Leahy Leads Lawrence to Small School Championship

At times this season it looked as if Lawrence Academy Spartans would not make it to the playoffs especially after a 5-9-1 stretch after the holiday break but they finished the year playing their best hockey and ran the table in the Small School Tournament with an overtime win over Frederick Gunn School in a close faught 3-2 game.

The game started off even; both teams playing fast and physical but the end result after the first was a 0-0 tie. Lawrence got on the board first when Marek Thompson carried the puck up the left side wall through the neutral zone and made a crisp crossing pass to senior Clarence Beltz who scored a bullet one-timer with 12:57 remaining in the period. Gunnery would respond just three short minutes later when Alex LoGuercio got a pass in the slot from the halfwall from Mark Pizzo and fired it by the Lawrence netminder. It was an outstanding pass and rallied the Frederick Gunn bench taking momentum for the rest of the period.

Both teams came out in third period looking to get the first goal and take the lead and it was Alex LoGuercio yet again for Frederick Gunn, this time with 12:13 remaining in the final period off a centering pass from Mark Pizzo ON the wall where he caught the puck in tight, moved to his backhand and scored over the goalies pad.

The Highlanders didn’t let up and were able to capture the next goal just three minutes later when Kyle Smyth got the puck behind the net and made a quick stick wrap around play that beat the goalie.

With less than nine minutes remaining, Lawrence found themselves down by two and weren’t able to generate much momentum but that all changed on a line rush when Lawerence threw the puck on net, crashed hard and Owen Leahy made a high effort diving rebound score to bring the game to within one.

Lawrence kept the pressure on and had a few more chances but with under a minute remaining the Spartans were still down by a goal. With 22 seconds remaining Shawn Leary carried the puck into the zone tried to cut up the middle and the puck went out to Josh Erickson who feathered a perfectly placed wrister just over the goalies pad and tucked it inside the near post to send the game into overtime.

In the overtime period both teams exchanged quality chances but with eight minutes remaining Owen Leahy got a puck in the neutral zone – carried through the middle of the ice at speed beating the Gunnery defender with speed and separating to go in on a mini-breakaway. He went in alone on the goalie, deked right to left and snuck the puck just under him for the game winner.

It was an exciting game start to finish and credit to Lawerence for rebounding late in the season and also coming back from down two goals with under ten minutes remaining and finding the win in overtime.

Three Stars of the Game:

1st Star: Owen Leahy, F, Lawrence Academy

2nd Star: Alex LoGuercio, F, Frederick Gunn

3rd Star: Josh Erickson, F, Lawrence Academy

Photo Credit: Dan Hickling/Hickling Images