Boston High School: Carley Boyle
BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. -- Falmouth’s quest for three straight trips to the TD Garden and the Division 2 state title game ran into a brick wall on Tuesday night at Gallo Arena.
That wall’s name was Meghan King.
Wellesley’s junior goalie stopped just about everything that was thrown at her over the final two periods, including 21 saves in the third period alone, to lead the Raiders to a 3-2 victory and the program’s first trip to the state final since winning it all in 2006.
“You get into a game like this, you might have a few jitters but we’re happy with the way she settled down,” said Wellesley coach George Campbell about King, who dropped a couple shots in the first period, but made 30 of her 37 saves in the final two periods.
Campbell continued, “She’s pretty much in control every game that she gets back there. There’s no sense of panic ever and she just has worked herself into a place where she’s as solid as any goalie that we’ve ever had.”
In examining the final result, Falmouth coach Erin Hunt could only applaud King’s effort.
“I really think we played awesome in the third and we battled to the end,” she explained. “I think we outshot them by quite a bit for the game but we just couldn’t pop one in. She played a great game; they’re a great team.”
The Raiders jumped into the lead 2:30 into the first period when leading scorer Cecily Docktor rounded the net and fired a wrister up over the shoulder of Madison Scavotto. Soon after, Docktor nearly added a second after a great move through a pair of defenders but her shot went just wide.
With 3:02 remaining in the first, Falmouth bounced back to tie the game. Maggie MacDonald took and inch perfect pass across the crease and planted a wide open shot into the top corner to make it 1-1.
“That was huge for us to go into the second period with a tie game,” said Hunt. “It’s tough to play with a point down going into the second.”
Unfortunately for the Clippers, the momentum was shortlived. Wellesley stormed out of the locker room in the second period and recorded the first seven shots. Sophomore Carley Boyle, who assisted on the opening goal, punched the Raiders back in front on the third attempt and it was 2-1 after just 40 seconds.
“It was mostly them talking to each other in there,” said Campbell about what was said during the first intermission. “We kind of set the task for them and told them what they had to do and then hoped that we weren’t going to run out of gas with the two lines and they didn’t. They sucked it up and just kept playing hard for the entire 45 minutes.”
From the midway point of the second period to the end of the game, Falmouth controlled puck possession and outshot the Raiders by a 32-4 margin. That was when Kelly took over.
“It’s definitely a lot of pressure and it’s hard but, I mean, I have a great team in front of me so I’m not too worried about that,” she explained. “My team did a great job clearing out the front of the net.”
About the pressure of playing in a one-goal game in the third period, Kelly added, “It’s definitely scary because you don’t want to give up any goals, but I knew coming in that we were the better team and that we were strong. So, we just had to take time and calm down.”
The nerves were eased momentarily by an empty net goal with 41 seconds remaining that appeared to clinch the Raiders a spot in the finals. Keely Corscadden scored the goal to make it 3-1. Each of the three top line forwards (Boyle, Corscadden, and Docktor) recorded a goal and assist apiece.
Falmouth did not give the game up after the empty net goal and Kelly Ferreira had a shot from beyond the blue line skip past Kelly on a very tough hop with still 21 seconds remaining. Kelly recovered to make a two more saves for the win.
“Those kinds of things happen and we knew that Falmouth would not give up and pucks take funny bounces -- that thing had a crazy bounce,” said Campbell. “She had it all the way and then all of a sudden it jumped over her shoulder.”
Kelly simply said, “It’s just a ton of fun to play a fast-paced game like that and to have such a great team around you.”
Wellesley will play either Westwood in the D2 state final at the TD Garden on Sunday.
Wellesley scored three goals over the first 12 minutes of the game and then held off a late charge by Milton (10-9-4). The 3-1 win marked the third time this season that the Raiders had notched a win over the Wildcats, including a pair of Bay State League contests earlier in the year.
With the win, Wellesley will meet Falmouth in the semifinals at Gallo on Tuesday. The contest is a match-up of the two teams that entered the tournament as the favorites to reach the Garden from the right side of the bracket. Wellesley and Falmouth met last month, at the Cape Cod Classic, with the game ending in a 2-2 draw.
It took just 31 seconds for the Raiders to light the lamp as they dominated the first 15 minutes. Wellesley scored three times, owned possession of the puck the majority of the stanza and outshot the Wildcats, 10-6.
Co-captain Keely Corscadden got the game off to a raucous start for the second-seeded Raiders, scoring from the slot on a snap shot at the 31-second mark. She was set up by Cecily Docktor.
Shortly after that, at 4:25, the Raiders doubled their lead on a goal by Carley Boyle, who camped on the far post and tipped in a bouncing puck off of the stick of co-captain Sarah Goss.
The team’s third captain, Docktor, capped the scoring for the Raiders at 11:56 of the first. She buried a rebound of a Goss shot that came from the top of the right circle, making it 3-0.
“I thought that we had the advantage early. We were a little bit faster than them. Milton’s a real physical team, they know how to play. We just told our kids that you don’t make it to this level, a quarterfinal game, without being a real good team. They showed what they had,” Wellesley head coach George Campbell said. “They don’t care if you have a three or four goal lead. They keep coming.”
Campbell was right because 26th-seeded Milton did keep coming at his club in periods two and three, which were pretty even.
The D2 Cinderellas showed some moxie and more than held their own. They took it to Wellesley for the entire first half of the middle frame, with Julia Scannell producing a number of quality scoring chances. Wellesley keeper Meghan King (18 saves) robbed Scannell on a pair of point blank to keep Milton off the board.
McKenzie Stanley ended King’s shutout bid late in the second period. Stanley worked up the left side with speed, leaving a defenseman in her wake, and snapped a wrister past King that made it a 3-1 game.
Milton pressed Wellesley in the third, but could not get another one to fall. Elena Kapolis had a quality bid midway through the frame on a wraparound, but King held the post. Scannell followed with a poke at the puck, but couldn’t find a seam.
Milton was able to get the goalie out of the cage with 1:29 left and kept it in the offensive end for over a minute, but the Wellesley defense kept the puck out of harm’s way and held on.
“We felt that our defense was going to hold up and it was just a matter of playing total team defense and getting everybody back and taking away some of the explosive chances that Milton had,” Campbell said. “I’ve seen Milton several times this year. Once they sense a scoring chance, they gain a new speed that you haven’t seen the whole game. Our think our team did a good job of taking that away.”