Ashburnham, MA – Neutral Zone watched the Elite 8 semi-final game between the #1 seeded Cushing Penguins and the visiting #5 Brunswick Bruins. The game was played in front of a strong crowd. The winner will move on to face Avon Old Farms in the Elite 8 Final at St. Anselm School on Sunday. Brendan Holahan and Cooper Rautenstrauch were in between the pipes for the Bruins and Penguins, respectively.
The home team came out strong and scored in the first minute of play as Landan Resendes beat Holahan.
The remainder of the period was fairly back-and-forth with each team getting some good looks. With 3:50 remaining in the frame, the Bruins would even the score. James Shannon would corral the puck on the half-wall and sauce a pass into the middle of the slot to a streaking Sean Gibbons. Gibbons would receive the puck in stride and in one motion snap it past the Cushing goalie. The score would sit even at 1-1 entering the first intermission.
The second period was much of the same back-and-forth hockey, with each team getting their fair share of chances. The ice started to tilt mid-way through the frame and Cushing applied more pressure. They finally broke the tie with 7 minutes remaining. After regrouping in the neutral zone, Ethan Gardula drove into the offensive zone and slid a pass through a defenders legs to Jack Costanzo who chipped the puck up under the bar. The Penguins thought they increased their lead a few minutes later when AJ Sacco cut in on a breakaway. He slid the puck through the goalie, but the whistle blew before it could trickle across the line. The second would end with the Penguins up 2-1.
The third was tight checking as the Bruins pressed to tie the game. They pulled their goalie with just over 1:30 left. Cushing looked to have iced the game when Ryan Phillbrick scored an empty netter from the neutral zone, however it was determined to be offside. The Penguins were able to regroup and kill off the last remaining seconds to secure the 2-1 victory.
Cushing will play Avon Old Farms for the Elite 8 title tomorrow at St. Anselm’s at 5PM
First: Landan Resendes (Cushing)
Second: Jack Costanzo (Cushing)
Third: Sean Gibbons (Brunswick)
Box Score Soon