SCITUATE, Mass. -- Midway through Saturday afternoon’s Chowda Cup Championship game between Catholic Memorial and Scituate, the question wasn’t who as going to hoist the trophy after the game, but which Knights player would be awarded the tournament MVP.
Catholic Memorial opened up an 8-2 halftime lead over the Sailors, en route to a 14-8 victory and their first Chowda Cup title. For the Knights it was their fourth appearance in the title game since they joined the annual tournament five years ago.
Senior attackman Zach O’Brien scored six goals in the win and found the net 10 times during the duration of the tournament and seemed like a lock for the MVP award. But the superb play of Joe Zegarelli between the pipes earned him the award given to the top player in the two-day tournament.
“I wasn’t expecting to get the award,” Zegarelli said. “I thought it was going to go to Zach O’Brien, he really deserves it with all the goals he scored.”
Zegarelli didn’t see the quantity of shots that he did Thursday evening in the semifinal win over Cohasset, but for the sophomore goalie it was quality over quantity.
In the third quarter, Zegarelli robbed Scituate’s Frankie Ragge from deep down low in the zone to highlight to phenomenal day.
“We were focused on playing good solid one-on-one defense and I thought Zegs made the saves when he need to, really a team defense approach,” CM head coach Kevin Lynch said.
The Knights owned a heavily lopsided possession battle throughout the game and Colin Casey was the reason why. The freshman was 17-for-23 on faceoffs, giving his team a big possession advantage.
The beneficiaries of Casey’s big day on the faceoffs were O’Brien and Frank Cosolito, who combined for 10 of the Knights 14 goals.
“It really started with Colin Casey our freshman,” O’Brien said. “He was getting the ball to us on offense and constantly getting the win on faceoffs and getting the looks we needed and finishing.”
Scituate struggled throughout the game, looking like a shell of the team that took the field in Thursday night’s overtime win over Marshfield. The Sailors were sloppy with the ball, turning it over and airmailing passes through the zone.
“As good as we played against Marshfield, we just couldn’t get that same level of energy up,” Scituate head coach Mark Puzzangara said. “You can just tell when we needed that big play, it’s a dropped pass or a lost stick or throwing the ball out of bounds, we were just getting caught up in the moment.”
Thursday Thriller: The headliner of the Chowda cup semifinals was the matchup between No. 14 Catholic Memorial and No. 18 Cohasset. But it was the second game of the evening between No. 22 Marshfield and Scituate that stole the show.
With the Rams holding a 5-3 lead with less than two minutes remaining and Marshfield goalie Trevor Scollins pitching a shutout in the second half, the Rams were in prime position to advance to the title game.
But the Sailors’ Trevor Ciessau scored two goals in the final 1:45 of the game, including the equalizer with just two seconds left on the clock to force overtime.
Less than a minute into the extra period, Ragge netted the game winner from the right wing to advance the Sailors into the title game.
“We showed tremendous heart and courage and they really rebounded and rallied around each other and put together an effort we all knew they could,” Puzzangara said after Thursday’s game.
A coaching milestone: Lost in the wild finish of Scituate’s overtime winner was the milestone hit by Sailor coach Puzzangara. The win was No. 200 of his career was achieved in dramatic fashion.
“I think winning a state championship is pretty big but that was a heck of a game to get it in overtime against a team like that, its pretty sweet,” Puzzangara said.
Pair of heavyweights: The premier matchup of the day got the seventh annual Chowda Cup underway with the Knights pulling past Cohasset 10-8.
CM went on a 4-0 run in the third quarter to separate from the Sailors and advance to the title game.
Zack O’Brien was the star of the game, netting four goals in the win, but nearly missed out on the game, showing up right before the game started.
“I put Scituate High School in my phone and didn’t look at what state it was in, drove all the way to Rhode Island and saw the sign and had to turn around and showed up late,” O’Brien said of his blunder.
Cosolito scored three times and Gunnar McKenzie added two more goals in the win for Catholic Memorial.