Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Shrewsbury Staves Off Marlboro's Upset Bid in Double OT

By Nick Beaudoin (@beaudoin91_)

FITCHBURG, Mass. – The first period of tonight’s Division 3 Central semifinal did not go as planned for the Shrewsbury Colonials.

But, despite a Herculean effort from Marlboro goalie Owen O'Brien, Shrewsbury came out on top, 2-1 in double overtime, thanks to a game-winner by Anthony Quinlivan.

The top-seeded Colonials seemed to have momentum through the first 8 minutes of the game, as Marlboro had not produced a shot on goal until the 7:30 mark of the first period. Marlboro came into the game with defense on their minds, and it showed. The Panthers continued to dump and chase, forcing the Colonials into mistakes, then capitalizing on them.

The first chance Marlboro came on a 3 on 2 exiting the zone once a penalty kill ended and left forward Matt Ward back on defense. That produced a quality scoring chance for the Panthers, but Shrewsbury goaltender Pat Shaughnessy stepped up to end the period, making two huge saves. One save coming off a nice effort by Pat McCarthy, who produced a hard shot in the slot off a turnover in the neutral zone. The other came from Luke Goulet with under 30 seconds left in the period off a bad pinch in the offensive zone by Shrewsbury defenseman James Abbott. Goulet came in, deeked the remaining Colonial defender and launched a backhand shot high blocker side on Shaughnessy.

The start of the second period was a wild one.

An early scoring chance came from Liam Quinlivan off a nice individual effort that seemed to bring some momentum the Colonials way after the intermission. Shrewsbury powered through the next few minutes and generated two scoring chances, both coming from their top line of Matt Ward, Liam Quinlivan and Anthony Quinlivan, along with defenseman Alec Buduo from the point. Jack Tepper’s tripping penalty at 11:37 in the second gave the Panthers their first look at the power play. With an interesting power play format and an aggressive kill for the Colonials, Shrewsbury gained the edge, outshooting Marlboro on their own power play.

But that didn’t slow Marlboro down as Jack Hardy had two nice chances, both off his own shot and by generating his own rebound. The dog fight continued as Shrewsbury came back with Conall Persechino ringing the iron from the slot to really get the crowd into it. Matt Ward answered with another rocket of his own but the boys in white couldn’t seem to get the puck past Owen O’Brien, who was playing extremely well to this point, stopping all 22 shots faced.

Liam and Anthony Quinlivan trade offensive outbursts and have dazzling individual efforts but they couldn’t find the back of the net. Finally, it seemed they had broken the ice with under a minute left in the period from Anthony Quinlivan, but the goal was taken back immediately on a high sticking call.

The teams headed to the final frame tied.

The third period was electric, but fatigue was definitely a factor. Anthony Quinlivan started the scoring off a nice feed from his brother in the slot to break the seal for Shrewsbury. The offense started to flow for the Colonials and Shaughnessy held his own for the entire game until a 3 on 1 led to a goal by Pat McCarthy, putting the Panthers fans right back into the game.

Huge saves from O’Brien came to close out regulation, as it was all Shrewsbury to end the third period before overtime.

The first overtime was eventful, with Anthony Quinlivan being awarded a penalty shot half way through, but being denied by O’Brien, who finished overtime with a gutsy 38 saves against one of the best offenses in the state.

As the second overtime started, Liam Quinlivan was denied on a break a way but led to a rush later in the period where he found his brother for redemption in the slot and that ended it for what was a headache of a game for the Colonials.

“They have been doing this all year long” said Shrewsbury coach Steve Turnblom of the play from the Panthers. “We had them tested a lot of times but he kept them in it."

With the game on his stick for a second time, Anthony Quinlivan said “I knew I needed to put it home that time.”

When looking ahead to next week’s match up against Wachusett, Quinlivan added “We need to score first, early and often so we can hold on to the lead early."

It should be an exciting match up on the ice, and in the fan sections when these two power houses collide Sunday for the district title.

No comments :