Woburn, MA – Neutral Zone was on hand virtually today to take in a game that wasn’t originally on the schedule. The Reading Rockets stepped up and took the spot of the Belmont Marauders, who were originally scheduled to play in the Championship, but the game against the Winchester Sachems was canceled due to COVID contract tracing. Fortunately the Rockets stepped in after winning their two playoff matchups leading to a final match between two unbeaten playoff opponents. This was a game that was full of excitement and drama on both ends.
Some could say this had the possibility of a redemption arc for the Rockets, as they were left out of the top eight teams when playoffs began. This motivation helped the Rockets come out firing to start the game. They were able to create a bunch of chances, but could not capitalize early on. Winchester was able to create a lot of chances of their own, but they were stopped dead in their tracks by junior goalie Alec Sullivan. The goaltender made an outstanding save on a cross crease pass in the beginning of the half, stretching from post-to-post to stop an excellent Sachems opportunity. Just over five minutes into the half, Reading opened up the scoring. A 3-on-1 opportunity allowed junior forward Ryan Goodwin to settle the puck for an excellent shooting opportunity, where he capitalized by scoring bar down to give the Rockets an early 1-0 lead. Just over 10 minutes after the first goal, the Rockets got on the board again. Junior forward Jake Donovan found the puck at the top of the Winchester goal crease and knocked in the loose puck to double his team’s advantage. The Rockets would take this lead into half time.
As the second half began, Winchester came out motivated. They were extremely energetic, moving the puck with a purpose and throwing around the body at will. You could tell that they felt as if they had a Championship opportunity taken from them and they wanted redemption. Midway through the half, however, the Rockets seemed to put the Sachems away. This time it was Ryan Goodwin again, scoring in a similar fashion to Donovan, banging home a loose puck on the doorstep amidst a scrum, helping Reading pull away in this one. After the third goal, tempers began to flare as Winchester could not get on the board. Towards the end, many seniors seemed to be letting loose being that it was their final game. Specifically one example was Colin Mulvey doing laps around the Reading zone with the puck trying to find a scoring angle, but was ultimately thwarted. As the final buzzer sounded, the Rockets took home a 3-0 victory in this game that wasn’t on the schedule until the very last minute; for these two teams, an odd end to a very odd season.
- G Alec Sullivan, Reading
- F Ryan Goodwin, Reading
- F Jake Donovan, Reading