Above: Charlie Gaffney brings it around his net during the 3/10 game. Photos by Chuck Nadeau – find all his photos at chuckn.com.
The EG Boys Hockey team put a lot into their season this year but in the end it wasn’t enough to capture the D1 state championship against formidable rival Bishop Hendricken. The Hawks won the first two games – 4-3 and 5-2 – in the best-of-three series with the Avengers, capturing the state title.
In the first game, Thursday night, EG’s Joe Andreozzi scored on the team’s first shot on goal. Hendricken answered to tie the game at 1-1. But EG pulled away in the second period, first with goal by Cam Gaffney and then one by Colin Walsh, giving the Avengers at 3-1 advantage going into the third period.
At that point, the Hawks turned up the heat, peppering Avenger goalie Cole Barron with shots that he deflected. During a Hendricken power play, EG almost made it through the 2 minutes without letting them score but in the final seconds Hendricken was able to get one in the net after what EG players thought looked a lot like goalie interference. Then, with just two minutes left to play, Hendricken scored again, making the score 3-3.
After no one scored during two overtimes, the teams went to penalty shots, where Hendricken outscored EG 3-1, winning that first game 4-3. The Hawks had 52 shots on goal during that first game, to the Avengers’ 28.
In Game 2, EG’s Colin Walsh scored the first goal of the game in the second period, answered by two goals from Bishop Hendricken. The Hawks went up 3-1 in the third period. EG’s Corey Szabo then scored but Hendricken got back to back goals in the final two minutes, giving the Hawks a 5-2 win and the state championship.
“I think the puck just bounced Hendricken’s way,” said Coach Don Dunwoody. “They’re a good team but we’re good too.”
Dunwoody said he was proud of all the seniors. In addition to the great goaltending by Cole Barron, he called out other seniors.
“Charlie Gaffney played great during the finals,” Dunwoody said of the defenseman. And he noted that Cam Warrener came back for the games against Hendricken even after a shoulder injury sidelined him during the semi-finals. “Sean Picard filled in for Warrener against MB and played up to his level,” he said. “And Nick Paskalis won the Smithfield [quarterfinal] series for us.”
“Those seniors deserve a lot of credit for staying in town and staying together,” Dunwoody added. We’re not disheartened, we’re encouraged by this situation. We want to go back. We’re motivated to do what we need to do to go back. We have players in the ranks. We have players coming up. Can we compete? I think this year proved we can compete.“
“I’m just really proud of all we have accomplished,” said senior co-captain Matt Mackenzie, “especially the seniors. Everything we went through as a group was something we will remember forever. We got better and better every year. Just came up short.”
He added, “The time I’ve had with all these guys will last a lifetime and that’s all that matters in the end.”