MIAA Boys Division 3 State Final: Marblehead Completes Run, Edges #1 Seed Nauset, 1-0, For D3 Crown

Jason Cooke
Jason Cooke
Jason is a college student at UMass Lowell pursuing a degree in journalism. He currently is a sports reporter covering high school sports for the Tewksbury/Wilmington Town Crier as well as the Lowell Sun. Jason also writes for Black N’ Gold Productions covering the Boston Bruins.

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Defense wins championships. It’s a mentality echoed across every locker room before the big game.

For #6 Marblehead, that sentiment rings true. The underdog Headers strolled onto Causeway Street on Sunday afternoon, putting top-seeded Nauset on lockdown to escape with a 1-0 win in the MIAA Boys Division 3 state final.

Leo Burdge headlined the defensive dominance, totaling 33 saves between the pipes to silence Nauset’s high-octane offense. Burdge stands as the only goalie across the state to keep the Warriors off the scoreboard for three periods.

“My main focus today was just tracking the puck and commanding the defensive side of everything,” said Burdge. “We did really well with converging guys, getting sticks on tips and letting me see the shots.”

Marblehead head coach Mark Marfione (l) and captains Charlie Grenier and Hogan Sedky accept MIAA Boys Division 3 championship trophy from the MIAA’s Dan Brothers.

The win marks the first state title for the Headers (17-9-1) since 2011, as they rebounded from a 0-6 start to the season to halt Nauset (22-2-1) in their tracks. Avin Rodovsky’s first-period goal was enough to make it to the finish line.

“It’s still sinking in,” said second-year head coach Mark Marfione. “That’s always the goal every year, is to bring a title back. It’s still sinking in a little bit. You can see how important it is to the town.”

The win is the final installment in Marblehead’s Cinderella story, marching through the postseason unscathed after a six-game rut to begin their campaign.

** Hear from a host of Marblehead players following the state final win:

“We knew we had a good team,” Marfione said. “It was just weird bounces, one-goal losses, giving up shorthanded goals. It was frustrating, but there was never a time where we quit.”

The Headers didn’t exactly dominate at the TD Garden. Nauset outshot them 33-14, pushing the pace for most of the contest. A trio of squandered power plays coupled with a flurry of shots off the pipe marked a frustrating offensive performance for a Warriors team that totaled a whopping 103 goals this season.

“The kill was really good,” Marfione said. “We worked on that quite a bit in practice. We know they like to go back door a little bit. We practiced that specifically for them, and they did a great job out there.

Nauset’s Logan Poulin and Marblehead goalie Leo Burdge eye puck in Sunday’s MIAA D3 final won by the Headers 1-0 (Photo by @BEACHSKATES)

“We knew they had a lot of structure, and just watching it on film we thought that no team had really challenged their structure,” he continued. “We thought that we were at a level that they haven’t seen all year.”

Rodovsky’s tally at the 4:41 mark of the first period was his first of the postseason, and it couldn’t have come at a bigger time. Kyle Hart attempted a wrap-around on Nauset netminder Zach Coelho, which deflected to Rodovsky on the doorstep for the tap-in.

From there, Burdge carried the Headers to victory, staying composed in his crease to deny Nauset.

“He’s been that level the whole tournament,” said Marfione. “Pucks just don’t go in, I don’t know how to explain it. When they’re pressing us hard, you expect Leo to come up with the save somehow, some way. He’s just so calm and collected back there.”

Marblehead handed Nauset their first loss since December 13th, stunning the Warriors on Garden ice.

“I can’t fault them for that,” said Nauset head coach Connor Brickley. “That was an awesome brand of hockey right there, and those games are even tougher to swallow because you’re happy with the body of work that’s on the ice. You’re happy with the work ethic, the structure, the team game. Sometimes they just don’t fall.”

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