MIAA D3 Tournament Sweet 16: Shawsheen Blanks BVT 3-0

Billerica, MA – MassNZ made one last trip to close out the Sweet 16 in the MIAA State Tournament to watch top-tier action between the Beavers of Blackstone Valley Tech and the Rams of Shawsheen. The Rams entered this game as the two seed and the Beavers entered as the 15 seed. The atmosphere pregame was palpable – the stands were packed and both teams brought big student groups who were vocal from the opening drop of the puck. Some of the students even brought megaphones? Talk about next level fandom. This game felt like it was a powder keg ready to explode and we were officially ready for puck drop.

In the first period, both teams came out flying and playing at a pace that seemed like it might be adrenaline-fueled but they were able to keep the pace up for all 15 minutes. Both teams were able to create chances off the rush but the Grade A chances were limited due to good physicality around the net and great defensive sticks as well. As the period wore on, both sides ramped up the physicality and it led to penalties but no shots ended up behind either goaltender. It was a fast and exciting first period, but we would find ourselves still tied after one period at 0-0.

In the second period, there was a sense of urgency shown by both teams and the physicality continued to accelerate. The pace had not slowed down and both teams were chasing down loose pucks and firing them at the net from all angles. Both forechecks were fast and heavy and ensured defensemen had to make quick decisions with the puck. One tactic that also became evident for us was how Shawsheen looked to use their speed by hovering a forward at the attacking blue line for quick home run passes and that’s exactly how they got on the board first. Just 4:40 into the period it was senior sniper Chase Darcey who fired a shot top shelf after slipping a check off a long outlet pass from junior defender Larry Cullity to give the Rams the 1-0 lead. Following the goal, the Rams could smell blood in the water and picked up the scale of their attack. They pressured the zone even harder and pinched aggressively to keep pucks in. BVT came right back with a couple of quality rushes that were squashed by strong sticks and good positioning. About eight minutes later, the Rams would pad their lead as it was that man again Darcey who took advantage on the power play by finding a point shot by Cullity and tipping it in front to make it 2-0 Rams. The Beavers were on their heels (do beavers have heels?) and Shawsheen would cash in again 36 seconds later as a netfront battle ensued and last touch belonged to sophomore Justin Thibert at the front of the net: 3-0 Rams. The last few minutes of the period, BVT pushed back hard and cranked some high shots on goalie Michael Cedrone, but they were all turned away. Next up was the third and the Beavers would need to get off to a strong start to get back in this game.

In the final frame, BVT came out of the gate with a couple of good shifts, but once Shawsheen got into a rhythm, it was really difficult to take the puck away from them. The Rams activated the cycle early in the period and relied on it heavily as the period wore on. There were stretches where they were moving the puck with such pace that they were able to cycle through a line change and continue creating pressure. Full marks to sophomore netminder Finn Lozeau who shut the door on them despite being under attack for long stretches. That cycle not only kept the puck 200 feet from where it needed to be for BVT but it bled the clock quickly. And despite creating a nice cycle of their own late in the period, the period progressed quickly and BVT ran out of clock. The final was Shawsheen 3, Blackstone Valley Tech 0, with Cedrone pitching the shutout. The Rams now advance to face Medfield in the Elite 8 at Loring Arena on Wednesday.

Three Stars:

  1. F Chase Darcey, Shawsheen
  2. G Michael Cedrone, Shawsheen
  3. D Larry Cullity, Shawsheen