Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Acton-Boxborough Edges Catholic Memorial in OT

By Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7)

WEST ROXBURY, Mass. – Catholic Memorial badly needed a win on Senior Night. 

Coming into a home game against Acton-Boxborough at 9-10, a victory would be their only chance to earn consideration from the MIAA state tournament selection committee. 

Yet the visiting Colonials played the role of spoiler in a thriller, edging the host Knights, 8-7, in overtime on Tuesday night to end their season. 

The Knights (9-11) were playing like their season depended on it early on, as captain Colin Casey scored to tie the contest, 2-2, late in the first quarter and midway through the second, long stick midfielder Kevin McCarthy scooped up a ground ball and raced down half the field to score.

Despite trailing 5-2 late in the second quarter, the Colonials (14-3) continued to plug away while goalie Tim Fenniman (12 saves) kept the game close. 

In the third quarter A-B began to dictate play while keeping the Knights off the scoreboard to make it 5-4 heading into the final frame.

“[The Knights] defense was making our offense uncomfortable and we were turning the ball over,” said Colonials head coach Pat Ammendolia. “We adjusted a little bit at halftime and the kids fought back.”

While Sam Witt (two goals) has been the star for A-B all year, it was another attack in Jake Erickson who played the role of hero in this contest. 

Erickson scored the sole goal of the third quarter and netted the equalizer in the fourth to make it 5-5, but he was far from done.

The Knights fell behind, 6-5, on a goal from Cole Cormier (2 goals), but rallied back on to take the lead on tallies from seniors Mike O’Brien and Colin Casey (2 goals).

CM was able to cling to that 7-6 lead until the final minute of the fourth quarter, but the Colonials blitzed the ball carrier to force a turnover and earn one last shot at overtime.

“That’s a situation that you practice,” said Ammendolia. “We were able to double the ball with our goalie get it back and set something up before Jake made another great play.”

On a timeout before the game-tying score, Ammendolia said he planned to draw something up for Witt but the Colonials star suggested going to Erickson instead. The move paid off, as Erickson found Carson Bishoff to tie the game, 7-7, with 29 seconds remaining to force overtime. 

In the overtime period, Erickson ad-libbed once again on a roll to his left, beating Knights goalie Matt Freitas (8 saves) to net the game-winner in overtime.

“I was trying to coach them into certain things and those weren’t working and they kind of ad-libbed into things that work, so this win is kind of on them,” Ammendolia said. “Credit to the kids. I’m proud of them and Erickson was hot today.”

A loss in their final game of the regular season eliminates the Knights from postseason contention with a losing record, but they still earned the praise of the opposing coach. 

“[CM] is a heck of a program that plays a tough schedule and is way better than their record shows,” Ammendolia effused. “They did a great job of dictating play and forcing us into mistakes. This is a huge win for us and a great way to get ready for the tourney.”

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