Entering the third period down 3-1, the Acton-Boxboro boys’ hockey team scored three unanswered goals to shock Woburn 4-3 in front of their home crowd in a Division 1 North quarterfinal game at O’Brien Rink on Monday night.
Just seconds after Jeremy Flibotte made five big saves to squash a prior Colonials (12-8-2) power play opportunity, the Tanners (13-6-2) got called for too many men on the ice and Tyler McKelvie made it count, flicking a shot from inside the right circle for the game-winning goal with 3:23 remaining on the clock.
“We earned our way in here,” said Acton-Boxboro coach Bob Lavin. “We had a lot of tough games leading up to this one and our kids responded.”
The penalties did-in Woburn from the get-go as Adam Tanner was sent to the box just nine seconds into the game for an elbow.
Colonials’ defenseman Peter Sikalis pushed the puck up through the neutral zone on the left wing and just as he passed over the blue line, unloaded a slap shot over Flibotte’s left shoulder for a 1-0 lead with only 1:30 expired from the clock.
Six minutes into the first, Tanners center Casey Shea picked up the puck in his own zone and skated up ice, crossing from right to left at the red line where he accelerated past a defender, cut in tight to the net and lifted the puck over the shoulder of Erik Wurman to tie the score at one.
Danny Holland put the Tanners in front 2-1 when he took a pass from Joe Connors up ice and blasted a shot past Wurman on his glove-side with 6:09 left in the second period.
“Casey Shea and Danny Holland are great players,” said Lavin. “They burnt us a couple of times.”
Thirty-seven seconds later Shea knocked home a rebound for his second goal of the game, and fourth of the postseason, putting Woburn in control with a 3-1 lead heading into the third period.
“They weren’t down, they were focused,” said Lavin of his teams' mood in the locker room prior to the final period. “They knew that they could play so there was no “we felt like we’re out of this” [attitude] with 15 minutes to play.”
The Colonials got another quick power-play goal, this time from Travis Scott Hamilton just 0:41 seconds into the third.
T.J. Barrett pulled Acton-Boxboro even when he scored a short-handed goal, set up beautifully by Sikalis, with 6:09 left in the game.
“The key was that shorthanded goal, it got the kids fired up,” said Lavin. “That’s a huge momentum changer to score a shorthanded goal when you’re down.”
The Tanners had a great chance to tie the game when Shea pushed the puck up and skated in alone on a breakaway, but Wurman (30 saves) stopped him with a right pad save to preserve the lead and ultimately the victory.
“Eric did a great job,” said Lavin. “He’s quick side-to-side and on that play, Casey likes to shift the puck and he made a good save.”
After knocking out Reading and Woburn to start their tournament, Acton-Boxboro will play a third straight Middlesex League team as they face off against Burlington on Wednesday at the Chelmsford Forum in a 7:10 p.m. semifinal game.
Several reporters and editors contribute updates, news and analysis to the High School Sports Blog.
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- Zuri Berry: Berry attended the same high school as sports legends O.J. Simpson and Joe DiMaggio. (Guess which one is his hero.) He's a South Boston resident (formerly of Eastie) and the editor of the High School Sports blog as well as the go-to-guy for everything high school sports on Boston.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GlobeSchools for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our winter correspondents:
- Emily McCarthy | @EmilyMcCahthy | BPS correspondent
- Jake Fischer | @GlobeFischer | Boys basketball
- Michelle Fenelon | @michfenelon | Girls basketball
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Boys hockey
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls hockey
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