Needham, Mass. – The Large School semifinal between the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds was hosted before a packed house at the St. Sebastian’s School on Saturday afternoon. Thayer came away with a thrilling 4-2 victory and will move on to play No. 5 seeded Brunswick for the Large School championship on Sunday.
The pace was fast from the drop of the puck and each team created some changes off zone entries. St. Sebastian’s struck first after a defensive zone turnover by Thayer. Connor Joyce (Dedham, MA) took a feed in the slot, spun around and snapped it past Gavin Fitzpatrick (Norwood, MA). The lead was short lived, as Christian Hayes (Milton, MA) took a centering feed off a zone entry from Evan Googins (Braintree, MA) and chipped the puck in to end the first in a 1-1 tie.
The second period featured some good chances by both teams. However, Fitzpatrick and Drew Commesso (Norwell, MA/Boston University) were up to the task. With two and a half minutes remaining, Thayer broke the deadlock as Googins banged in a rebound off a shot from the point to give Thayer a 2-1 lead into the second break.
The third period was more open, as St. Sebastian’s pressed. They evened the score seven minutes into the frame as Liam Gorman (Arlington, MA) drove the net wide and beat a defender with a nice back toe drag. He then centered the puck to Wyatt Schlaht (Wellesley, MA), who found the back of the net. The tie game would last approximately 27 seconds as Thayer came right back down the ice and Sasha Teleguine (North Attleboro, MA) buried a shot from the slot. St. Sebastian’s pressed hard to even the score and had several good chances in the closing minutes. However, it was Jay O’Brien (Hingham, MA – Providence College) that iced the game with an empty netter with just over 10 seconds left.
Aidan McDonough (Milton, MA/Northeastern) and Tristan Amonte (Norwell, MA) created some good chances throughout the game. They move the puck well on the power play and are always a threat to score. The second unit of Hayes, Googins and Reilly Moran (Hingham, MA) also contributed in a big way to the win. Moran and Hayes are relentless in puck pursuit and are quick through the neutral zone and on zone entries. Googins was arguably the best player on the ice on the day and uses his vision and quick hands to facilitate the offense. On the back end, Jason Dobay (Weymouth, MA/Umass) logs high-pressure minutes. The senior is counted on to play in all situations, and while he has always been a threat offensively, his play in his own zone has improved significantly this year.
For St. Sebastian’s, Liam Connors (Westborough, MA/Boston University) was effective all night. The forward is smaller but moves well and creates offense each time out on the ice. He had a few shifts where he wheeled the offensive zone and found open teammates to create positive scoring chances. Schlaht was also solid for the home team. He has slowed his game down and is more under control. He gets up and down the wing well for a bigger body and uses his strength to win battles in the offensive zone. Defensively, James Davenport (Natick, MA) was the standout. He was solid in his own end but also created offensively. He uses his long reach to protect the puck from opposing players and has good offensive instincts. Blake Colman (Needham, MA) also had a good night. He is at his best when he keeps the game simple and plays physical.
Three Stars of the Game:
First Star: Evan Googins, Thayer (1-1-2)
Second Star: Gavin Fitzpatrick, Thayer (W)
Third Star: Sasha Teleguine, Thayer (1-0-1 GWG)