Lowell, MA-The Top seeded Marlboro Panthers battled the #4 seed Lynnfield Pioneers at the Tsongas Center in a semifinal game to decide who heads to the Boston Garden for the State Final. Senior Phineas Mitchener started in net for the Pioneers and junior Dan Esteves for the Panthers.
The first period was sloppy at first until Lynnfield had an early power play chance. Dan Esteves made three very good glove saves to keep the score at zero. Six minutes in, the Pioneers took a more direct route. Sophomore Jarett Scoppettuolo drove the net and was falling down when he made a cross crease pass to his brother Tyler Scoppettuolo who jammed it home at the net front. Drew Damiani also picked up an assist on the play. The score held as Lynnfield took a 1-0 lead into the locker room.
The early part of the period saw both teams create chances. Mitchener was forced to make some tough stops on a Marlboro power play early on. The Panthers started to carry the play as the period went along. About half way through the period, the Panthers started to really press. With 3:11 left, senior Marcus Chrisafideis went to the net hard and redirected a perfect pass from Jeremy Lacroix to tie the game at 1-1. Mark Evangelous started the play. Then with 1:18 left, Chrisafideis struck again. senior defenseman Collin Tunnera intentionally shot one wide which created some chaos down low. It looked like Evangelous and Lacroix made a quick pass before Chrisafideis had the puck in the slot and buried it to give his team the lead. Shots were 13-8 for Marlboro as they took a 2-1 into the third.
The third started with a bang as Chrisafideis was stopped on a clean breakaway on a nice stop by Mitchener. However, a Panther came soon after, 58 seconds into the frame. Noah Lind gained the Lynnfield zone cleanly and fired a low shot that found the far corner. Sam Miele picked up an apple and it was 3-1 Marlboro with lots of time to play. Lynnfield was not ready to go home just yet as they worked and fought for chances. With 11:47 left, Senior Chase Carney drove the net and popped the puck to the crease. Senior Will Steadman stopped on the net and showed some jam for the finish and cut Marlboro’s lead to 3-2 with 11:47 to go. Lynnfield had a power play with four minutes left and another with under a minute remaining, got their goalie out and could not capitalize. Esteves was sharp in the late part of the game and their Panthers punched their ticket to the Garden and the MIAA D3 Final.
First: Marcus Chrisafideis (Marlboro)
Second: Jeremy Lacroix (Marlboro)
Third: Luc Masse (Marlboro)
Photo Credit: Dan Hickling/Hickling Images