WOBURN — Saturday afternoon in the Division 1 quarterfinals, the St. Mary’s boys hockewy team dug a hole from which it could not extricate itself.
The result was a 3-2 loss to Winchester, eliminating the Spartans from the tournament, ending their bid to defend their 2017 championship.
Coach Mark Lee said his team fought hard to overcome a 3-0 deficit, but the early hole was a little too much, and the team’s play in the early going was far from what was needed to avoid the pitfall.
“We just did not bring our A-game today, for whatever reason we didn’t, and now we’re not moving on,” Lee said.
Winchester coach Bill Burns said his team worked hard, and had an ace in the net — freshman goalie Robert DiVincenzo.
“We’re elated, there’s nothing but joy in our locker room right now, we knew we had to play strong against St. Mary’s as they’re an excellent team, they know how to win — defending state champs,” Burns said. “We’ve got a really good one in net, (DiVincenzo), he set the school record with seven shutouts and he’s been great in our two playoff games.”
“Our guys had a lot of confidence coming in to play St. Mary’s we had a good win in the opener against Reading, even though they had a little bit of an off year, they’re always a good team,” Burns said. “We knew we had a tough task today, we got up 3-0, St. Mary’s didn’t quit, but we held on.”
Both teams had scoring chances in the first period, but Winchester had more quality shots on Spartan goalie Kevin McMullen. The Sachems broke through on a fluky goal with just 48.4 left in the first. Robert Falso flipped one from just inside the red line on the power play, and it took a crazy bounce and ended up in the net.
Winchester made it 2-0 with four minutes gone in the second on a deflection by Sammy Vozzella. The lead was bumped to 3-0 on another man-up goal, this one by James Kiley.
The Spartans didn’t roll over, picked up their forecheck dramatically, and got on the board with a power-play goal of their own with 2:43 left in the second. Junior Colin Reddy put one in from Davis Kinne and Anthony Bono and it was 3-1 after two.
Down by two goals, the Spartans had a 5-on-3, early in the third, but just got a shot off the post by Reddy. St. Mary’s scored with 2:09 left in regulation when Reddy knocked in a Kinne rebound. Bono had a great chance with the Spartan net empty, but DiVincenzo robbed him. The Spartans finish at 12-7-4.
“It’s disappointing to lose, but we put ourselves in that position by our lack of energy early on,” Lee said. “We worked on power plays this week, but we didn’t get it done when we had a man up today.”