A year ago, St. Mary’s of Lynn watched as Franklin celebrated the Division 1 boys’ hockey state championship with a double-overtime victory over the Spartans.
Using that loss as fuel during a long season of grueling practices and hard-fought contests, St. Mary’s fought its way back to the title game. The result was redemption for the Spartans as they captured the state crown, 4-2, over Framingham on Sunday evening at TD Garden.
It marks the first state title in program history, and the first for coach Mark Lee in his 31 years behind the bench.
“It was a long year to deal with that [loss in last year’s championship]. This team knew that they were going to do whatever it took to get back,” said Lee.
“There’s been a lot of kids over 31 years that also deserve this and I’m glad this team was able to make them part of it.”
Already leading, 1-0, the Spartans truly got rolling by striking for two goals in the last two minutes of the second period.
The first goal came from senior captain Dante Maribito, who moved around a Framingham defenseman and darted in alone on goalie Alex Moore (24 saves). The Flyers’ netminder hugged the post, but Maribito elevated his shot and slotted it between Moore’s shoulder and the crossbar.
A minute and four seconds later, the Spartans struck again on Mike Zampanti’s second of the game. The senior captain skated along the boards, trying to shake the defenseman shielding him. After gaining a step, Zampanti cut toward the net and tucked the puck past Moore while falling to the ice to make it 3-0.
Zampanti’s first tally had come just 49 ticks into the second period. With two players battling for the puck behind the Framingham net, Zampanti came in and knifed it away. The senior then wheeled around the cage and slipped it past Moore.
Defensively, St. Mary’s kept the Flyers at bay with an aggressive forecheck and blocked shots in the defensive zone. The Spartans managed to get in the Framingham shooting lanes, limiting the Flyers to 18 shots. Any shots that did end up on net were the responsibility of Andrew LoRusso, who made 16 saves.
Maribito put the game out of reach with another tally 3:18 into the third period. And while senior captain Scott Swennes got a pair back for the Flyers on a shot from the high slot and off a rebound, St. Mary’s was able to hold off the rally and win the title.
“It started from before the year. Every single workout, every single captain’s practice, wetake everything to heart,” said Zampanti. “Every practice is a war basically with these guys and that’s what makes us better. It starts from the very beginning.”
St. Mary’s 4, Framingham 2
at TD Garden, Boston
St. Mary’s (18-7-2)
Second period: 1, SM, Mike Zampanti (Alec Mahto, Colin Reddy) :49. 2, SM, Dante Maribito 13:10. 3, SM, Mike Zampanti (Colin Reddy, Marc Zampanti) 14:14.
Third period: 4, SM, Dante Maribito (Nicholas Napolitano, Kyle Ouellette) 3:18. 5, F, Scott Swennes 4:39. 6, F, Scott Swennes (Joe MacInnins, Ben Stefanini) 12:20.
Saves: F, Alex Moore, 24; SM, , 16, Andrew LoRusso, 16.David Souza can be reached at email@example.com.