Spectacular goaltending, the ouster of the two-time defending State Champion, and close games – four of the eight were decided by one goal – highlighted first-round play in the MIAA Division 1 North Sectional Wednesday night. Five Middlesex League teams advanced.
No. 12 Reading 3, No. 5 Arlington Catholic 1
Freshman Matt Thomson’s power play goal at 6:31 of the third period broke a 1-1 tie and sent the Middlesex League Liberty champion Rockets into the quarterfinals. Jake Barbera had a power play goal in the game’s first minute and freshman Kevin Tobin sealed it with an empty-netter in the final minute. Ryan Smith notched the Cougars’ goal in the first period. AC finished 13-7-1.
No. 8 Winchester 3, No. 9 Newburyport 2
Junior goalie James Offner was the difference for the Sachems with 31 saves. Brendan Greene scored twice, including the game-winner in the early stages of the third period. Nolan Redler added two assists. Seniors Tim Brennan and Travis Wile scored for the Clippers, who made history by becoming the first Cape Ann League team to play in the D-1 Tournament. Newburyport finished 12-8-2.
No. 10 Saint John’s (S) 4, No. 7 Burlington 0
The Pioneers ended the Red Devils’ two-year reign as State Champion on the strength of a three-goal third period and Mario Pizzeri’s 31-save performance. Chris Stalmok scored the game-winner at 52 seconds of the second period, then added a power play strike at 7:38 of the third. He also assisted on goals by Patrick Storer and Chris Adams to complete a four-point night. Burlington finished 10-4-8.
No. 3 Wilmington 3, No. 14 Matignon 2
The two-time defending D-2 State Champion Wildcats made a positive D-1 post-season debut. Senior center Cody McGowan (2 goals, assist) led the way, and scored the game-winner at 7:00 of the third period. Luke Foley added a goal and an assist. Trailing, 2-0, Matignon pulled even on a pair of Mike McPherson goals within the first five minutes of the third period. The Warriors finished the season at 10-10-1.
No. 6 Medford 4, No. 11 Acton-Boxboro 2
The Mustangs scored the game’s final three goals to secure the win. A-B got second-period goals from seniors Hunter Arnold and Ben Barton for a 2-1 lead. Paul Zizzo, Sean Allen, Luke Melendez and Ross Watson had goals for Medford. A-B finished the year at 10-7-4.
No. 2 Arlington 1, No. 15 St. John’s Prep 0
St. John’s Prep, a perennial D-1A participant from the State’s premier power league, began post-season as a Sectional favorite and exited shaking their collective heads after the combined 40-save shutout of the goalie tandem of Ryan Cote and Mike Schiller, who split time every game. Schiller was immense with 28 saves, 20 in the third period. Matt Shea had the lone goal with 13:43 to play. SJP finished at 9-10-2.
No. 1 St. Mary’s 2, No. 16 Waltham 1
The top-seeded Spartans fought through the 35-save performance of the Hawks’ Shamus Egan. Connor Foley’s rebound finish of Jordan Manthorne’s initial shot was the game-winner with 3:40 left in regulation. St. Mary’s Dante Maribito and Waltham’s Kevin Snow matched earlier goals. It was a light night for St. Mary’s goalie Bailey MacBurnie (9 saves). Waltham finished 9-9-5.
No. 4 Melrose 4, No. 13 Chelmsford 0
Melrose got 16 saves from Tyler Brown and reversed a late regular-season loss to the Lions. Jack Hickey (goal, assist) and Conlin Healy (goal, assist) led the offense. Jake Karelas and Mike DiRaffaele also scored. Chelmsford finished up at 9-7-6.
Saturday, March 1
St. Mary’s vs. Winchester, at Woburn, 3
Melrose vs. Reading, at Woburn, 1
Arlington vs. St. John’s (S), at Chelmsford, 7:40
Wilmington vs. Medford, at Chelmsford, 5:40