The scoreboard at The Skating Club of Boston perhaps didn’t reflect just how much Norwood controlled its Division 2 first-round matchup against visiting Westboro. But at this time of year, it displayed all that mattered at the end of Wednesday’s game – more goals for the Mustangs, and a ticket to the next round.
The #7 Mustangs scored twice in the first 5:29 and cruised from there in an eventual 4-1 win over the #26 Rangers.
“The first one’s tough, always. You never know what can happen,” Norwood coach Chuck Allen said. “Now we can move on.”
Myles Kidd started the scoring when he took a lead pass right at the blue line, turning 180 to control the puck into the zone while keeping himself onside. From there, the senior captain burst in and flipped a backhand top right over the glove of Westboro senior goalie Dylan Arnold.
Just 1:04 later a tripping penalty gave the Mustangs a power play and it took just four seconds for the puck to get around to junior Kevin Broderick at the left point. On a bizarre sequence Arnold, who broke a skate in pregame, appeared to hurt his groin sliding over and was well out of position when Broderick’s wrister sailed into the wide-open net.
“I thought we started out pretty good, then we took a couple of penalties … we killed it,” Allen said. “But we outshot them pretty badly. I thought at 5 on 5 we dominated.”
Norwood had a 36-11 advantage in shots, but couldn’t really get comfortable until late despite taking the quick lead.
Junior Conor Lydon made it 3-0 at 1:36 of the second when he forced a turnover on the forecheck along the left boards, skated in and snapped a shot past replacement goalie Will Yearick (26 saves) off the right post.
Westboro got its only goal at 2:26 of the third when senior Anthony Pascale forced a turnover at the far blue line, streaked in alone and went 5-hole on Mustangs senior goalie Ethan Barrows (10 saves). The Rangers continued to hang around, but couldn’t draw any closer before junior Sean Dittmeier sealed it for Norwood with an empty-netter.
“We had a little sloppy third period,” Allen said. “I’m never satisfied as a coach … but overall, a good first win.”
Next up for Norwood is a home date next week against the winner of Friday’s game between #10 Newburyport and #23 Wilmington.
Canton 3, Plymouth South 0
In another game that looked closer on the scoreboard, the #3 Bulldogs began their quest for a third consecutive Division 2 state championship with a win over the #30 Panthers at Metropolis Rink.
Sophomore Brian Middleton gave Canton the only goal it needed 2:43 into the game when he jammed home a loose puck on the doorstep. The lead doubled at 8:24 the period as sophomore Brendan Tourgee skated down the slot through four defenders and had his backhand stopped by South junior goalie Tristan Holmes, only to have junior AJ Thomas bury the follow-up.
Canton closed the scoring at 9:22 of the second when senior Eamon Kelly took a cross-ice pass from senior Brennan Pecararo, skated around a Panthers defender and beat Holmes from in tight.
Freshman Colin Davis earned the shutout as Canton had a 47-8 advantage in shots. Holmes made 44 saves for South.
Canton, which won the state title in 2019 and shared it with Lincoln-Sudbury in 2020, awaits the winner of #14 Plymouth North vs. #19 Concord-Carlisle.
Greenfield 3, Gardner 0
The Green Wave are another team that won a championship in 2020 – this one actually happening on the ice as they beat Lunenburg/Ayer Shirley in what was known as Division 3A.
It wasn’t easy in their preliminary round game, but the #32 Green Wave got a first-period goal and then two more late to finally put away the #33 Wildcats at Collins-Moylan Arena.
Junior Matthew Lavone started the scoring at 7:23 of the first when he parked in the low slot and banged home a centering feed from junior Shane Prusak.
It stayed that way until the final five minutes when Greenfield scored a pair of nearly identical goals. First senior Kevin Baumann beat Gardner goalie Mark Quinn with a snap shot from the left circle, a big insurance goal with 4:37 left. Exactly two minutes later, junior Sammy Knight scored from the same spot.
Greenfield will visit top seed Norwell on Saturday (3 p.m., The Bog). Gardner was making its first tournament appearance since 2009.
Nantucket 5, Rockland 2
In a first-round game on the island, the #11 Whalers scored three times in the second period to break a tie and held on to beat the #22 Bulldogs.
Senior captain Hudson Perry snapped the 1-1 tie with a blast from the blue line that beat Rockland goalie Joey Dow at 4:19 of the second. The Bulldogs had a chance to pull even on a power play later in the period, but instead Jack Billings delivered a shorthanded dagger for a 3-1 lead at 9:07. Camden Knapp pushed it to a three-goal advantage with 1:16 to go in the middle period.
Cole Evens, who opened the scoring for the Whalers just two minutes in, capped his team’s scoring in the third period. Junior Bryce Marrero had the tying goal for Rockland late in the first, and senior captain Jake Higgins scored a 3-on-5 shorthanded goal with 19.9 seconds left.
Nantucket next will face a Cape & Islands rival, either #6 Martha’s Vineyard on the road or #27 Monomoy/Mashpee at home. Those teams will square off Thursday afternoon on the Vineyard, with the second-round matchup likely Sunday.