfield
- F Colin Reddy, St. Mary’s Lynn
- F Max Burum, Marshfield
This game may have started slow, but it was an action-packed set of periods towards the end and the momentum swings were drastic at every turn. This game had a lot of skillful finishes, some big hits and some good defensive stickwork: it was a great Mass HS game. With that said, Marshfield played an honest, disciplined defensive game and they really limited the Spartans chances 5-on-5. It’s worth noting that all three St. Mary’s Lynn goals came on the power play, and while they were really slick finishes, the lack of chances outside of the man advantage proved to be the difference. Marshfield’s ability to get in on the forecheck and to harass Spartans’ attackers on the breakout by using their sticks effectively in the neutral zone allowed them to limit transition rushes and forced the opposition to regroup. Both teams were very physical, in some cases almost looking for SportsCenter-worthy hits before worrying about open patches of ice. Hard not to enjoy this one.
For Marshfield, it’s hard to look past forward Paul Rorke who plays a mature game and is planted to the ice when he skates. He has a hard shot, takes contact well and is confident in his ability. Senior forward James Kolar stepped up big in this game by consistently driving to the net, even with just one hand on his stick to control the puck. Defensively there were a lot of strong performances, including the buzzer-beating slap shot by junior Jonathan Jordan who was both physical and aware all game long. You could also point to junior Charlie Kolar, who was great at snapping off passes up the ice and using his space efficiently in his own zone. Also of note, Jack Gatie was good in this game, and it’s hard to blame him on any of the goals against when most of those chances came at point-blank range with very little time to react.
For St. Mary’s Lynn, it was clear as day that freshman defender Davis Kinne was the best player on the ice. He cut through the Marshfield defense like a knife through butter on a few occasions and was a key cog on the power play that kept the Spartans in the game. He has a bright future ahead, considering that he is a 2003 carving up players three years his senior on this stage. As you might expect, senior captain Colin Reddy was a constant threat with his hustle and toughness while co-captain forward Damon Maribito left everything he had on the ice in this game: quite possibly his best game of the season. Senior forward (and tri-captain) Nick Napolitano was good at the dots and was able to set up nice plays for Maribito while young sophomore Brady Carpenter showed some nice athleticism and stick skill that we hadn’t seen in past viewings during the regular season.