Boston High School: Adam Lundberg

D2 North: Wilmington 4, Winthrop 2

March, 13, 2012
3/13/12
12:29
AM ET


LOWELL, Mass. – Four years later, they’re getting another chance.

The Wilmington High boys hockey team – state finalists in 2008 – are going back to the TD Garden Sunday after defeating Winthrop, 4-2, in Monday night’s MIAA Division 2 North final at the Tsongas Arena.

Wildcat senior Dalton Rolli broke a 2-2 tie with 2:08 to play, breaking in on goal after a terrific pass from junior line-mate Cam Owens from the red line. Rolli sped past Winthrop’s last defenseman and went backhand past Viking senior goalie Steven Waites.

The Vikings (15-7-2) pulled Waites with 1:20 to play after senior Chris Leblanc got a couple good shots on Wilmington sophomore goaltender Drew Foley. But Wildcat sophomore Brendan McDonough had the last laugh, scoring on the empty net with 1:08 to play, also assisted by Owens.

Wilmington head coach Steve Scanlon said getting Owens – the team’s leading scorer I the regular season – room to operate and create plays was imperative to his team’s third period play.

“I thought they did a good job on him early, banging him around every time he touched the puck,” Scanlon said. “We just tried to get him to focus more on shooting the puck and moving the puck.”

For Rolli, it was the biggest moment in a long career for the high-scoring duo.

“I moved here in the fourth grade, and me and Cam have been playing together since we were in the sixth grade,” Rolli said. “Every time I play with him, it’s electric.”

Wilmington (15-4-5) took its first lead of the final period with 9:05 to play, as junior defenseman Brian Pickett found junior Jake Rogers streaking down the left wing. Rogers cut in and put a backhand behind Waites for the 2-1 lead.

Winthrop came right back, however, as senior Bobby Clewer scored just 28 seconds later. Senior Mitch Paulson ringed the far post with a wrist shot from the left face-off circle, but Clewer was right there to finish off the rebound.

“I thought the character of our team came out – we answered the bell right away,” Viking head coach Dale Dunbar said.

Winthrop had its best chance to go ahead with 2:45 to play, as Clewer set up senior Drayton Chasteen for a 10-foot shot to Foley’s left. Foley made the stop, and 37 seconds later, the Wildcats were ahead for good.

Despite being out-shot 10-6 in the first period, Winthrop went into the locker room with a 1-0 lead at the first intermission thanks to a goal by Leblanc. Sophomore Dan Eruzione kept an attempted clearance in the attacking zone and got the puck to Leblanc, who beat a Wildcat defenseman and lifted a backhander past Foley for the 1-0 lead.

The finish, and his performance throughout the night, showed why Leblanc will be missed by Winthrop next season.

“Chris Leblanc’s a real special player,” Dunbar said. “He’s a great leader. He’s a great kid, very well respected. His skill set is very high, and if he continues to commit himself on and off the ice, he can have a nice career in front of him.”

The Wildcats finally broke through at 10:16 of the second. Senior Frank Cerbone’s shot from the point was blocked, but sophomore Luke Foley was in the right spot at the edge of the right circle to shovel the loose puck past Waites.

Wilmington kept up the pressure for the rest of the period, but a couple fine defensive plays by Viking senior Adam Lundberg kept the Wildcats at bay.

Scanlon admitted that Winthrop’s trap gave his team some trouble in the early going.

“It took us a while to unlock it, but once we did, I thought we played pretty good. We got some good chances,” Scanlon said. “Our goal was to get pucks to the net. They hadn’t been scored on the whole tournament.”

Indeed, Waites had gone 160 minutes in the postseason without allowing a goal before Luke Foley struck.

“You don’t get here without goaltending,” Dunbar said. “That’s the position you have to have on the back end, and Waitesy was there for us. He shut the door an awful lot during this (tournament); he hadn’t even given up a goal until this game.”



But it is Wilmington that is moving on to try and get the trophy that eluded its grasp four years ago (the Wildcats lost to Sandwich, 1-0). To do so, they will have to beat a Franklin (19-2-3) team that looked impressive in Sunday’s 5-2 defeat of Mansfield in the Division 2 South championship.

