Braintree Slips Past Arlington 3-2, Advances to D1 Elite 8

Arlington, MA – For our third game of the day: MassNZ watched the 11th seeded Braintree Womps travel to the Ed Burns Arena to take on the 6th seeded Arlington Spy Ponders in the D1 Sweet 16. These teams have played twice this year splitting the season series.

Both teams came out full of energy which made for a good paced period. They each seemed to focus on getting pucks deep and forechecking. Braintree would get on the board a few minutes into the game when sophomore Andrew Gaffney picked up a puck high in his zone and passed the puck towards Arlington’s zone sending junior Larry Graziano on a race for the puck. Arlington’s goalie Jake Davies tried to poke check it away and Graziano shot it off his right toe. He then picked up his rebound and found the top shelf over the sprawling goalie, giving Braintree the 1-0 lead. Braintree was called for a trip later in the perios, sending Arlington to the power play, but they would come up empty. The period would end 1-0.

Arlington needed a fast start to the second and they delivered. From the drop of the puck they controlled play. Braintree seemed to be sitting on their lead early in the period, but Arlington kept pushing: pressuring Braintree’s defensemen, looking to create turnovers. They were stretching forwards on their breakouts and caught Braintree napping: resulting in a couple of partial breakaway chances. With 6:27 to go Arlington’s hard work would pay off when senior Drew Fecteau got a pass from senior Ryan Gilbert at the top of the circle. Fecteau put a shot on Braintree senior goalie Ryan Cochrane, and followed it up banging home the rebound to tie the game 1-1. This seemed to wake Braintree up a bit and they started to play more like they did in the first, with high energy and pressure. They did a good job on their forecheck causing Arlington’s defensemen to turn pucks over. Arlington looked a bit tired as the period went on. Braintree would go on the power play with six minutes to go. With some nice puck movement, senior captain Nick Fasano, playing on the half wall, slid the puck down to senior Charlie DiMartino on the goal line. DiMartino took a step to the net and found Graziano sliding behind the coverage, he took the pass and ripped a shot by Davies. Braintree kept their foot on the gas for the last few minutes and played in Arlington’s zone for most of it, carrying the play.

For the first half of the third, Braintree did a solid job of protecting the puck, playing solid defense and getting pucks deep in the Arlington zone. But with 6:49 to go they had a breakdown and Arlington would capitalize. Arlington senior defenseman Barnabus Kiss carried the puck all the way into the Braintree zone, took it wide and found Arlington senior Jake Russell in the slot. Russell beat Cochrane far side to once again tie the game. Braintree stuck with their game plan and kept getting pucks deep and pressuring Arlington’s defense, and with 1:30 to go in the period they would take the lead for good. Junior Sean O’Rourke battled for the puck on the side wall and found sophomore defenseman Matt Harvey open at the point. Harvey shot the puck slightly wide, and it hit an Arlington player and bounced on to his teammate Gaffney’s stick. Gaffney was able to walk the goalie Davies, who was out above the crease and couldn’t get back to the post, and he buried the game winner. Braintree held on for the final minute to get the win and advance to the Elite 8 to play Reading HS: time and date TBD.

Three Stars:

  1. F Larry Graziano, Braintree
  2. F Andrew Gaffney, Braintree
  3. F Nick Fasano, Braintree