LOWELL - Dalton Rolli broke a tie by scoring with 2:08 to go, propelling Wilmington past Winthrop, 4-2, in the Division 2 North boys’ hockey final Monday night at Tsongas Center.
The Wildcats will play Franklin Sunday at the TD Garden for the Division 2 State championship.
“I thought we got some good shots and good chances and it was the first time we had been behind in the tournament, so we stuck with it and got it done,’’ said Wilmington coach Steve Scanlon.
Winthrop struck first at 10:38 in the first when senior captain Chris LeBlanc fed Dan Eruzione, and the sophomore winger beat Drew Foley top shelf with a backhand.
At 10:16 in the second, Wilmington got the equalizer when Frank Cerbone’s slap shot was redirected to sophomore Luke Foley, who tipped it past Steven Waites.
The third period continued to be as physical as the first two with two game-stopping hits and a goal by each team.
Jake Rogers put Wilmington ahead at 5:55 of the third period, but Bobby Clewer answered for Winthrop 28 seconds later to tie it at 2, setting up Rolli’s late-game heroics.
Cam Owens set up the senior captain for the winner, with Rolli’s wrist shot beating Waites high. Brendan McDonough added an empty-net goal a minute later to seal the win.
“Me and Cam have been together forever and we’re like brothers almost,’’ Rolli said. “He gave it to me like he always has, I made a quick move, faked the shot, took it backhand, and there was an empty net.’’
The Wildcats’ trip to the Garden will be their first since 2008, when they lost to Sandwich, 1-0. Scanlon said it will be a lot different this time.
“We’re going to try to not look at the building so much, talk about how great the locker rooms are and how great the TVs are,’’ Scanlon said. “We’re trying to get ready to play hockey.’’