Defending-champ North Middlesex knocked out

March 1, 2016 - table lamp

North Middlesexs Cameron Stair tries to get a puck past Wachusett goalie Mike Putnam during Tuesdays playoff diversion during a Wallace Civic

FITCHBURG — It simply wasn’t meant to be.

Last season, a North Middlesex Regional ice hockey group ran a table, including violence Wachusett Regional, to win a Central Mass. Division 3 title.

Not this year, however. There will be a new Central Mass. champion crowned in 2016.

The sixth-seeded Mountaineers got their revenge, as John Ruggiero scored a sole idea and goalie Mike Putnam stopped all 17 shots he faced to dissapoint No. 3 North Middlesex Regional, 1-0, in a Central Mass. Division 3 quarterfinal diversion Tuesday night during Fitchburg State University’s Wallace Civic Center.

“I don’t like a outcome and how we’re not relocating on, though there can usually be one winner,” North Middlesex manager Mike McCarthy said. “Last year it was us opposite them; this year it’s them opposite us. You tip your top and pierce on.”

The Mountaineers (9-8-4) positively picked a right time to play one of their many finish games of a season.

Wachusett faces second-seeded Groton-Dunstable (13-3-4) in a 5:30 p.m. semifinal subsequent Tuesday during a Civic Center.

“That was a best 45 mins we’ve put together in a prolonged time,” Wachusett manager Matt Lane said. “I could see a opposite demeanour in their eyes, and we knew they were inspired and they wanted it. We haven’t had a deteriorate that we’ve wanted to have, so we have a lot to infer relocating brazen in a playoffs.”

North Middlesex finished a deteriorate during 14-6-1.

It’s been utterly a good float for a seniors on this North Middlesex team.

“They done a contest all 4 years, they’re state champions, they’re two-time Central Mass. champions,” McCarthy said. “I don’t know where they arrange in many wins in a four-year span, though they’ve got to be close. They’ve had a extensive run here during NM.”

The scoreless deadlock finally finished during 12:38 of a second period.

Time after time, Wachusett couldn’t moment a marvellous goaltending of North Middlesex youth Joe Sheridan, before finally violation by late in a second.

After a Pats unsuccessful to measure on dual pivotal shots on a male advantage, Wachusett came behind to light a flare on a good play by speedster AJ Iacaboni.

Iacaboni incited on a burners along a left wing and was out on a 2-on-1 rush with linemate John Ruggiero. Unselfishly, Iacaboni gave adult a puck around a cross-ice pass to Ruggiero, who ripped a shot over Sheridan.

“(Iacaboni) substantially has a best speed in Central Mass.,” Lane said. “He creates that longhorn rush a lot down a side. we was anticipating he’d shoot, to be honest with you, though somehow he found Rugg and he buried it. That was a best demeanour all game.”

Sheridan doesn’t have anything to be ashamed of. The youth netminder kept his group in a diversion each step of a approach and done a whopping 38 saves, several of a eye-popping variety.

“Without a goaltender, who knows where it would have been,” McCarthy said. “I suspicion he was a usually one who unequivocally kept us close, and a usually one on a group who played really, unequivocally well.”

Added Lane: “Their goalie played phenomenal. Sheridan unequivocally tender me tonight.”

Matt McCarthy had North Middlesex’s best event to measure with 7 seconds left in a period. The youth brazen slipped by a Wachusett invulnerability and dismissed a bullet on net. But his shot sizzled into a glove of Putman, who done certain a puck didn’t kick him to a distant post.

“We were prohibited and cold all year long,” Mike McCarthy said. “When we played well, we were unequivocally tough to beat. When we didn’t play a game, we were most easier to beat.

“The credit goes to Wachusett for personification a diversion a right way, for removing pucks low into a territory and creation a defensemen work, removing pucks out of their territory really successfully during all occasions, and creation us follow them all diversion long. They tranquil a gait and dash of a diversion all diversion long.”

Brian Walter had a good defensive play early in a period. The comparison defenseman forsaken to a ice with Wachusett on a 2-on-1 rush and bodied adult a puck to mangle adult a pass.

Sheridan was so good throughout, he was greeted to chants of “Joey, Joey, Joey” by a vast and eager North Middlesex tyro entertaining section, all embellished out in white.

It wasn’t a clever start for a Patriots, who yielded 14 shots in a initial period. Luckily, zero could get by Sheridan, who stood on his conduct in a initial 15 mins to keep a Mountaineers off a scoreboard.

Sheridan went to work early, fluctuating his left leg to get a movement on a high-percentage shot by Paul Happy. Moments later, Sheridan used his glove to waylay a clever wrist shot by a shade by Ryan Kosinski.

Later in a period, Sheridan kept doing his pursuit by any means necessary. He attacked Iacaboni on a rush down a left wing and afterwards went to a dive to stop another Mountaineer shot.

North Middlesex, with a offense stalling, mustered usually 5 shots in a initial period. In a third period, Wachusett authorised usually 4 shots on goal.

Happy, Kosinski, David Philbin and Marc Richards were a pivotal defensemen who perplexed North Middlesex’s forwards all night long.

“We’ve been operative on it a lot, tightening adult in a D-zone,” Lane said.

A day after Christmas, North Middlesex handed Wachusett a 3-1 detriment during a Wallace in a usually regular-season matchup between a teams.

Follow Chad Garner on Twitter and Tout @CGARNER23.

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