Walpole Loses Heartbreaker to Crosstown Rival in Postseason

A+Walpole+and+Norwood+player+battle+for+the+puck.

A Walpole and Norwood player battle for the puck.

Matt Brownsword

A Walpole and Norwood player battle for the puck.
Walpole and Norwood players battle for the puck.

 

 

In the end, the slipper did not fit.  The script was left, unfinished, so desperately close to being ended.

Boys Hockey lost a hotly contested battle against Norwood on Friday in Gallo Arena in Bourne. The 10th seeded Rebels found out that their opponent would be the seventh seeded Mustangs on Tuesday of that week, and the players were ecstatic. Many of the players who voiced their emotions on twitter were full of excitement, ready to make amends on the embarrasing home loss that they had suffered against Norwood on senior night.

However, it was not to be. The game was a 3-2 overtime loss, a heartbreaking and disappointing defeat for a squad that had such a promising start to the regular season. Norwood thoroughly dominated the first half, but only scored on a deflected shot from near the blue line that went through senior goalie Ray Mortali’s legs. It was a power play goal that followed a penalty on junior Pat Baker. Walpole could hardly accrue a shot on net as the two teams went into the first intermission with the score 1-0 Norwood.

In the second period, Walpole found a little bit of rhythm and senior John Macdonald slid the puck past a diving Norwood goalie to equalize. Right after, Norwood reinstituted their lead off a rebound off the back boards that gave the Norwood forward an empty net. The period ended 2-1 Norwood after an excellent save to deny senior Matt Bender a tying goal. Walpole gained a little more of the possession but Norwood still controlled the game.

The third period was more of the same, with Walpole generating very few oppurtunities. Senior Tom Farrow was instrumental in keeping the Norwood lead at just one in the beginning of the period. Finally, Walpole made the most of a moment of sustained possession with junior Tommy MacNamara knocking in a goal off a rebound from Norwood’s goalie that tied the game up. The period ended chippy, and both goalies traded stops that kept the score tied, sending the game to overtime.

Both teams, especially Walpole, looked gassed in the overtime, a biproduct of being under pressure for most of the game. Head Coach Ron Dowd decided to play exclusively seniors and Baker, the players who had hustled and played the hardest for the majority of the game. After back and forth chances that followed the face-off, Norwood resumed their domineering performance and possessed the puck in the Walpole attacking third. After a scrum that send senior Captain Alex Carde into the boards, appearing injured, Norwood’s John Galvin sent a slapshot from close range into the upper corner. As the Norwood players piled on each other in the middle of the ice, Walpole hung their heads and looked tired and thoroughly defeated.

Norwood was clearly the better team in a less chippy game than most had anticipated; the two games in the regular season featured copious amounts of penalty box time for both squads for excessively rough play, but this game lacked that bite, probably a result of nerves and the fear of costing their team the game. Norwood played as if they were on a power play the whole game, and only from a combination of grit and determination did Walpole stay into the game and send it into OT.

Although the ‘Miracle-esque’ script could not be written—an ending that Mr. Alan’s hockey documentary crew were certainly hoping for—the boys overcame a terrible season last year and the arrival of a new coach and new system to make into the state playoffs for the first time in three years.

No one expected for the US to beat the Soviets in the Olympics at Lake Placid, just as almost no one but the ardent Walpole supporter thought that Walpole would beat a very in-form Norwood team. This time, the script could not be finished.