No. 4 Belmont 3, No. 1 Reading 2
In Lowell, the maxim that says it is difficult to beat the same team three times in a season held true as the Marauders upended their Middlesex League Liberty Division rivals. Reading posted a pair of one-goal wins in the regular season.
The game remained scoreless until deep into the second period when Belmont’s Matt Brody connected on the power play at 13:46. That goal stood until 4:16 remaining in regulation when Reading’s Evan Pennucci tied it by deflecting home a Cam Lawhorne shot.
Belmont regained the lead in short order on Henry Stonehouse’s strike with 2:34 to play and the Marauders’ Matty Rowan made it 3-1 with 1:19 to go, converting his own steal at the blue line into a backhand finish for the game-winner. Reading’s Lawhorne cut the lead back to 3-2 with 59.4 seconds remaining and Reading goalie Dylan Emery out for a sixth attacker, but Belmont keeper Nico Carere preserved the win with two big saves as time wound down.
Belmont (13-5-5) will now face St. Johns (S) in the D1 North final Monday night at Tsongas (7:30). Reading, which returned to the Sectional after losing a D1A play-in game, finishes at 11-6-6.
No. 11 St. John’s (S) 3, No. 10 Westford Academy 1
In Lowell, the Pioneers prevailed in large part due to the play of goalie Dan Laursen, who had another in a string of stellar late-season performances with 33 saves to hold off Westford of the MVC/DCL One, which controlled large segments of play.
Hunter DiGregorio’s power play goal put SJS on top in the first period and he doubled the margin to 2-0 just 13 seconds into the second period. Westford countered with a power play goal by Matt Cielakie to cut St. John’s lead to 2-1 early in second period. However, Sean Clark restored the Pioneers’ two-goal lead 51 seconds into the third period.
The Pioneers now head to their first Sectional final since winning the 2004 State Championship. Westford winds up 11-9-2.
Check out the MIAA Division 1 North bracket here
Check out the MIAA Division 1 South bracket here
No. 14 Archbishop Williams 3, No. 10 Franklin 0
In Bourne, the Bishops continued their postseason defensive dominance and have now allowed just two goals in three games. Sophomore goalie Nic Buccella made 24 saves for his first career shutout to help send the Bishops to their first final in 10 years.
John Riley knocked home his own rebound for the game-winner at 13:14 of the first period. Jackson Sylvester converted on a 5-on-3 power play to make it 2-0 late in the second period and Tommy Page sealed the deal with another power play strike just eight seconds into the third period.
Williams (11-8-4), the last Catholic Central Large team standing after finishing fourth in the regular season, now plays No. 12 Walpole (12-8-5) Sunday night (Gallo, 6) for the Sectional title. Franklin finishes 11-8-4.