Sunday, March 20, 2011
Marblehead claims first-ever D3 hockey title
By James Walsh
BOSTON -- A flurry of goals in the second period from the Marblehead Magicians was the turning point of the Division 3 boys' hockey championship Sunday at the TD Garden, a 6-3 victory over the Westfield Bombers, for their first ever D-3 Title.
“Indescribable,” Marblehead senior Ryan Dempsey said, “Everybody was so happy, we’ve lost is such big games, so to win a game like this is indescribable, the best.”
The first five minutes of the game were played inside Westfield’s blue line. Marblehead forced five early saves out of Bombers goalie Nick Liberto (21 saves total). But it was Westfield who got on the scoreboard first at 5:12 on their first shot of the game. Nick Sibilia stole the puck just inside the Marblehead blue line and beat Magician’s goalie Tony Cuzner (8 saves) one on one.
Austin Haley evened the score at one all at 7:37, knocking in a rebound from point blank, seniors Chris McLeod and Tyler Gelineau assisting. Westfield took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission thanks to Conner Laraway who added a rebound goal of his own with exactly one minute remaining in the period. Bombers forward Matt Gagnon had sent junior Kyle Levere in on a breakaway with a tape to tape pass from inside his defensive end. Levere’s shot was saved but Laraway couldn’t miss.
In the second period Marblehead seized control of the game for good with a flurry of goals, two on the power play.
“We wanted to just go out and win the second period, and play as well as we could,” Marblehead head coach Bob Jackson of his first intermission team talk, “And we went out and scored four goals, so we were happy.”
Westfield’s Nate Barnes picked up the games first penalty 2:36 into the second and the Magicians made the man advantage count. Senior Ryan Dempsey made a highlight reel backhand pass from behind the goal to McLeod who one-timed the finish tying the game at tow a piece. Thirty two seconds later the Magicians took the lead for good, Ben Koopmen blasted home a slap shot from just inside the blue line after Gelineau won the faceoff.
Jake Kulevich scored twice in the second period, his first on a rebound (4:40) and his second a shot that trickled through the Liberto’s 5-hole at 9:09.
Gagnon cut Westfield’s deficit to just two goals after his shot from a tough angle found the back of the net. But Hunter Graves scored the final goal of the game just 58 seconds into the third sniping his shot into the top corner for a 6-3 final.
After the game Marblehead talked about the hard work of the upperclassmen. “We have nine guys that have been here for four years, and I can’t begin to tell you the dedication, commitment and enthusiasm they brought with them everyday” Marblehead head coach Bob Jackson said of his seniors.
“We had a nice little moment after the game,” Kulevich said of the locker room celebration, “ We brought it in [after the game] one last time, there’s a lot of guys leaving this team, the coaches were great, and the coaches broke it down.”