Groton, Mass. – It was Senior Day at “The Grant” in Groton as the Lawrence Academy Spartans honored seven senior classmen 30 minutes before puck drop against the St. Mark’s Lions. With the playoffs looming in just a couple of weeks every win is crucial for seeding and positioning. All three periods featured a territorial advantage for LAm and as a resul, they took the win 5-1.
In the first period, LA came out firing and owned the shot advantage. They broke the seal on the scoring 7:10 into the period as sophomore forward Simeon Gluzman (Prague, CZ) converted a wrister through traffic from the top of the circle. St. Mark’s created a couple of nice chances near the net front after that first goal, but the speed and skill of senior forward Neil Shea (Marshfield, MA, Northeastern commit) was too much. At the 11:41 mark he snuck behind the defense, flew across the crease and tucked in a score 5-hole. 2-0 was the score after 1.
“Neil Shea has been with us for two years, obviously he’s a talented, talented hockey player who plays hard. He finished off his senior night with a good night,” Lawrence Academy coach Robbie Barker said.
St. Mark’s came out of the gate in the second period with something to prove and carried the play for early stretches. With just over seven minutes elapsed, LA took two penalties in a one minute span and junior forward Matt Toporowski (Kirkland, QC) made the Spartans pay with a slapper cannon from the right point. Things remained status quo until the very end of the period when St. Mark’s was assessed a minor and sophomore forward Tyler Young (Lancaster, MA) deposited a nice feed by Shea in the slot to make it 3-1.
The gas pedal was pushed to the floor by LA in the third period. Just under five minutes in, UNH commit Connor Sweeney (North Andover, MA) knocked home a nifty pass from Shea and Young to make it 4-1. Just for good measure. Shea added another tally to his ledger with 18 seconds to go on a tic-tac-toe passing play.
“Every game in the next week or so is critical for playoff seeding,” Barker said. “I thought the kids played really well today. They played with some intensity, they played hard, they played physical. They came out and executed. It’s great to see these [seniors] go out with a W.”
Most notable names who didn’t greatly impact the scoresheet were to be St. Mark’s sophomore forward Danny Ciccarello (Kirkland, QC) and LA junior defender and BU commit Braden Doyle (Lynnfield, MA). Ciccarello caused havoc all game delivering big hits and working hard to create chances down low. Doyle was a factor at both ends making a handful of no-look passes and using his vision and poise to regularly find the right check-down option.
Next up for LA is a makeup game at home against St. Paul’s on Monday. St. Mark’s will play on the road at St. George’s on Wednesday in their its road trip of the regular season.
Three Stars of the Game:
1st Star: Neil Shea, Lawrence Academy, F: 2 G, 2 A
2nd Star: Tyler Young, Lawrence Academy, F: G, A
3rd Star: Gunnar Fontaine, Lawrence Academy, F: 2 A