BOURNE – Medfield's Toby Carlow and Westwood's Mike Welby both knew Thursday's first round game between their boys' hockey teams in the MIAA Division 3 South Sectional State Tournament would be close.
Just not this close.
Medfield edged rival Westwood, 2-1 in the fifth round of a shootout to advance to Sunday's quarterfinal round against Scituate at 12:15 p.m. at Gallo Arena in Bourne.
Thursday's first round thriller was all about the goaltenders as Medfield's Conor Roddy and Westwood's Will Ribas, a freshman, each stood on their heads – allowing just one goal apiece in 57 minutes of play.
In a physical game, where goals were hard to come by, Medfield jumped on the board first when Cam Donnelly beat Ribas stick side with 8:37 to play in the first period. The goal was assisted by Brian McCloud and Chris Diana. Carlow's Warriors sustained momentum throughout the first period, out playing their TVL rivals in the first 15 minutes of play.
But Westwood responded in the second, applying more pressure to Medfield's defense. After controlling the tempo for the majority of the period and drawing two Medfield penalties, the Wolverines' hard work paid off with 1:49 remaining in the period when Sean Fitzgerald's shot squeezed past Roddy to even the score at one apiece.
Roddy and Ribastook over in the third period and overtime, turning away countless scoring chances and keeping the game tied through the next 27 minutes of play to force one of hockey's most exciting finishes – a shootout.
As the away team, Westwood was first to shoot and sent its lone goal scorer of the night to center ice. Fitzgerald skated in on Roddy, deked right and dragged the puck left ... he had Medfield's goalkeeper beat, but rang the puck off the post.
Medfield sent Ben Cox out to shoot first and his backhand attempt deflected high off Ribas and up over the net.
Westwood countered with Ken Mackin (kick save by Roddy), Brendan Dalton (pad save by Roddy), Jake Drew (pad save, glove side by Roddy) and Theo Treon (backhander missed the net wide).
Medfield went with Matt Crowell (save by Ribas), John Buchanan (backhander deflected by Ribas) and Chris Diana (no shot, lost control of puck).
Then in the fifth round, after Westwood's Treon missed the net on his backhanded attempt, Tyler Etzkorn took center ice. He skated in on Ribas methodically, shifting from left to right before making his move – a backhander that beat the Westwood goalie on his glove side and propelled the Warriors into Sunday's quarterfinal round against Scituate – ended the Wolverines' season.
Medfield, this year's Tri-Valley League champions and the number one seed in the tournament, swept Westwood with a pair of 3-1 victories in the regular season and Thursday's 2-1 shootout victory in the state tournament.
To view the MIAA Division 3 South Sectional Boys' Hockey State Tournament brackets, _click here_.
Score by Period
1st - Medfield 1, Westwood 0
2nd - Medfield 1, Westwood 1
3rd - Medfield 1, Westwood 1
Overtime - Medfield 1, Westwood 1
Shootout - Medfield 1, Westwood 0
Final - Medfield 2, Westwood 1
Medfield - Cam Donnelly (1st period, 8:37 to play); Tyler Etzkorn (Shootout, game-winner)
Westwood - Sean Fitzgerald (2nd period, 1:49 to play)
Thursday's Game was All About the Goaltenders
Medfield's Conor Roddy stopped 21 out of 22 shots through the first three periods Thursday and all five shootout attempts. Westwood's Will Ribas stopped 19 out of 20 shots through the first three periods and three out of four shootout attempts.
Next Up, Scituate
Medfield, the tournament's number one seed, will play Scituate, the seventh seed on Sunday at Gallo Arena (12:15 p.m.) in the quarterfinals. Scituate beat Middleboro, the ninth seed, 7-1 in the first round.