By Cary Shuman
St. Mary’s goaltender Andrew LoRusso stood by his net for a minute and then skated slowly to the other end of the ice following the second period of Monday’s Division 1 North championship game versus Andover.
LoRusso was the last of the 40 players to leave the ice and head to the lockerroom. The senior had just played a tremendous stretch of hockey against an Andover team that had unleashed 15 shots from all angles.
“I was a little tired but we gained strength in between periods and came out flying again,” said LoRusso, who helped the Spartans beat Andover, 2-0.
LoRusso has been on a Ken Dryden-like (see 1971 Stanley Cup playoffs) run for the Spartans in victories over Reading (in overtime), Triton, Arlington Catholic, and Andover.
“Playoff hockey is all about goaltending and to have him in the pipes for us just gives us a lot of confidence,” said St. Mary’s coach Mark Lee.
“Andrew LoRusso is the man,” said sophomore Colin Reddy after his teammate’s sensational 27-save performance that stymied the Warriors for three periods.
LoRusso said his teammates helped him throughout the fast-paced game.
“I couldn’t have done this without my forwards and defensemen in front of me because they blocked some shots and kept the puck toward the boards,” said LoRusso, who noted the contributions of defensemen Andrew Kramer, Kyle Ouellette, Marc Zampanti, Nicholas Scali, Kory Ouellette, and Richard Pagliuca.
LoRusso was well supported in the Tsongas Center stands.
“My whole, entire family came to watch me and it’s a very cool moment,” said LoRusso.
LoRusso said the first Andover shot of the game hit the crossbar. “That woke me up. I kind of padded the crossbar after that one. I knew right away that they were going to shoot high so I focused on that the rest of the game.”
LoRusso thanked his coaches, head coach Mark Lee and goaltending coach Devin Anno, for their support and instruction.
“Mr. Lee and Mr. Anno have helped me out a lot on and off the ice,” said LoRusso. “Coach Lee is the best coach I’ve ever had. And Coach Anno has made me a better goaltender.”
Andover goalie Ryan Laramie, who also played magnificently, credited LoRusso for his work at the other end of the ice.
“I think he did a great job,” said Laramie. “My hat’s off to them, They played good defense. They kept us out of the middle of the ice which is where we wanted to go. They played a good game and he [LoRusso] was great tonight.”
LoRusso will make his final start in net for the Spartans in the Division 1 state championship game Sunday against Framingham at the TD Garden.
“I’m very excited – last year was an unbelievable experience but this year I hope is going to be a bounce back,” said LoRusso. “Framingham is an excellent team.”