By Cary Shuman
The St. Mary’s High School boys hockey earned a trip to the TD Garden with a 2-0 victory over Andover in the Division 1 North final Monday night at the Tsongas Center in Lowell.
Sophomore Colin Reddy scored a goal with 6:56 left in the first period and senior goaltender Andrew LoRusso stopped 27 shots to spark St. Mary’s to an exciting victory. Senior captain Michael Zampanti scored an open-net goal with nine seconds left to secure the win and send St. Mary’s on to the Garden for the second year in row.
Reddy, who played in last year’s state final at the Garden (a 4-3 loss to Franklin in double overtime) was excited to score the goal that stood up as the game winner thanks to St. Mary’s defensive performance.
“It’s unbelievable – the biggest goal of my career by far,” said Reddy. “I have to thank my linies (Mike Zampanti and Anthony Bono). Zamp set the whole thing up with an unbelievable pass. I just shot it, looking for a spot and it went in. I flipped it over the goalie top left.”
Reddy, whose brother, All-State lineman Liam Reddy, led St. Mary’s football to a Super Bowl appearance in December, is happy to help the seniors return to the Garden for an opportunity to win a state championship.
“They’re the best leaders,” said Reddy. “I just hope we take care of business.”
St. Mary’s defensemen Andrew Kramer, Marc Zampanti, Nicholas Scali, and Kyle Oullette helped LoRusso keep a high-scoring Andover team off the board.
Sophomore forward Nicky Napolitano made an outstanding defensive play in the final minute to block an Andover shot. Bono also aided the defense with some blocks and his skill in skating the puck away from Andover pressure. Senior Dante Maribito, the reigning MVP, was also a standout, creating scoring opportunties and showcasing his speed and stickhandling skills.
Andover coach Chris Kuchar praised the Spartans and felt both goalies (Andrew LoRusso and Zach Laramie) were immense in the game.
“St. Mary’s is an outstanding hockey team,” said Kuchar. “Both goaltenders made really good saves. We hit a crossbar that didn’t go in to the net, obviously, but it was a great high school hockey game. We tried to attack the net and every time we made a run at the front of the net, their goalie was there to clear it away or they had bodies in front that cleared it away.”
The Spartans will play Framingham High in the state final. St. Mary’s coach Mark Lee will be coaching in his 700th game for the Spartans on Sunday at the Garden. He has 425 victories in his illustrious career that began in 1986.
“We’ve just battled all year,” said Lee. “We scheduled five of the top six teams from the Super 8 and we competed against them. It’s a team that showed a lot of character all year long. I had a special feeling with this group. Many of the players were there last year and the way it ended last year, a lot of these kids have carried that with them all year, losing in double overtime like that. The added incentive played a part in our post-season success. There’s no group that deserves a second chance at the Garden more. They’ve worked so hard during the toughest schedule we’ve ever had and I think it helped prepare them for the tournament.”