After a long season the North Squirt Falcons began their playoff run in the Lion Division of the Yankee Conference, entering as the fourth seed out of five teams. They opened the preliminaries with a convincing 4-1 victory over Braintree. Following a 4-2 loss to Barnstable, the Falcons rebounded with a5-3 victory over the Canal Sharks. With impressive scoring and even stingier defense, the Falcons advanced to the championship game.
The championship game featured the very team North opened the season against seven months ago. On that early morning in September, North fell 5-0 to Weymouth 1, but this day was different. The Falcons relied on the early stellar goaltending of Nick Piazza, a member of the USA Hockey Zero club, who made several important saves to steady the Falcons.
The Falcons Collin Moura opened the scoring on a rush allowing him to slide it past the Weymouth goaltender. The Falcons then turned to the staunch defense of John Igoe, Shane Walsh, Steven Bridges and Ryan Young to maintain the lead. This group stepped up on the blue line throughout the playoff run.
Weymouth tied the game at 1-1, but the Falcons responded. The positioning and strong net drives of Declan Gill and Eric Thompson nearly resulted in the go-ahead goal, but the Falcons later took a 2-1 lead on when Connor Ward broke in alone for his first goal of the game. He padded the lead with a highlight reel goal in the third period, roofing a breakaway shot off the crossbar and in.
Weymouth battled back to bring the score to 3-2. North's Joey Brooks and Brayden Meech buckled down with intense back checking in the defensive zone. In the third period, with Weymouth on an odd man rush, first-year and the team's Most Improved Player Jillian Parker flew the length of the ice, catching the puck carrier and breaking up the play with a diving stick check.
The Falcons then faced one last challenge, going short-handed for the closing minutes of the third period. The Falcons not only killed the penalty, but did one better. Forward Sam Clarke battled hard to beat two players, win the puck and slide it over to Jake Gruber. Gruber beat another defender and then the goalie glove-side for the short-handed tally and sealing the victory.
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