“From my perspective, he was pushed in or accompanied in, but we’re at an odd angle from the bench so it’s difficult to say. If the puck was in the crease was unclear, so I don’t want to question the referee,” said Lynch.
“Am I disappointed? Absolutely.”
Sparked by a successful kill of a St. Mary’s 5-on-3 chance midway through the third, Fenwick found its legs and played some of its best hockey in the final six minutes. The Crusaders couldn’t score on a 4-on-3 of their own and went 0-for-5 on the power play for the game. The Spartans, on the other hand, netted the winner on the man advantage with Beverly native Shawn MacBurnie’s backhand goal late in the second period.
Junior goalie Pat O’Leary was outstanding for the Crusaders with 23 stops. He stopped the first 16 shots he saw before St. Mary’s finally scored on Andrew Markham’s blast midway through the second. It was one of the only times the Crusader defense allowed a good screen in front of O’Leary — and St. Mary’s cashed in.
“We had a number of opportunities early in the game and we couldn’t get it behind him,” said Spartans coach Mark Lee. “You have to tip your cap to Fenwick. They’re a hard working team.”
O’Leary made 10 saves in the first and did an excellent job tracking the puck with his eyes. “He was fantastic,” said Lynch. “We put him in a difficult position last year as a sophomore and he’s come out of it a mature, solid goalie. I wouldn’t trade him for anybody.”
Peabody’s Jordan Manthorne, skating for St. Mary’s, earned an assist on Markham’s goal and had the Crusaders’ attention on every shift. Lynch matched defensemen Jake Brennan and Nick Coccolutto with him and was generally pleased with the way his top pair performed.