The Bromfield-Littleton Tigers hockey team fell 2–1 to the Grafton-Blackstone Valley Indians (15–6–1) in the Central Mass. Division 3A semifinal at the Wallace Civic Center in Fitchburg on Wednesday, March 8. The loss left the Tigers (12–5–4) in second place behind Worcester (7–1–1) in the Midland-Wachusett Russell Conference.
Goalie Ben Lichtman saves one of 24 shots on goal, however the Bromfield LIttleton Tigers fell to Grafton 2-1 in sudden death overtime. (Photos by Lisa Aciukewicz)
From the start of the game, the Tigers were on the defensive, unable to move the puck into Indian territory. Long passes to the offensive side were immediately turned over and brought back to Bromfield-Littleton territory, making it difficult for the Tigers to get into a rhythm. Grafton-Blackstone Valley came out with an aggressive mindset, and the Tigers had trouble matching the Indians’ intensity. Bromfield sophomore goalie Ben Lichtman made two impressive saves with 50 seconds left. However, Grafton-Blackstone Valley player Noah Charron scored with 46.3 seconds left in the first period to put the Indians on top.
In the second period, Bromfield-Littleton penetrated the Indian defense but was unable to score. The Indians defense continued to give the Tigers difficulty. The Tigers missed shots and made poor passes that were picked off by Grafton-Blackstone Valley. Bromfield senior Joseph Mitchell had two strong passes, but unfortunately no one was able to score off of them because of the Indians’ exceptional defense. Crowds on both sides of the rink were heckling each other, adding to the already tense environment.
Junior Dmitri Dutkewych puts pressure on Grafton goal keeper Cam Powell.and his defense.
The third period brought roughing, slashing, or tripping penalties against both teams. Bromfield-Littleton and Grafton-Blackstone Valley played with intensity and passion that at times was too much, which called for the penalties. Through the penalties and man-down situations, the two goalies did not allow any goals until both teams returned to full strength with 3:37 minutes left in the game. With the clock winding down, Littleton’s Sean Kitian was able to find the back of the net with 52 seconds left in regulation to force an overtime.
In the six minutes of overtime play, the first team to score would win the game. Unfortunately, Grafton-Blackstone Valley player Brendan Coates scored in the first 28 seconds of sudden death to put his team through to the finals. Grafton went on to play Oakmont in the Division 3A Central Mass. Final at the Wallace Civic Center in Fitchburg, winning the matchup 5–2.
Lichtman had a strong performance in the semifinal game with 30 saves. He and Mitchell were named league all-stars in the Midland-Wachusett Russell Conference.
Hannah LoChiatto is a Bromfield senior.