Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Malloy Lifts Grafton Past Ipswich in OT of Championship Rematch

By Andrew Bowman (@andrew_bowman5)

Grafton, Mass. - It was a cold night for the rematch of the Division 3 state championship between the Grafton Indians and the Ipswich Tigers and, like last year, Monday night’s game was decided by a single goal.

Junior Grafton middie Johnny Malloy netted the game winning goal in overtime, giving Grafton an 8-7 win over Ipswich, and a measure of revenge for last year's defeat at Boston University.

The game started as a defensive battle, as Ipswich’s senior captain Aidan McAdams made 7 saves in the first half. After 2 quarters, the game was deadlocked at 2 a piece.

The second half was a different story, as the offenses found their respective rhythms. The third quarter started with a quick goal from Ipswich’s Kevin Swenson, his second of the game. However, Grafton dominated the rest of the third quarter as they scored 4 unanswered goals, two from senior attackman Tyler Hart, as the Indians grabbed a 6-3 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Much of the fourth quarter was controlled by Ipswich, as they scored 3 unanswered goals to tie the game at 6 with four minutes left in the game. Tyler Hart then scored his third of the game to give Grafton the lead with 2:30 left. Just a minute later, senior Pat Gillis scored his fourth to tie the game at 7. Ipswich had an opportunity late in the game to take the lead, but Grafton’s Matt Nicalek made a huge save with his helmet to help send the game to overtime.

Ipswich started overtime with the ball, as a penalty on Grafton carried over from the fourth quarter. However, Nicalek made another save to keep Grafton in the game. The senior finished with 10 total saves.

“We saw what we had to work on out there," Nicalek said of the Grafton defense, which replaced all three starting poles from a season ago. "We had a couple of bad plays here and there, but it’s only the first game of the season so we’ll figure it out.”

“We graduated three defense, so we knew that was going to be a point of emphasis,” Grafton head coach Alan Rotatori added. “I’m pretty happy with the progress of that group.”

Then it was junior Johnny Malloy who scored the game-winner in overtime, his third of the game.

“Our offense is pretty strong this year, it’s always been strong,” Malloy commented after the game. “We got a lot of things to work on and we got a lot more games to go, but I think we’re looking pretty solid.”

It was a great first win for Grafton, and coach Rotatori was impressed by his players, but also mentioned that there were places where the team needed to improve.

“I thought it was pretty well played for the first game of the season," Rotatori said. "There was a little bit of rust, and we weren’t used to the up and down pace of a game like this. But you can’t replace the hustle and the heart that you saw on the field, so that’s a great start for us.”

Grafton will play its second game of the season at Nipmuc on Thursday.

1 comment :

Michelle Cadrin-Msumba said...

Very well written piece by the new author! Great job Grafton - we are all looking forward to a fun and successful season!