The final 2½ minutes of its season will go down as arguably the most dramatic and rewarding for the BC High hockey program.
Trailing Pope Francis, 1-0, with a minute left in regulation of Sunday night’s Super 8 final, the Eagles were in desperation mode at TD Garden.
With junior goalie Luke Garrity pulled for an extra attacker, senior forward Joe Dragon scored the tying goal with 50 seconds to go.
Just 1:30 into OT, senior Maverick Woods capped the riveting comeback, netting the winner to lift BC High to a 2-1 win for the program’s fifth state title, but first MIAA Division 1A crown since 2007.
“I just knew I was open, so I called for it,” Woods said. “I just knew I was going to bury it. We said in the locker room that once we got one on their goalie the floodgates would open, and that’s what happened.
“[Dragon] made a beautiful play to find the back of the net, and we knew going into overtime that it was our game to win.”
But until Dragon’s late-game heroics, it appeared to be the Cardinals’ game to win.
Having stalled the Eagles (19-4-1) from making any noise for nearly the entire game, Pope Francis (21-5-3) was clinging to a 1-0 lead entering the third period.
At 12:08 of the first period, junior forward Makem Demers scored his 23rd goal of the season, on a stretch pass up the left side from junior Max Cocchi sniping the puck far side past Garrity (14 saves).
“You’ve got to hand it to BC,” said Pope Francis coach Brian Foley. “They played great. We got through that second period.
“To come out of there with a 1-0 lead was great. I thought we played an awesome third period.”
But BC answered with a frantic three-minute finish. Dragon’s tying goal against junior Victor Larssen (26 saves) came off a laser wrist shot from the right circle.
“All we needed was one goal to tie and we knew we could win,” Dragon said. “The puck just bounced right to me. We were talking about getting shots from anywhere, just keep getting shots on net. So that was my first thought, to shoot it.”
In a brief overtime session, the Eagles flew in with palpable momentum, leading to the winner from down low in the slot.
BC High coach John Flaherty, who earned his first state title in his eighth season behind the bench, said Woods is “the type of kid that epitomizes this group and our community. [Woods] doesn’t get much credit. He’s a high character, high-quality kid. Works hard night in and night out.
“For him to get this goal and have this memory for the rest of his life, I could not think of any more perfect scenario.”
BC High 2, Pope Francis 1
at TD Garden, Boston
BC High (19-4-1)
0 0 1 1 — 2
Pope Francis (21-5-3)
1 0 0 0 — 1
Second period: 1, PF, Makem Demers (Max Cocchi) 12:08.
Third period: 2, BC, Joe Dragon 14:50.
Overtime: 3, BC, Maverick Woods 1:30.
Saves: BC, Luke Garrity, 14; PF, Victor Larssen, 26.
Chris Bokum can be reached at email@example.com.