ALLSTON, Mass. -- Concord-Carlisle took one step closer to their dream perfect season on Wednesday night as they defeated Wellesley 5-4 in the Eastern Massachusetts Division 2 championship.
No. 2 seed C-C (21-0) used their typical blend of strong defense, timely offense and elite goaltending throughout the game and held off a spirited fourth quarter comeback by the Raiders.
“We just made one more play than them,” Concord-Carlisle head coach Tom Dalicandro said. "It could have gone either way. It was a one goal game and they really pressed us at the end."
Wellesley (19-4) jumped out to an early one goal lead at the 7:46 mark in the first quarter as senior midfielder Oliver Saffery (2 Goals) took a pass from behind the cage and flipped it behind his back to beat Concord-Carlisle All-American goalie Doug Gouchoe.
Wellesley dominated the early possessions in the opening quarter but Gouchoe turned away five big shots in the opening frame that could have extended the lead even further for the Raiders.
Concord-Carlisle took momentum right back from Wellesley at the start of the second quarter as freshman Will Blumenberg (1G, 1 A) won the opening face-off and found defensive midfielder Tyler Koning for the game-tying goal at the 11:49 mark in the second quarter..
Junior attack Charlie Painter would give Concord-Carlisle their first lead of the game with just under a minute remaining in the first half. Painter took a feed from classmate and fellow attack Tim Badgley (1G, 1A) and beat Wellesley goalie Connor Darcey low to give C-C a 2-1 lead at the half.
Darcey also kept the Concord-Carlisle lead from getting away from the Raiders as the senior came up with several key saves in the second quarter including two at the end of the half.
“We hit a couple of pipes and Darcey robbed us a couple of times as well,” Dalicandro said. "Both goalies were unbelievable today. They are the two best goalies in the state.”
C-C exploded out of the halftime intermission and scored two quick goals with less than a minute gone off the clock. Blumenberg and senior midfielder Jackson Finigan both added unassisted tallies to give C-C a 4-1 lead. Badgley would fire home another goal in transition on a feed from senior midfielder Mike O’Brien at the 7:06 mark in the third to give C-C a 5-1 lead after three quarters.
After exchanging possessions for much of the fourth quarter Wellesley attack John Caraviello cut the C-C lead to 5-2 as the sophomore’s goal sparked the fourth quarter Wellesley comeback.
Senior attack Peter Crane followed suit with another score to bring Wellesley to within two goals at 5-3 with 3:30 remaining in the game.
When the game appeared to be all but over Saffery would score again with 31 seconds remaining to cut the C-C lead to one goal at 5-4.
C-C would get possession off a Blumenberg face-off win and run the clock out to take the victory and advance to Friday night’s D2 state championship game at Foley Stadium in Worcester.
Elite keepers: Both Gouchoe (Air Force) and Darcey (Penn State) had fantastic games for their respective teams as they drew the praise from fans, coaches, teammates and opponents alike.
“He played great today,” Gouchoe said of Darcey. “He pretty much kept his team in the game the entire time. He had some unbelievable saves against Will Blumenberg, Jackson and kids like that. It sort of makes it hard to play against when he is such a great goalie. You do not want to mess up and make yourself look like a sieve in front of him.”
Next Up: Concord-Carlisle will face Central/ Western Mass. champion Algonquin on Friday night at Foley Stadium in Worcester. The D2 state championship face-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Central Mass. champion Algonquin defeated Western Mass. champion Minnechaug, 11-6, Tuesday evening to set up the state championship match up.
In last year’s D2 state final Medfield defeated Algonquin 13-9. Medfield also defeated Concord-Carlisle at Harvard Stadium last year by a score of 11-5 in the 2011 Eastern Mass. D2 final.