Home / High School Hockey / Massachusetts / 2019 MIAA Playoffs / Central Mass. Division 3 Final: Late Goal Lifts Wachusett Over Groton-Dunstable

Central Mass. Division 3 Final: Late Goal Lifts Wachusett Over Groton-Dunstable

Grant Gardula scored with 3:09 remaining in the third period to lift No. 2 Wachusett  to a 3-2 victory over No. 5 Groton-Dunstable Sunday in the Central Mass. Division 3 Tournament championship game.

It was the Mountaineers(16-4-3)  first sectional title since 2013.

Wachusett will face Longmeadow (15-5-2) in a state semifinal at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Holy Cross. The Mountaineers beat the Lancers, 4-0, in early January.

This was a tight-checking, low-scoring tournament game. Groton-Dunstable had won eight of its last 10 games and beat higher seeds Westborough and Hudson to reach the final.

Wachusett easily beat Groton-Dunstable twice during the regular season. But the playoffs were different.

Kevin Skagerlind set up Gardula’s game-winning goal. It came on a one-timer from the left circle.

After a scoreless opening period, Wachusett used goals from  Jack Felicio during a power play at 8:58 and from junior Colin Moran (shorthanded) at 12:22.

Will Zinkann scored on a breakaway  for the Crusaders. Brendan Ferrari’s power play goal tied the score at two apiece.

Fran Sypek

Fran Sypek

Fran has covered hockey at all levels, NHL, AHL, junior, college and high school for the Springfield Republican from 1978-2013. His column "Hockey Talk'' appeared in the Sunday Republican. The hockey beat took him from Maine to Arizona in the United States and from Newfoundland to Alberta in Canada. Fran was the recipient of the Matthew Ryan Award for Outstanding Coverage of High School Hockey and the Janet McCormick Award from the Springfield Olympics. He then shifted from pros to college when the University of Massachusetts restored its program and joined Hockey East. Later, he continued covering the Boston Bruins and the Springfield Falcons. Fran's covered future NHL players from Western Massachusetts in Paul Fenton, Bob Kudelski, Rick Bennett and Bill Guerin. He is a member of the Bessone Award committee, which helps select the top high school hockey player in Western Mass. Fran was a goalie for Holyoke Community College in 1973-74 and graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 1977. Fran is currently a free lance writer living in Bondsville, Mass and grew up in Chicopee, Mass, has visited all 50 states, and is an avid photographer.