Groton, MA – Saturday’s Semifinal of the Piatelli/Simmons Tournament at the Grant Rink in at Lawrence Academy saw the home team and #4 seed Lawrence Academy come out on top 4-3 against #8 seed New Hampton after a back and forth three periods of hockey.
The five goal first period kicked off within the first minute as the Spartans 2007 Aiden MacIsaac cycled the puck deep from the blue line off an OZ faceoff. Brendan Hirsch chipped on to Josh Erickson behind the net. Erickson made a quick play back to Hirsch who beat his man to the net and tucked his first of three goals on the night short side, high for the Spartans first lead. However, the Huskies would respond just over a minute later as North Hamptons Scott Lagos fired one from long range which was steered below the goal line. Lagos then hustled to retrieve his own rebound and make a quick pass-through coverage to an open Ben Moalusi in front leaving Spartans goalie Vin Lamberti with little chance. Lawrence would take the lead again at 11:53 when the Spartans forced a neutral zone turnover that Noah Vettese would quickly transition to Erickson who made a smooth backhand pass through an oncoming defender to find Hirsch who wired one top right from his offside for his second. New Hampton continued to apply pressure and that paid off when Christian Day picked up a loose puck on the weak side of the OZ and found a streaking Josh Sacco from the point who one timed a shot on net producing a rebound that would bounce off a Spartan player and land behind Lamberti to tie a 2-2. The Spartans were then unable to convert their only power play of the night however before the Huskies could get their man back in the play Spencer Hirsch made a quick stick play along the right-side half wall to gain possession and find Sam Marchionni on the weak side. Without a stickhandle, Marchionni snapped a shot low blocker beating New Hamptons goalie Nate Zerrenner and giving the Spartans the lead with 2:12 to go in the first. The second ended with a 3-2 Lawrence lead.
The second period started with the Huskies finishing a power play and just as time was expiring it was the Spartans who could not get their man back to help defensively in time. New Hampton’s 2007 Cam Caron snuck a pass into the wheelhouse of Lagos in the bumper spot which he one timed top right to tie it at 3-3 just thirty seconds in to the second frame. Both teams would get their chances in the second for steady stretches with New Hampton’s second power play coming at 15:38 without any conversion as the Spartans held on to keep the game even.
The third carried much of the same intensity and two-way opportunities as the previous periods. Halfway through, the Spartans Owen Leahy created a turnover that Erickson handled across the OZ blue line. Leahy then made a tricky play out of his feet on the return pass from Erickson and was able to get it on net where a driving Hirsch chipped in the rebound with 8:20 remaining for his third and what would be the GWG. Lawrence Academy will face off against #3 seed Frederick Gunn for the Piatelli/Simmons Championship Sunday at 2:30 at St. Anselm College.
First: Brendan Hirsch (Lawrence)
Second: Josh Erickson (Lawrence)
Third: Scott Lagos (New Hampton)
Photo Credit: Dan Hickling/Hickling Images