Belmont, MA-#3 Belmont Hill hosted # 5 Salisbury School for the Elite 8 Championship on Sunday. Game time was 5:00 and the rink at Belmont Hill was almost full at 4:00. Needless to say, there was a lot of excitement in the air. Salisbury won the last NE Prep Championship in 2020 and Belmont Hill has not won since 1990.
Salisbury came out firing right away. Senior Oliver Frontini pumped a puck by goalie sophomore goalie Sam Scopa from a sharp angle off a slick pass by senior, Syracuse Lacrosse commit Trey Deere just 2:03 into the game. The fifth seeded Knights we’re up 1-0. Just 1:40 later, Salisbury struck again as Brown commit Ryan Walsh went up top with a quick shot. Senior and late 2004 Lee Parks cycled, delayed and set up the play. Belmont Hill and the packed crowd looked dazed and it was very quiet in the rink. They would rebound with a rebound goal by junior 2005 Brock Cummings who popped home a loose puck in front. Senior, Dartmouth Lacrosse commit Tom Goguen created the rebound and senior Jack Bosco made a slick fake and pass to set Goguen up for the shot. The game was 2-1 with 13:00 left in the second. Both teams had chances and Salisbury’s Austin McNicholas made several quality stops. Belmont Hill’s star 2006, Teddy Stiga had a quality look just as the period ended but missed just wide. The Knights went into the locker room with the 2-1 lead.
Belmont Hill made a push the first half of the second period. They were able to manage to get some chances but Salisbury and McNicholas slowed and stifled Belmont Hill. With 7:40 left, Lee Parks made a defender miss and quickly passed to a wide open Dylan Hryckowian (Northeastern) who promptly pumped it into the top of the goal. It was 3-1 Salisbury and that’s how the period ended.
To start the third, it felt like Belmont Hill needed a goal in the first five minutes or so. That never came, nor did any goal as Salisbury’s McNicholas was solid in limited action behind a quality defensive group with a well-coached plan. They were highlighted by senior Dane Westen (BCHL), Alex Zakrzewski (Brown), 2005 Ty Creech, junior Sam Hall and strong, clever 2004 Liam Chapman. They held Belmont Hill off the sheet. Deere played a meticulous game at both ends as well. Northeastern Commit Ben Poitras grabbed a loose puck, separated and scored an empty net goal with 1:22 remaining to seal the game. The final was 4-1 as Salisbury as they win back to back Elite 8 Championships and their seventh Elite 8 title overall.
First: Dylan Hryckowian, Salisbury
Second: Lee Parks, Salisbury
Third: Trey Deere, Salisbury
Photo Credit: Dan Hickling/Hickling Images