D2 North Semifinals: Triton and Lincoln-Sudbury Advance to Finals

Triton Upsets Top-Seeded Masconomet in OT

North Billerica, MA – Once again we find ourselves at Chelmsford Forum and this time two berths in the D2 Finals at Tsongas Arena are on the line. We started it off with the Chieftans of Masconomet against the Vikings of Triton. The fans were late arriving for this one and the opening few minutes were quiet but the volume began to really pick up as we went along in the first. It should also be noted that the front row of the Masco student section went all in: no shirts, torsos painted in red: they came prepared.

From the drop of the puck in the first period, Triton came out playing a heavy game. They delivered a couple of pancake hits along the boards and also bodied the forwards for Masco in open ice. Their gap coverage was airtight and the Chieftains only managed three shots on net. The Vikings did not dust the puck off in their own zone: they moved it aggressively up the ice and kept most of the play in the offensive zone. They finally cashed in 11 minutes into the period when senior captain Tyler Godfrey fired a puck off the right post which led to a scramble at the Masco net and the puck was poked home by fellow senior captain Brad Killion to make it 1-0. That would be our score after 1.

In the second period, Triton once again started strong by using active sticks and tight coverage to hem in Masco. But the Chieftains began to fight fire with fire and played more physical hockey. Slowly but surely they stemmed the tide and started to create more chances and sure enough, they broke through 10 minutes into period two. Senior defender Shawn Callahan dished it to junior attacker Logan Campbell who skated in off the right wing, carrying a defender with him. He then took a shot on net that slipped through the five-hole which tied the score at one. The Masco student crowd erupted and you could tell the team’s swagger was back. The period ended in a 1-1 tie which set up a decisive third period of semifinal action…

The third period was a tug of war between both teams and they each created quality chances in attempts to take the lead. Ultimately neither team wanted to make a mistake and both team defenses showed great sticks and tight shadow coverage. There was consistent physicality and a little bit of extra chirping mixed in too. Despite the good looks, neither team was able to crack the scoreboard and we moved onto 4×4 OT.

In the OT the possession was literally all Triton and two minutes in defenseman Tyler Godfrey crashed the net and junior forward Cael Kohan came flying in to slam home the loose puck which led to the Vikings victory: they move on to the D2 Finals to be played at Tsongas Arena on Monday.

Three Stars:

  1. F Cael Kohan, Triton
  2. D Tyler Godfrey, Triton
  3. F Logan Campbell, Masconomet
    TTPA F Kirby Glynn, Masconomet

NZ Notes:

This game was entertaining from beginning to end and it was a coaching chess match throughout. Both teams have the ability to move the puck but Masco’s offense is predicated on getting into space and flying the zone: for long stretches tonight, that would not fly on Triton’s watch. They were great in the neutral zone and in the defensive zone in shutting down chances. Masco made pushes and had some quality looks in the third period once they got their skating game more involved but they were unable to muster any pressure in OT. Both teams have had great seasons, and this likely isn’t the last time you have heard from these players.

For Masconomet, senior Shawn Callahan makes the team go offensively because he shortens the time it takes to get the puck out of the zone and start the rush. He retrieves it cleanly and is able to swiftly exit the zone with his feet or the pass – he was a big reason why they were a top team all season in D2. Junior forward Peyton DeFeo can really fly and he makes smart cuts to gain inside ice as he attacks the offensive zone. He was great in puck protection tonight as well. Senior Kirby Glynn is a tone setter – he looks to fire up the bench when he gets a lick on somebody and it works up the fan section in the process. He works hard and plays a rough and tumble style of hockey – you need players like him to succeed come playoff time.

For Triton, senior captain Tyler Godfrey was everywhere. He made plays in all three zones: he was in shot lanes and used his stick to defend, he made great keeps on the power play and he drove to the net when he saw a lane. We also liked what we saw from junior Brady Lindholm. He is smooth and slick on the back end and when you give him space he can burn you off the edge. Offensively, James Tatro is a pain to play against. He has quick feet, quick hands and plays with pace on every play. He refuses to give up on the play: he is the Energizer Bunny. We were also intrigued by junior Benjamin Rennick: he is quick and shifty and he made some nice plays on the backcheck using that footspeed.

Lincoln-Sudbury outlasts North Andover in OT

North Billerica, MA – In the second half of our doubleheader we had the Warriors of Lincoln-Sudbury taking on the Knights of North Andover. Once again, this matchup would determine who would go on to face Triton in the D2 Finals at Tsongas Arena. This game was lit early as the kids say because the Lincoln-Sudbury student section was vocal 20 minutes before puck drop. By the end of the first period both teams has massive sections of 150 students apiece. What an atmosphere: possibly the loudest crowds we’ve heard all year. They were even battling each other cheering and jeering the Zamboni driver on each pass – gotta respect the hustle.

