LOWELL –– Xaverian senior captain Joe DiMartino has earned the moniker ‘Playoff Joe’ for his tendency to score clutch goals, beginning with a tally to win the Catholic Conference as a sophomore.
DiMartino lived up to his nickname once again.
The senior collected a feed from classmate Liam Capplis, took a couple of strides, and uncorked a rocket that found twine just between the left post and crossbar.
DiMartino’s overtime winner lifted seventh-seeded Xaverian to a 1-0 victory over No. 14 Reading in a Division 1 semifinal at Tsongas Arena. The Hawks (16-8-0), making their second consecutive championship game appearance, will play No. 4 Pope Francis (20-2-3) at TD Garden Sunday.
“Playoff Joe, right?” said Xaverian coach Dave Spinale. “Every year since we won the conference two years ago when he was a sophomore, he’s scored the big ones. He hasn’t stopped yet.”
DiMartino, a Dedham resident, wants the puck on his stick in high-pressure moments, believing in his dogged work ethic and dedication to his craft.
“Just this time of the year when it’s all on the line, it’s easy to step up, especially with this group right here,” said DiMartino.
“He has a shot like a pro athlete,” Spinale expounded. “He wants the puck on his stick and to have that confidence to take that, he’s just a special player.”
Junior Cole Pouliot-Porter recorded a 27-save shutout, showcasing lightning-quick reflexes when challenging shooters. After a 44-save performance in a 2-1 quarterfinals victory over second-seeded Catholic Memorial, the Franklin resident is at his best at the right time.
“He’s seeing the puck, he’s having so much fun, the guys in front of him are battling,” said Spinale. “He gives us so much confidence out there that you can rely on him. He’s been simply nothing short of amazing and he’s a wonderful young man and we’re so thankful that he’s at our school.”
Pouliot-Porter skated over to Reading goaltender Chris Hanifan, who recorded 20 saves for the Rockets (14-8-3), prior to joining his teammates in celebration in a fantastic display of sportsmanship.
“I was giving him props for just a great playoff run,” said Pouliot-Porter.
Cam Kerry can be reached at email@example.com.