Thu, Feb 28, 2008
07:30 PM @
Division 2 North - Round 1
Gloucester rallies in final minute to oust North Reading
Friday, February, 29
By Nick Curcuru
North Reading had to beat Lynnfield and tie Wilmington just to get into the state tournament.
The odds of that seemed slim and none, but the Hornets did it.
But beating third-seeded Gloucester in their Division 2 North first-round matchup would be even more improbable.
Yet, it came down to one play.
Tied at 3-3 with No. 14 North Reading last night, No. 3 Gloucester had a face-off in its offensive zone with 50 seconds left in regulation.
After a timeout, Gloucester center Andrew Fulford won the face-off back to forward Josh Salah, who was playing defense. Winger Brett Biondo, meanwhile, was holding off the North Reading wing, enabling Salah to score from the point.
Fulford added an empty-net goal to give Gloucester the dramatic 5-3 win yesterday at Salem State College's Rockett Arena. The Fishermen will now move on to face Newburyport in the Division 2 North quarterfinals (Sunday, 2:30 p.m.).
Salah said, "I wasn't happy at first being on defense but the puck came to me and I got the shot off."
North Reading head coach Frank Golden could only tip his hat to the victorious Fishermen.
"They executed the play perfectly," Golden said. "We needed to win that draw, but (Fulford) did a good job winning it and they got the shot off. That's hockey."
The Hornets were down 3-1 in the third period but were able to claw their way back into the game.
Fred Hein cut the lead to one early in the third on a one-timer. Then Tyler Pascucci tied the game at three with just over four minutes to play. With the Hornets on the power play, Pascucci was able to secure a loose puck in front of the net and wrist it just over the glove of Bradley Robertson.
"This is the state tournament, nobody quits," Lowe said. "(North Reading) is very good for a 14-seed, they were coming on at the end of the regular season and we were lucky to get by them tonight."
Golden was proud of the way his Hornets played recently, including the tie with top-seeded Wilmington and the win over No. 5 Lynnfield.
"We have been playing our playoffs for two weeks now," Golden said. "We had to fight to get in and that play carried over to tonight. While the loss is disappointing, there are a lot of positives to take away from this game. I'm proud of the way we didn't quit down two goals."
The Hornets got on the board first late in the first when defenseman Jeff Leonard scored on a wrist shot from the point to make it 1-0 after one period.
Gloucester battled back when Salah tied the game just 20 seconds into the second period. Biondo gave Gloucester a 2-1 lead when he spun around a defender and wristed a shot past goalie Garrett Topping. Conor Ressel's goal made it 3-1 early in the third.