Bourne, MA – What a day of hockey it was today at Gallo Arena. The three South Division Finals all happened under one roof: in Division 2, Canton took down Bishop Feehan 4-1, in Division 3, Hanover defeated Dartmouth 2-0 and the final game of the day featured the D1 teams: Walpole and Archbishop Williams. Before we get to the recap; the Walpole and Archbishop Williams fan sections were the two best we’ve seen out of Gallo during these playoffs. Walpole packed it in, with an entire side of the rink clad with red, white and blue for their USA theme and Archbishop Williams brought a massive sea full of red. To top it off, midway through the game, Moses arrived: ready to part the red sea of supporters. It was an unreal environment to be a part of.
The first period of play was pretty even. There was not a lot of action to speak of as both teams were getting the puck deep and trying to go to work, but each squad would break it out quickly and transition the other way. There was not a lot of sustained zone time in the first 7-8 minutes of the frame. AWHS started to make a push in the Walpole end, but were shut down by the Walpole junior netminder Jack Curran. Walpole later gained some momentum on a man advantage. They scored a power-play goal off the stick of senior defenseman Liam Fisher. It was a perfectly placed shot with a lot of traffic in front of the Bishops’ goaltender who could not see it. The helpers on the goal would go to freshman Joe Cox and senior Tom Fruici with 53 seconds left in the period. The first would end with Walpole leading 1-0.
The second period began with a push from Archbishop Williams with a sense of urgency to tie the game. Play would transition back and forth for a time after. Walpole had a couple of nice chances for an insurance goal off the rush but the Bishops would not give an inch. Another big push by Archbishop Williams would conclude the period but Curran and the Walpole defense denied the Bishops on every opportunity. The second period would end with the same score: 1-0 Walpole.
The final frame began with a push from Archbishop Williams on the man advantage but they could not capitalize on the opportunity. They were hungry for a goal and continued the pursuit for the equalizer throughout the third. The Bishops almost beat Curran on a great low shot from junior forward Conor Kelly but ultimately it rang the post. Walpole’s team defense assisted Curran to preserve the lead. You have to give huge credit to Walpole’s star netminder for absolutely shutting the door in the final two frames and making some huge saves to maintain the lead. Walpole’s early tally would hold up and it would be enough for them to advance to the TD Garden a week from today: where they await the winner of the D2 North final between Triton vs Lincoln-Sudbury.
- G Jack Curran, Walpole
- D Liam Fisher, Walpole
- F James O’Toole, Archbishop Williams
TTPA F John Riley, Archbishop Williams