The game had it all: sudden death overtime; a duel between two of the top attackmen in the conference (Peabody’s Kiefer Heckman and Salem’s Chad Coelho); and great, heart-stopping saves made by both goalkeepers.
Heckman (5 goals, 3 assists) and Coelho (8 goals) tried to outdo each other with some extraordinary individual play, but Heckman would get the last laugh when he pumped in the game-winner in overtime.
Peabody goalie Evan Connolly, who had struggled at times during the contest, stopped the Witches’ Peter Slattery on the doorstep in overtime, leading to Heckman’s heroics. Salem keeper Will Meadowcroft also had an off-night, but he too saved his team with a point-blank stop on Josh Fiore with just over a minute left in the fourth quarter to set up Coelho’s game-tying goal.
The teams were like two sides of the same coin. The goalies, the two great attackers and the never-say-die attitudes of both squads showed just how similar the two teams were — both of whom were scratching and clawing for the best possible seed in the East Division 1 Tournament.
Both teams finished the regular season at 11-9 and would bow out in first round of the East Division 1 playoffs. But that doesn’t take any excitement away from what was the best Northeastern Conference bout of any sport I saw all season.