Look no further than the scores: In 24 games, the Eagles had a clean sheet 10 times, allowed one goal 13 times and conceded a meager two goals against just once (against Masconomet). Their dominance was complete as they scored four or more goals eight times and three or more on 13 occasions.
They also scored an unheard of six goals against a highly-regarded Acton-Boxboro team.
“That game sticks out. They’d lost in the state finals the year before and had been nationally ranked,” said Crowell. “Even as the game went on it felt like, ‘Is this really happening?’”
Perhaps the greatest compliment came from Algonquin’s head coach after the state final. His team was coming off two straight titles — and he was quoted as saying after the contest that his team was hoping they could break the Prep down once. That’s right: once the entire game.
Aiming for two goals against a team as composed and dialed in as those Eagles was difficult even for a strong opponent.
“The thing that amazed me was the leadership and how composed the team was,” said Crowell. “They figured out how good they were and what they were capable of, and their focus was phenomenal. Everybody was gunning for us — and they didn’t blink. That’s a credit to the seniors.”
There’s plenty to compare and contrast in the lineups, but its also worth looking specifically at the similarities in the postseason runs made by these two North Shore juggernauts. After all, the fact that they made it through the postseason is what sets them apart from all the rest.
For Masco, the 1996 state tournament was a chance to arrive on the state level. The Chieftains had already won their 19th CAL title under Emmons, but had only been to a sectional final once (in the 1980s).