This was an intense game between two fast teams, both of whom had ample opportunities to decide this one in regulation.
But two overtime sessions could not produce a winner. So it came down to a shootout.
Jack Felicio, Sean Gardner and Grant Gardula scored during the shootout and goalie Jackson King stopped all three shots he faced as Wachusett edged Longmeadow, 4-3 Tuesday in a state Division 3 semifinal at Holy Cross’ Hart Center.
Wachusett (17-4-2) advances to the MIAA Division 3 state final against the winner of Wednesday’s Lowell/Hopkinton semifinal Sunday at TD Bank Garden. This will be the Mountaineers first trip to the finals.
“This has been our dream and now we’re there,’’ coach Matt Lane. “These guys have stuck together.’’
King foiled a penalty shot by Liam Byrne with 6:48 remaining in the third period.
“During the overtime and shootout I thought I was having a heart attack,’’’ King said. “It was extremely intense, but I enjoyed every minute.’’
Longmeadow’s Jack Barron eclipsed the 200-point career point mark early in the third period when he scored a pair of goal in a span of 26 seconds to create a 3-3 tie. Barron used his speed to race into the zone and scored on a pair of close range shots.
“That kid is just a phenomenal player,’’ Lane said. “We knew if we could survive the last few minutes, we’d have a good chance in the shootout.’’
Felicio, and Grant Gardula scored 55 seconds apart late in the second period to provide Wachusett with a 3-1 advantage.
Wachusett beat Longmeadow, 4-0, during the regular season, but this was a more evenly matched game.
Gardula went five-hole during a scramble in front of the net with 2:43 left in the period. Felicio redirected a shot from inside the point by Colin Moran with 3:38 remaining in the second period to snap a tie.
Earlier in the period, Longmeadow goalie Max Loyuk made a sprawling save off Ryan Gardula to preserve a tie at 6:09 of the second period.
Wachusett evened the score at one apiece with a goal during the waning seconds of the opening period. Kevin Skagerlind, with assists from Grant Gardula and Zak Kapusta snapped a shot from the lower edge of the right circle past Loyuk with 16.6 seconds remaining.
“They were fast,’’ Longmeadow coach Jim Joyce said. “But our kids never gave up.’’
Longmeadow opened the scoring 3:12 into the game. Rob Joyal received a feed from Mason Baron-Pinkowski and fired a shot from the right side past King.