SHREWSBURY, Mass. -- There were plenty of moments where you thought Shrewsbury would fade away against cross-town rival St. John's, but the Colonials went on a run in the game's final 11 minutes to score the upset over the Pioneers.
After failing to score in their first meeting with St. John's, Shrewsbury shocked its long-time nemesis, 7-6, as attackman Derick Tinsley threw home a rebound goal with less than two minutes to play. The play began after Shrewsbury's All-American goalie Chris Gorman robbed St. John's All-American attackman Drew Smiley for one of his seven saves, then Colonial middie Alex Chin picked up the ground ball and began sprinting the other way. But he would be stopped by the Pioneers' All-American goalie Steven Kerr, only to see Tinsley swoop in between four St. John's defender to clean up the miss.
"This was definitely our biggest game," Tinsley said. "Biggest thing I've ever done in my life, actually. This was our championship."
But Shrewsbury still needed one final defensive stop from its star goalie. With St. John's playing a man up and 43 seconds left on the clock, Gorman came away with another big save, stoning St. John's sophomore Andrew Cox, then clearing it immediately to ice the game.
"This was the best game I've ever played in," Gorman said. "Great opponent, the most fun (game). It's the best day of my life."
Things didn't start out quite so promisingly for the Colonials though, as Smiley scored the first of his four goals just minutes into the game, followed by a score from St. John's junior Jared Ward on the Pioneers' next possession. Tinsley scored the first of his three goals to get Shrewsbury on the board, but an acrobatic goal by Smiley quickly stretched the lead back to two. Even when Shrewsbury managed to tie things up in the third, thanks to a dodging goal by Chin, Smiley reasserted himself, scoring off a pass from Cox as he cut to the cage, then the next time down on a powerful drive from the alley.
With the Colonials down two and only 12 minutes to play, Shrewsbury coach Nate Skermont knew his team still felt it could pull off the upset.
"Even when we fell behind, we just kept grinding it out," Skermont said. "Belief is a powerful word, and that's what we kept saying in the huddle. Keep believing and keep working hard."
The Colonials struck quickly, as Buduo and Tinsley each scored their second goals of the game in the period's opening two minutes. Just under three minutes later, Buduo fooled the St. John's defense with a tricky pass-fake to complete his hat trick and give Shrewsbury its first lead.
From there on out, Tinsley's put back and Gorman's last save would carry the Colonials to the Division 2 Central/West championship game against Westfield. It will be a match up few predicted, with Westfield coming off an upset of its own, defeating reigning Division 2 state champion Longmeadow on Tuesday.
That game will be played Saturday at Worcester's Foley Stadium. Faceoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.