REGION – The Marlborough High School boys hockey team rumbled past Algonquin on Saturday, slowing an otherwise explosive Algonquin offense to notch their first Boroughs Cup victory in over a decade.
A year after this traditional early-season tournament was postponed due to COVID-19, the Panthers navigated a penalty-filled championship game and hoisted their trophy before a sizable visiting crowd at NorthStar Ice Sports in Westborough.
“I’m really happy for the kids,” Head Coach Mike O’Brien told the Community Advocate after the win.
The game opened with a flurry of penalties, setting up a 4-on-3 situation in a matter of minutes. Marlborough capitalized on that, with Sam Miele hammering home the goal.
Algonquin answered a few minutes later on a breakaway shorthanded goal by Ethan Stiles only to then see the Panthers retake the lead with just under three minutes left in the period on a shot from the blue line by John Fantasia.
“It was kinda tough to get in the flow of the game a little bit,” O’Brien said of the back and forth first period. “But once we settled down and started playing 5-on-5, that’s where we were able to build a little momentum, getting in more of a rhythm.”
This game saw 17 total penalties, six of which took place in the first period.
“I think there was a lot of energy on both sides tonight, maybe nervous energy,” O’Brien said. “You saw a lot of those penalties where, maybe guys’ hands come up high and they’re trying to finish a check because they’re probably a little bit too excited.”
He said he worked to settle his team, which did then accrue just one penalty in the second period.
Marlborough, also expanded its lead in this game’s second frame, tacking on goals by Marcus Chrisafidies, Jeremy LaCroix and Miele, who scored his second goal of the game to open a 5-1 lead.
Algonquin cut into the Panthers lead with a late power play goal. But Marlborough goalie Matt LaCroix subsequently stood tall, shutting down an Algonquin offense that went on to outshoot Marlborough 12-5 in the third period.
“Matt played great,” O’Brien said of his goaltender.
Marlborough scored once more in the third period, navigating another cluster of penalties and power play situations in those final minutes to win 6-2.
They then celebrated their tournament win, claiming their first Boroughs Cup title in 11 years and remaining undefeated in their young season with this victory.
“They earned it,” O’Brien said of his team and this honor. “I’m very proud of them.”
The team now enters a break between games before they’ll be back in action on Dec. 27 against Hudson.