BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. – Familiar foes will meet up in the Division 1 South semifinals after today’s action at Gallo Ice Arena. Top-seeded Braintree advanced to the next round with a methodical takedown of No. 8 Falmouth, 4-1, in the second game of the day.
In day’s opener, the region’s Cinderella, No. 13 Framingham, took down No. 4 Franklin, also by a 4-1 count.
The Wamps (14-5-3) showed no ill effects from their disappointing loss in the Super 8 play-in round. Braintree bounced back by taking apart the Clippers, as they dominated every facet of the game. The Wamps outshot Falmouth by a 35-7 margin and played hard through all three periods.
“If we were worried about a hangover, we took care of that … I couldn’t keep bringing back up Monday night, but in their heads, I know it was there,” Braintree Head Coach Dave Fasano said.
The Wamps swamped the Clippers early, scoring twice in the first nine minutes of the game. Kyle Weslie got the first one, on a pretty snipe from down low, and then at 8:32 Chris Googins connected from a tough angle, snapping one just under the crossbar. Had Falmouth goalie Jake Beaton not come up with a few big stops, and the pipe not helped him on another, things might have gotten out of hand early.
“That set the tone on our bench. I told the kids that the first five minutes were crucial. It’s always interesting to see how you respond from a tough loss, and they responded. They put 15 shots on net in the first period,” Fasano said.
Braintree got two more in the second to put it away, both by Dylan Casserly. The first was a pretty tip-in on the doorstep that saw Casserly change the puck’s direction after a shot from up high at 4:05. A few moments later Casserly got another, thanks to some adept passing by Googins. The set-up man took the puck deep against Beaton, and the goalie kept coming with him. Googins had Beaton way out of position and fed the puck out front for Casserly, who had the hockey equivalent of a lay-up to make it a 4-0 game.
The Clippers’ lone goal followed at 12:39 on a great individual effort by Robbie Souza, who chased down a clear out by Andrew Parkinson and won the race along the boards at the red line. With a burst of speed, the second leading goal-scorer in Division 1 picked the far post with a rocket of a wrister.
There would be no more highlight for Falmouth, though, thanks to the suffocating Braintree defense.
The Wamps did not allow Falmouth to get a single shot on goalie Nick Anson until the final minute of play with 38 seconds remaining in the game.
FRAMINGHAM 4, FRANKLIN 1
In the earlier game, the Jolly Roger flew high as the Flyers left the ice and should serve as a warning to teams that will be sharing the ice with them going forward. The 13th seeded team has embraced the Pirate theme this season, and on Saturday afternoon they made fifth-seeded Franklin walk the plank. The Flyers scored twice in the first period and never looked back, skating to a 4-1 win at Gallo Ice Arena.
Framingham broke out to an early 2-0 lead and never looked back as the top-scoring Flyer, Cory Gorowitz, got his team on the board with his first of two at 10:48 on a breakaway goal up the right side. With just 47 seconds left in the first Ryder Lessing popped in a power play rebound that doubled the lower-seeded team’s lead.
“When we score first, we’re pretty hard to play against because we have such good defensemen and our goaltender [Al Lynch] is so good,” Framingham Head Coach Paul Spear said.
Franklin’s Randy Gilbert shaved a goal off the lead for the Panthers early in the second period, which briefly had the Panthers back in the game. A shot by Kyle Powers from the left circle chipped high where Gilbert used his stick more like a bat to nudge it under the crossbar and behind Al Lynch. That would be the only one of the 21 shots that the Panthers put on the net that bested Lynch, who made the saves he had to and benefitted from a stifling effort in front of him by the Flyers’ staunch defense.
Framingham didn’t allow Franklin’s hope to float, though. The Flyers sunk it quickly with a third goal just six minutes later to go up 3-1 as Gorowitz – who forgot his road sweater at home and had to borrow the jersey of backup goalie Jason McCarthy – once again found separation from the Panthers’ defense and beat Devin Maloof with a pretty crossover move at 8:41.
Neither team did much in the third period, as most of the play was in neutral ice. Framingham assured themselves of a spot in the south with an empty-netter with 43 seconds to go. Despite drawing a penalty with five minutes to go, the Panthers were unable to generate a single shot on net at crunch time. In the last minute, Drew McKinnon blocked a shot in the defensive, raced down the ice and stole it away from the Panthers, tucking it in the vacated cage to assure that the Flyers will be breaking out the skull and crossbones at least one more time.
Spear, who captains a fishing charter during the summer, said that the pirate theme has been something that his team has rallied around this year. “I told them that during the summer I captain a fishing boat, but during the winter sometimes I feel like I run up a pirate boat,” Spear said. “I had them embrace the spirit of fighting to the death and playing for each other and being brothers out there. We were trying to find an identity for our team, and they’ve kind of rallied around that.
And now Cinderella wears an eye patch, and hopes to take down the top-seeded Wamps in the next round. The foes know one another well. Framingham won the first meeting, 4-0, and Braintree took the rematch, 4-2, to wrap up the Bay State Carey title.
“They beat us once, and we beat them once, so it’ll be a battle,” Fasano said.