Penguins Shut Down Big Red, Advance to Semi-Finals
As the #7 seed in the Martin/Earl (Large School) New England Playoff Tournament, the Cushing Varsity Boys' Hockey team (16-10-4) traveled to Exeter, New Hampshire to take on #2 ranked Phillips Exeter Academy (19-10-2). The Penguins were looking to avenge a 3-1 loss to the Big Red from just one month ago at Iorio Arena. This time, however, the stakes were much higher as the winner would advance to the semi-finals. Many Cushing faithful made their way to Exeter to cheer on the team and the Penguins did not disappoint their supporters, as they earned a hard fought 2-0 victory.
Both teams seemed a little anxious in the early going and neither team generated many scoring chances. Just when it looked like the first period would end scoreless, Max Dorrington ’20 was able to beat the Exeter goalie on a shot from the angle with just 1:18 remaining. Connor Wood ’20 and Lukas Gustafsson ’21 were credited with the assists on the power play goal, and the Penguins went to the locker room up 1-0. The Penguins were stronger in the second period and did not give Exeter much room to maneuver, but the game headed to the third period with the Penguins still clinging to a one goal lead. Despite many power play opportunities, the Penguins were unable to score a second time. With under nine minutes to go it appeared Cushing had indeed made it 2-0, but the goal was waved off due to a man in the crease and the game lumbered on. With under two minutes to go Cushing found themselves on the penalty kill and Exeter pulled their goalie to go 6-on-4, but the Penguin killers were a perfect six for six on the night. Goaltender Joe Sharib ’19 was flawless turning away all 17 shots he faced to earn his second shutout in the last three games and fourth of the season. Brad Zona ’19 sealed the deal with a long range empty netter with just nine seconds remaining, making the final score 2-0 Cushing.
With the win, the Penguins move on to the semi-final round and will face Noble & Greenough School on Saturday, March 2nd. The face-off is scheduled for 5:15pm at Nobles. The #3 Bulldogs survived overtime as they beat St. Paul's School 3-2 in their quarter-final matchup. The other semi-final game will feature the #1 ranked team, Deerfield Academy, who knocked off #8 Avon Old Farms School, and #4 Kent who defeated #5 Phillips Academy Andover. The winners of the two semi-final games will meet for the Large School Championship on Sunday, March 3rd at Saint Anselm College’s Sullivan Arena.
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Cushing Academy exists for students and develops curious, creative, and confident learners and leaders. Founded in 1865, Cushing is a co-ed, college preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades 9-12 and PG. Our students, who come from over 30 states and 30 countries, excel in our outstanding academic, art, and athletic offerings. We welcome you to visit our community and beautiful 162-acre campus in Ashburnham, Mass., just one hour from Boston, to experience all that Cushing has to offer.