The Panthers played in the Division 2 state championship game last year as well, losing to Wilmington’s arch rival Tewksbury, 2-1.

“I’m sure it left a bad taste in their mouth, and to come back again is quite an accomplishment,” Scanlon said.

D2 North: Winthrop, Wilmington to meet in final

March, 7, 2012
3/07/12
1:50
AM ET
NORTH BILLERICA, Mass. -- The fans who head to the Tsongas Center for the Division 2 North finals on Monday night might want to be prepared to be there for a while. And for good reason because the goaltending matchup that is now set to happen has the potential to keep goose eggs on the scoreboard.

Winthrop’s Steven Waites pitched his third shutout in as many games on Tuesday, this one propelling his Vikings to a dominating 6-0 win
over NEC North rival Saugus at the Chelmsford Forum.

The Vikings, the No. 10 seed, will meet Wilmington as the Wildcats rode their own hot goaltender – Drew Foley – to a 2-0 win over North Andover in the first semifinal tilt on Tuesday.

For Winthrop, it was their second win in three tries over the Sachems this season and showed that they are playing perhaps their best hockey of the season.

“The thing is that we’re just now hitting our stride and getting better,” Winthrop head coach Dale Dunbar said. “We were able to get everyone in and to let them feel a part of a win like this is nice.”

The Vikings have now beaten Tewksbury, Boston Latin and the Sachems by a combined 11-0 score as Waites has not allowed a goal in 125 minutes of tournament play.

“When he’s on and focused, Steve is as good as anyone,” Dunbar said. “And to go three games in the tournament without giving up a goal says a lot about our defense. We pride ourself on how we play in our own end of the ice.”

This one really wasn’t as close as the 6-0 score as the Vikings forced Saugus into mistake after mistake with the puck, many of them turning into odd-man rushes and goals on Sachem keeper Nick Hegarty.

“We simply turned the puck over way too much,” Saugus head coach Jeff Natalucci said. “And Winthrop will make you pay for every mistake that you make. And they made us pay every time.”

It took only four and a half minutes for the Vikings to get on the scoreboard as Jake McKinnon followed a Mike Paulson shot and slid the rebound home before he went crashing feet first into the boards.

Moments later, Winthrop was on the power play and looking for more offense. And they got it when Chris LeBlanc fed Mitch Paulson for the senior’s 10th goal of the season and a 2-0 lead after one.

“We wanted to come out fast and when you score that first goal, you get your legs under you and it gets the confidence up,” Dunbar said.

Saugus showed some flashes of its offense early in the second and it resulted in an interference penalty on Adam Lundberg at the 1:22 mark. Instead of it beign a chance for Saugus to make things interesting, the next 62 seconds turned the game into a rout.

Jimmy Barker forced a turnover along the left halfwall, sending LeBlanc and Dan Eruzione on a 2-on-1 against Hegarty. LeBlanc made a perfect pass and Eruzione slid the puck home for a 3-0 lead just 100 seconds into the middle stanza.

Less than a minute later, Matt Todisco picked off a pass and beat HEgarty clean on a break and the Vikings were suddenly up 4-0.

“Those two shorthanded goals were just a killer,” Natalucci said. “We had some chances there at the start of the second and then we made mistakes that cost us.”

Waites then went about snuffing out Saugus’ hopes as he made three stellar saves late in the period to keep it a 4-0 game after two.

The Vikings put the game away at 2:52 of the third when Chris Page snapped a shot over Hegarty’s shoulder. Just 55 seconds later, LeBlanc tipped home Lundberg’s shot on a power play to cap the scoring.

“We have talent and chemistry and that’s something that’s hard to find,” Dunbar said. “We have a lot of unselfish guys.”

WILMINGTON 2, NORTH ANDOVER 0
For the second time in as many games, Drew Foley shut down one of the top offenses in the Cape Ann League as the Wildcats earned a third straight win over former rivals from the CAL.

The game was scoreless until the final minutes of the first period when Cam Owens blew a shot past Joel Daccord on a power play for a 1-0 Wilmington lead.

Foley then zoned in and snuffed out the Scarlet Knights offense. He stopped 25 shots in all, including nine in the third period when North Andover was pressing for the equalizer.

Jake Rogers’ empty net goal with under 20 seconds left put the game away for the Wildcats.

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