In a crossover matchup of Bay State League division leaders, the upstart Norwood (11-2-4, 8-0-4) boys' hockey team kept its unbeaten league mark intact and put a dent in eighth-ranked Needham's Super 8 resume, with a 4-3 win in Wellesley Wednesday night.
The Mustangs' relentless forecheck from the jump allowed them to frustrate the Rockets into numerous turnovers in the neutral zone.
That early pressure led to early goals as Peter Kelly and Mike Murray scored 35 seconds apart, giving Norwood a 2-0 lead before four minutes had run off the clock.
“To get off on a quick foot like that was good,” said Norwood coach Bill Clifford. “I told our kids to go to the net, get shots on the net, and we’ve been doing that the last few games and it’s paying off for us.”
The Rockets (12-3, 9-2) came out with more purpose in the second period, tightening the reins on defense and creating more plays in the offensive zone.
Chris Lambert put the Rockets on the board at the 7:53 mark, knocking home a bouncing puck on the left doorstep to make it 2-1.
Despite Needham’s continued efforts, the Mustangs were determined to head to the locker room with another two-goal lead when they scored with 1:18 left in the period on a beautiful feed by Tyler Gover (three assists) from behind the net to captain Brendan Cathcart out front, who snapped the puck glove side for a 3-1 lead.
As the period was winding down, Rockets captain Lucas Davis worked the play near the left side of the crease, and with Jordan Davis (21 saves) down to cover his shot, Lucas Davis slid the puck to his right finding James Fisher, who buried it with 12 seconds left in the period.
Once again Norwood got the jump on the Rockets to start the final period and just 2:23 into the frame, Mark Powers worked the puck behind the net, faked to his right, and wrapped the puck in on his left side, putting the Mustangs ahead, 4-2, deflating Needham.
With an extra attacker on the ice, Needham cocaptain Timmy Parlato scored with just 12.6 seconds remaining in the game.
“We did a good job along the boards, our forecheck was good, defense and zone coverage was good,” said Clifford. “They’ve been working hard all year and it’s starting to pay off for them.”
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