BOURNE – It was like the tortoise and the hare except that the hare won.
Three third-period goals powered Barnstable past Weymouth 5-2 Saturday at a packed Gallo Arena. The Red Raiders advance to take on Hingham in the Division 1 South semifinals Wednesday night at Gallo.
“This team here has fought hard,” Barnstable coach Scott Nickerson said. “We played well. I think we’ve overachieved to get where we’re at. I thought we played well.”
Barnstable senior Max Willman turned the game into his own personal highlight reel. Willman scored three goals, including an empty-netter to seal the deal, but both he and Nickerson said he could have done even more.
“On the score sheet it looked like he had a fantastic game, but I thought he could have had three or four more,” Nickerson said. “It sounds crazy, the kid had a hat trick and I’m knocking him, but we’re going to be successful because of him. If he had a couple early that he missed it could have been a little bit different.”
“I had a couple of breakaways that I missed, but that happens,” Willman said. “All that matters is that we picked up the W.”
The Red Raiders assaulted Weymouth goalie Kurt Gutting early with 17 first-period shots, but Gutting turned aside 16 of them. Willman’s first goal was answered by Weymouth’s Kevin Morrissey just over two minutes later to tie the game after one.
Weymouth had a much stronger period in the second. The Wildcats were able to dictate tempo and make Barnstable junior Kevin Huska work between the pipes.
Willman scored his second of the game midway through the period, but junior forward Steve Ganley put one past Huska just 75 seconds later to tie it at two.
After that Huska locked it down and turned aside Weymouth’s final nine shots. He had 17 saves during the game.
“I expect him to make saves,” Nickerson said. “He’s got us here. He played well tonight.”
Weymouth pressed during the third period, but the attack, led by juniors Pat Coleman and Joe Flanagan, couldn’t solve Huska in the final frame.
A rocket from Chris Fowler at 6:33 of the third period put the Red Raiders ahead for good. Eric Rogerzenski added the dagger for Barnstable 2:10 later.
“We had a lot of chances; lot of breakaways that we didn’t capitalize on,” Weymouth head coach Marty King said. “They’re a real good team. We never gave up though and that’s why I’m proud of them.”
With a date against perennial power Hingham looming, Willman said that there was still much work for him, and the Red Raiders, to do.
“This is huge,” Willman said. “It’s farther than we got last year, so it’s a bonus. But we’ve got still got to work hard to get to where we need.”