The first period featured a few jitters, a lot of hits and plenty of noise. Both teams were skating well but both defenses were good through the neutral zone even though the forwards were in full-on attack mode. Lincoln-Sudbury was strong along the walls and in the corners while North Andover relied on their speed and cunning. Neither approach led to any goals and on we went to period two.

The second period was also evenly matched and both teams once again were clogging lanes and roughing each other up upon zone entry. Retrievals were clean and breakouts were sharp but the Grade A chances were limited to start. Things began to open up on the power play with eight minutes elapsed in the frame. Senior forward William Dale fed defender Jayden Cormier at the right point and he went top shelf to make it 1-0 Warriors. Not to be outdone, North Andover made a push a minute later and came in for a 2-on-1 break. Junior Adam Heinze took the initial shot that produced a rebound and senior TJ Fredo was there to bang it home short side – tie game 1-1. After that, both teams settled into a stern defensive mode and few chances were to be had…the third period would settle the score…

In the third period, there were wild swings of momentum as both teams went for the knockout punch and there was great action at both ends of the rink. It looked as though North Andover had some early momentum towards the middle of the period until a freak play broke Lincoln-Sudbury’s way. The Warriors flipped a puck in the air behind the net and it landed on the back of North Andover goalie Patrick Green at which point William Dale and Angelo Venuto both took whacks at it with Venuto getting the last touch: 2-1 LS. About a minute later, North Andover stormed back with the answer. After drawing a penalty by putting pressure on the LS defense, forward Cole Fagan set up senior defender Keegan Hughes with a nice pass near the right dot and he ripped it along the ice and it beat senior netminder Jack Hankey: tie game at 2-2. The teams traded chances until about three minutes remained and Lincoln-Sudbury had a golden opportunity to win it in regulation as a shot rang off the post and sat dormant 3 inches from the goal line but the goaltender initially wasn’t aware. Luckily, he did find the puck and it was swatted to safety. This would lead to a great finish but no more goals: we would have to settle this in 4×4 OT.

In the OT both teams had great chances to win it thanks to power plays. First up was North Andover who went up 4 on 3 but they were unable to set up the plays they wanted because the LS defense swarmed to the puck so well. About a minute later came a power play for Lincoln-Sudbury and even though the stat line will show that the man advantage went by the boards, it was the ensuing “vulnerable minute” as Jack Edwards would say that lead to the Warriors keeping the pressure on. Defender Tim Duffy fed junior Jacob Noyes in the corner who zipped it to the front of the net where senior captain John Oblak scored the winner: 3-2 was your final and Triton vs Lincoln-Sudbury will be the matchup to see who goes on to play at the Garden.

Three Stars:

  1. F John Oblak, Lincoln-Sudbury
  2. D Tim Duffy, Lincoln-Sudbury
  3. F Cole Fagan, North Andover
    TTPA F TJ Fredo, North Andover

NZ Notes:

If you thought the first game was good, this game might have been even better. The building was electric for this game because the student sections were so raucous. We can’t remember seeing anything that rowdy for the entire balance of the game. Cheering 20 minutes before puck drop, singing during intermissions, chanting Zamboni when the driver went by: these kids brought it tonight and it was a blast to cover. In terms of the game itself, while Lincoln-Sudbury relished the physical play, North Andover hardly shied away from contact themselves. Both teams showed good sticks and they were battling for possession in all three zones: there were few clean carries in this one. It’s tough that one team has to lose this game because both of these teams were worthy of moving to the Finals, but so goes the nature of the playoffs: it comes to an end quickly and the boys are your support system.

For North Andover, we thought junior Cole Fagan was a man on a mission tonight. He was attacking the zone with poise and patience and he knew when to take ice and when to back off and wait for help. He was a matchup problem all night. Junior defender Nick Herald was good here as well – he wasn’t relied on to go coast-to-coast like we saw earlier in the season, but he moved the puck well and maintained discipline in his own zone, a quality outing by him. This was the best game we saw all season by senior TJ Fredo as well. He was active on the backcheck and the forecheck and he played with pace all night. He did a good job of pushing the puck to space and chasing it down as well.

For Lincoln-Sudbury, sophomore Brendan Quinn was a beast all game long. His line was a consistent threat all night because he was so strong on the puck and his reach allowed him to pull the puck to him and keep plays moving in the corners. Senior defender Tim Duffy put everything he had into this game. He was good running the power play from the point but he delivered a couple of big hits that fired up the crowd and kept the team engaged – he is the glue for this team and he leads by example emptying the tank. Senior defender Jayden Cormier was interesting as well: he has good size, fluid movement exiting the defensive zone and good shot torque when he lets it rip. Finally, there is senior forward Jonah Sacher who showed patience on the rush, yet he hustled on every shift and won numerous races. He burned the Knights defense a couple of times off the edge and put quality shots on net that created rebounds: look out for him in the next round.