Brunswick’s best season in program history — punctuated by a trip to the Elite 8 semifinals — came to an end on Saturday afternoon in Ashburnham, Mass., as No. 1 Cushing topped the No. 5 Bruins by a score of 2-1 at Iorio Arena.
The most exciting period of this contest was certainly the first, as both teams had chances, traded goals and shots, and played a fast-paced, intense brand of hockey.
The Penguins didn’t take long to show how dangerous they could be through the neutral zone and in transition, as their leading scorer, a Boston College commit, broke in all alone just 34 seconds in and netted one on a slick deke to his forehand.
But Brunswick didn’t panic (unfortunately, it’s not the first time the opponent has scored on the first shift) and settled into a deep game, with plenty of offensive-zone time and some good looks to the net after low-to-high plays.
Junior Sean Gibbons tied things with 3:50 to go in the frame on a nice feed from senior co-captain James Shannon and secondary assist from junior D-man Carter Hall — 1-1 after one, 13-11 on the shot count in favor of the visitors.
From there, though, the Bruins couldn’t generate much offense — give credit to Cushing’s defense for locking in, keeping ’Wick to the outside, and blocking any dangerous shot attempts at the net. The home team took the lead and scored the ultimate GWG at the 10:52 mark on a perfectly executed hard pass and deflection on the rush.
Senior co-captain Brendan Holahan was outstanding for the extent of the 54 minutes, but especially in the second perood, when the Penguins turned up their game and outshot ’Wick eight to two. For the game, Cushing had 30 shots and Brunswick had 23.
Neither team was able to get much going in the final period as the clock ticked down. The Bruins pulled the goalie with about 1:40 remaining but never had any legitimate chances with the extra attacker on — and time ran out on Brunswick’s season.
What a four months of hockey it was. This team won 21 games, including 10 in a row before today’s defeat, and were just two shots away from playing for a New England Elite 8 championship. They made their coaches, school, and alumni and supporters of Brunswick hockey very proud — and raised the program to even greater heights.