Prior to Sunday night’s MIAA Division 2 North championship game, Stoneham head coach Paul Sacco felt his club would be in for a close, hard-fought game.
That is exactly how it went.
In an evenly-played game, the Spartans were able to make that one big play, a third period goal by junior Nick Feliciano, for a 2-1 win over Boston Latin and the program’s first sectional championship. Stoneham will now play South champ Plymouth South in Sunday’s D2 state title game at Boston Garden (time, TBA).
“We knew it was going to be a hockey game,” Sacco said. “Boston Latin is a great team on the other side. We expected to play like that. We knew that we had to be ready to play in all situations. The kids did a great job to finish it up that way.”
With the score tied 1-1 midway into the third period, Feliciano collected the puck along the left wing boards. He skated into the slot and put a wrister up over Boston Latin goalie Dan Sebo’s left shoulder for the winning goal.
“He’s slippery,” Sacco said of his junior winger. “We tell him to try and shoot the puck more. He always comes up with the big goal. He is dangerous with the puck on his stick.”
The Wolfpack took a 1-0 lead early on, scoring a power play goal just 1:36 into the first period. Senior Devin Gallagher got it when his tough angle shot from the left side struck Stoneham goalie Peter Barry up high and somehow trickled in. Nick O’Connell and Damon Alexander were credited with assists.
The Spartans tied it 1-1 later in the first. Senior Nick DelTrecco skated into the offensive zone and blasted a wrist shot top corner, far side. Assists on DelTrecco’s goal went to Brandon Stewart and Jake Burridge.
Boston Latin had only four shots on goal in the third period, but they were all testers. Barry was able to thwart each opportunity. After a nifty glove save on a bid by Sam Hutchinson with 1:26 to go, the Wolfpack called timeout and pulled Sebo for a sixth attacker. But they were unable to get a solid bid on Barry, as the Spartans did a great job on winning faceoffs and were able to ice the puck several times.
Stoneham caught break with 22 seconds left, when, after icing was called, the referees conferred and concluded the puck had touched a Boston Latin player, nullifying the icing call and placing the faceoff in the Wolfpack zone.
“Everyone did their assignments well,” Sacco said. “We did a good job on faceoffs and we got the puck out of the zone. We were good that way.”
Following the game, accepting the Division 2 North championship trophy, captains Jake Burridge and Cam Sacco held the #11 jersey of former defenseman James Luti, who tragically passed away during the first week of pre-season practice. His memory has been an inspiration to the club all season.
“It means the world to us,” coach Sacco said. “James was a special player. A special person. The kids have really rallied around him. They feel him here and they are playing for him.”
— Hockey Night (@HNIBonline) March 11, 2018