After racing out to a two goal lead, the Burlington hockey team could not hold on to the lead, ultimately falling 5-2 against St. Mary’s of Lynn on Saturday afternoon.
The game got out to a good start when Dan McMahon scored just 2:03 into the game on the power-play. He backhanded the puck over the St. Mary’s goalies shoulder after circling around from the back of the net. Captain Chris Irwin and sophomore RJ Caruso picked up assists on the goal. The goal would standup and Burlington took a 1-0 into the first intermission.
Burlington got on the board first in the second period when Brian Hood scored. Burlington put a lot of traffic in front of the net and the puck squirted out to Hood who shot the puck past the goalie for the 2-0 lead. Adam Crowley picked up an assist on the goal. Burlington looked to be in good shape at this point in the game, showing they were the more physical team and were really taking it to St. Mary’s.
That all changed at the 9:00 mark when St. Mary’s rattled off three goals in under two minutes of play. Nikko Markham scored first on the power play followed by goals from Julian Yourawski and Rob Colameta.
St. Mary’s took the 3-2 lead into the final period. Both teams really ratcheted up the physical play in the third period. St. Mary’s was able to respond to the Burlington’s hitting when Derek Stella scored at 4:18 of the third period. They put the game out of reach when Tim Aylward scored at the 10:12 mark, giving them a commanding 5-2 lead that would hold as the games final score.
Don Hesse stopped 16 shots to get the win for St. Mary’s while Derek DeCastro stopped 24 in a losing effort.
The game marked the last time nine seniors; Justin Bonita, Kyle Crowley, P.J. Vigneau, Chris Theriault, Chris Rolli, Mike Grinnell as well as the three captains Shane Matthews, Chris Irwin and Joey Centrella would play hockey for the Burlington Red Devils.
All of them put together very good senior seasons. Crowley tied for the team lead with 12 goals. Rolli brought an impact winger to Burlington in his one season on the team after transferring from Stoneham. Matthews was a big body and played good stay at home physical defense. Centrella was another key piece of the team tallying 20 points on the season. The senior that will be missed most will be Irwin, who tied for the team lead in goals with 12 and lead the team with 24 points.
Most teams that graduated nine players would be in rough shape the next season but that will not be the case with this team. Returning to the team will be juniors Stephen Mattos, Brett Romkey, Brian Hood, Dan McMahon and Trevor Cimino who were major contributors on this year’s team. The departure of the seniors will also make room for other juniors Brendan Slowe, Joe Moran, Cody Crocker and Nick DeSimone to get more time on the ice.
They will also bring back a tremendous sophomore class headed by goalie Derek DeCastro and the team’s leader in assists defensemen RJ Caruso. Another sophomore Joe Berardi was starting as the team’s center towards the end of the season and defensemen Brien Diffley finished the year with 11 assists. Throw in freshmen Adam Crowley who finished the year with eight points, and the toughness and physicality rarely associated with a first year player and the future is still looking bright for the Red Devils.