FRAMINGHAM – The largest crowd in the city was at Loring Arena Monday night for the battle of #1 Boston College High and the #8 ranked Framingham High boys ice hockey team.
And it was a fight to the finish, with Framingham holding off the Eagles for the final 2.5 minutes to secure the 2-1 win.
“Playing the #1 team in the state – BC high – that was tough competition,” said Coach Will Ortiz.
Framingham is now 12-2-1 overall.
The Flyers moved up to #6 in the rankings, and could secure a Super 8 ranking come the end of the regular season.
With the loss, the new #1 is Pope Francis. who defeated the Flyers earlier this season. and sitting in the #6 spot in the state.
The Flyers and the Eagles were tied after the first period.
At 11:46 in the second period, Colman Benson broke the tie, giving the Eagles a 1-0 lead.
Senior Brian Tosi tied the game at 11:52 in the third period.
About 90 seconds later, Hunter Balducci scored the game-winner for the Flyers.
“Hunter is a gritty player with a lot of heart,” said head coach Will Ortiz. “he is a good skater who made a great play tonight.”
“That line of (Nate) Nichols, (PJ) Conzo, and Hunter Balducci is coming along and performing for us,” said the head coach.
Conzo registered an assist tonight, as did Ryan Watton and Jared Shimelman.
With about two and half minutes left in the game, the Flyers took a penalty. BC High pulled their goalie, and the Flyers fought off a 6-on-4 to win the game, and take down the #1 team in the state.
“Our kids stayed patient. They didn’t try to do too much. They did a good job clogging the middle. They didn’t try to over-extend,” said Coach Ortiz.
“We weathered their storm a couple of times tonight,” said Ortiz. “It was a bad break we got a penalty with a couple of minutes left, but we played with a lot of heart and a lot of determination.”
In goal tonight was junior Jake Handy.
“Hands down Jake has held us to a high standard,” said Ortiz.
“Jake made 22/23 beautiful saves. He kept us in it,” said Coach Ortiz. “He gave us an opportunity to win.”
“He is making the saves we are asking him to but he is also making the saves we don’t expect him to,” said Ortiz about his goalie tonight.
Ortiz has not settled on one goalie this season, using both Handy and senior Dominic Schiappa in games.
“Every day they are competing. They are looking to see who is up next,”said Ortiz.
Asked who is the next challenge for the team?
Coach Ortiz said “our mentality is what is the most important game, is the next one. We approach the next game as if it’s our last one.”
Framingham will travel to Babson College Wednesday night for a game against the Raiders of Wellesley College. The Flyers are undefeated in the Bay State Conference.
Petroni Media Company photos