This much is certain – the Bay State Conference’s Carey Division will claim the 2017 South Sectional championship. Division kingpin Braintree (14-6-2) and runner-up Framingham (15-6-4) will play for the crown Sunday (Gallo, 5:30) following shutout wins in Thursday night’s semifinals. The teams split regular-season games with Braintree prevailing, 3-1, on Jan. 4 and Framingham winning, 3-0, on Feb. 1.
No. 5 Framingham 2, No. 9 Xaverian 0
The Flyers duplicated their 2-0 regular-season decision of the Hawks, in no small part due to the 33-save performance of junior goaltender Alex Moore, who notched his second post-season shutout. Xaverian of the Catholic Conference controlled territorial play throughout, as evidenced by its 33-14 shot margin, to no avail.
Senior Ben Stefanini’s unassisted shorthanded goal with 11:38 remaining in the second period stood as the game-winner. The Hawks had a 6-on-4 power play with goalie Cam Dutra out in the final minute but junior Dylan Carafiello delivered the sealing empty-netter for Framingham.
Framingham is in the South finals for the first time since 2007. Its last South title came in 2004. The Flyers’ two State titles came in 1992 and 1961. Xaverian finished 12-8-3.
No. 3 Braintree 1, No. 2 Wellesley 0
A crossover of Bay State Conference opponents saw the Carey Division champion Wamps advance by the slimmest of margins against the Herget Division’s runner-up. Braintree goalie Owen Cuddyer turned back 16 shots for the shutout, his fifth of the season. Braintree won the regular-season meeting, 4-1, in mid-January.
The game’s lone goal came midway through the second period with Wellesley on the power play. Braintree senior Liam Sage intercepted a pass and triggered an odd-man rush that sophomore Brett Lockhart converted for the shorthanded game-winner. Braintree finished with a 25-16 edge in shots.
Braintree defeated Barnstable for the 2014 South title but fell to Reading in the D1 State Championship game. Wellesley wound up 15-6-1.