Lawrence Academy, Brunswick and Kimball Union Win NEPSAC Titles

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Sunday’s competition featured three one-goal games, two overtime matches and a couple of high-scoring affairs. Lawrence Academy took home the first championship of the day, becoming Large School champions with a 5-4 overtime win. The second game also went into overtime, where Brunswick defeated Thayer 4-3. The final match, an Elite Eight contest between Salisbury and Kimball Union, ended with a 3-2 Wildcats win en route to back-to-back Kimball Union championships.

Small School: New Hampton vs. Lawrence Academy

Lawrence Academy struck first, gaining a 1-0 lead nearly eight minutes into the first frame off a Murphy Gielow shot. New Hampton’s Michael Kane scored at the 9:11 mark, but Lawrence Academy retook the lead 11 seconds later thanks to Tyler Young. They held the 2-1 advantage heading into first intermission.

Lawrence Academy controlled possession to start the second. The Huskies didn’t take their first shot of the period until 1:02 in, but Lyden Breen’s attempt was enough to tie it. Gunnar Fontaine struck for Lawrence to regain the lead 3-2, but Breen netted his second of the frame to tie it with 2:56 left in the second.

In the third, Lawrence Academy mimicked the Huskies when Connor Sweeney struck 1:02 into the period to go back ahead. But following the theme of the game, Zak Lanoue tied it for the Huskies just six minutes later. The closing minutes of the period featured back-and-forth action. Despite several quality scoring chances, neither team put the puck in the back of the net.

The teams entered overtime tied 4-4, and the extra frame featured more fast-paced play, until Fontaine sent Lawrence Academy home as champions with the overtime tally with nine minutes left.

Ian Graiff made 31 stops in the win, while Matt Sayles made 22 saves in the loss.

Large School: Brunswick vs. Thayer

The first period began scoreless, but the offenses started rolling halfway through the frame. Christian Lesuer struck first to give Brunswick the lead, but NZ Prep Player of the Year Jay O’Brien, who led the league in scoring, tied the game two minutes later. Just another two minutes later, Tom Richter gave Brunswick back the lead.

The teams entered the second with Brunswick ahead 2-1. Nick Boardman scored midway through the frame to give Brunswick a two-goal cushion, which they carried into the third.

With just six minutes remaining in regulation, it looked as if Brunswick would earn the win. But Thayer’s offense put together a last-minute push, and O’Brien notched his second of the game with 5:48 left. Then with Thayer on the power play, Aidan McDonough scored with 2:48 remaining to tie the game.

Neither team scored in the third, sending the game into overtime. With 11:20 left in the extra frame, Brunswick’s Jack Forrest potted the golden goal.

For the win, Dan Dachille made 27 stops while Gavin Fitzpatrick stopped 26 for Thayer.

Elite Eight: Kimball Union vs. Salisbury

Salisbury took the lead when Alex DiPaolo rifled a shot top shelf off a nifty backhand pass from Arsenii Smekhov. The Wildcats struck less than a minute later, when Drew Bennett tipped the puck in the net. The teams entered intermission tied 1-1.

Late in the second period, Andranik Armstrong tipped a shot to give the Wildcats a 2-1 lead. Kimball Union took the one-goal margin into the break.

In the third period, Armstrong stuck again to give the Wildcats a two-goal lead. Both teams had chances, and Salisbury began pressing late in the game. With three minutes left they converted one of their chances to cut the deficit to one goal.

The Knights managed some more chances, but the Wildcats and Sean Dynan kept Salisbury out of the net for the win.


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