Stoneham, MA – MassNZ was in the building for an Elite 8 matchup between two Cape Ann League rivals: the Pioneers of Lynnfield and the Vikings of Triton. The Pioneers enter at 18-1-1 while the Vikings come in at 11-7-2. This promised to be an emotional tilt packed with physicality and quickness – just like the previous two games of the year. The Pioneers won both games: 3-1 in December and 4-2 in January. Would March be any different? We would find out in 45 minutes…
In the opening period, Lynnfield created the first chance off the opening faceoff and then the possession belonged mostly to Triton. The Vikings were aggressive and played with active sticks, clogging up Lynnfield’s lanes up the ice. Seven minutes into the proceedings they would break the ice as an initial shot by sophomore Alex Pasquini found its way over to senior Andrew Johnson who buried it from the left dot: 1-0 Triton. Lynnfield would make a heavy push back and generate a power play with hard work deep in the attacking zone. It looked as though they had scored a goal on the man advantage and a loose goal peg was the culprit as the referee quickly waved off the score. Just a couple minutes after killing the penalty, Triton has another glorious chance: instead of taking a power play called on Lynnfield, they rolled the dice and went for a penalty shot but Lynnfield goalie Dan McSweeney kept it out of the net. We would wrap up the period with the score still 1-0.
There was plenty of physicality in the middle frame, and neither team got many clean looks. Both defenses were contesting shots and getting into shooting lanes. Triton started the period off strong with their forecheck to create chances but Lynnfield turned the tables with their stretch passes. Both teams had sustained zone time but could not put one past either goalie. We would go to the room still with the score 1-0 Triton. Could Lynnfield tie it up in the third? We would soon find out…
In the final frame, this game took off with a flurry of goal-scoring as both teams looked to deliver the knockout blow. The opening salvo came from Triton as freshman defenseman Michael Taylor won a race to a puck in the attacking zone and snapped a wrist shot home to make it 2-0 Vikings, 2:22 in. On the next shift, 30 seconds later, they would add another to take a commanding 3-0 lead as two sophomore forwards collaborated: Josh Hersey setting up Luke Sullivan for the score. Things were not going Lynnfield’s way and the coaching staff called a smart timeout to allow the players to regroup and work to chip away at the lead, which is exactly what they did three minutes later. They stepped up their pace and played hard on the puck in the attacking zone, which drew a penalty. On the ensuing power play, a netfront scrum ensued and junior Jarrett Scoppettuolo took the first whack at the puck and the rebound popped out to junior Joe Raffa at the left post to cut the lead to 3-1, giving the Pioneers some life. Just a few seconds later, a shot from the slot by Scoppettuolo looked like it might have gone in top shelf, but it was quickly waved off by the officials. No matter though, as the Pioneers would cut the game to a one-goal lead when sophomore forward Jack Carpenter caught a pass coming off the wing and buried it 5 hole to make it 3-2. The momentum was shifting over to the Pioneers’ bench but that’s where Triton went to work. They pushed back hard and kept the puck pinned deep in the attacking zone. Two minutes later, they had an answer as big senior forward Tyler Egan made a couple nifty moves around defenders and threw one on net that was tapped home by fellow senior Callan Wardwell: 4-2. That put a damper on Lynnfield’s comeback efforts and they put an additional stamp on this game as once again Hersey found Sullivan, this time on the back door to make it 5-2, which would be our final score. Triton advances to face Nashoba Regional in the Final 4 (game date and time TBD) and one more win will send them to the TD Garden.
- F Luke Sullivan, Triton
- F Josh Hersey, Triton
- F Jarrett Scoppettuolo, Lynnfield