Dracut’s Jack Brown tries to unload a shot on Newton South goaltender Christopher Olsson as he’s being defended at the Chelmsford Forum on
Dracut's Jack Brown tries to unload a shot on Newton South goaltender Christopher Olsson as he's being defended at the Chelmsford Forum on Thursday night. Dracut fell 4-3 in overtime during a Division 3 North semifinal game. SUN/JULIA MALAKIE

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BILLERICA -- The Dracut Middies and the Newton South Lions had split their two regular-season meetings, with each side taking a 4-2 victory at home.

When the rubber match came Thursday night at the Chelmsford Forum in an MIAA Division 3 North boys hockey semifinal, a great game was expected of these MV/DCL rivals.

And that's exactly what occurred, as the No. 3 seed Lions came back from a 3-0 second-period deficit to defeat the No. 7 seed Middies, 4-3, in overtime.

Griffin Connolly (two goals, one assist) scored the game-winner for the Lions at 2:56 of the overtime period, skating all the way from center ice, springing free of two Dracut defenders, and putting home the puck on a rebound.

Dan Girouard, middle, who scored two goals, is watched by Dracut High teammate Kyle Maxim, left, as Newton South’s Griffin Connolly closes in.
Dan Girouard, middle, who scored two goals, is watched by Dracut High teammate Kyle Maxim, left, as Newton South's Griffin Connolly closes in. SUN/JULIA MALAKIE

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The Middies were the more physical and more relentless team in the first period. They opened the scoring at 4:24 when Steve Maxim attempted a shot that slowed down on Lions' goalie Matt Aviles, allowing Dan Girouard to put the puck home before Aviles could get to it. Girouard struck again six minutes later when he scored with the backhand on a slow rebound right in front of the net.

Dracut's power play expanded the lead to 3-0 early in the second period when Kyle Maxim took a shot on new Lions goalie Christopher Olsson, who thought he had made the stop, but the puck squeaked between his pads and trickled slowly into the net.


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The Lions would finally get on the board at 5:15 as Griffin Connolly, Thomas Tresca, and Oleg Musatov played tic-tac-toe with the puck on a 3-on-2, ending with a Musatov goal over Patrick Carney's shoulder.

Less than two minutes latear, the Lions officially made it a game when Andrew Wales took a shot from the right faceoff circle that deflected off a Dracut stick and into the net.

The second period would close with the Middies clinging to a 3-2 lead.

Newton South’s Connor Kee, left, and Dracut’s Justin Lange collide.	SUN/JULIA MALAKIESun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our Smugmug
Newton South's Connor Kee, left, and Dracut's Justin Lange collide. SUN/JULIA MALAKIE

Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our Smugmug site.

The Lions tied the game halfway through the third period with more beautiful puck movement. Eddie Friedman fed James Donlan, who in turn found Connolly, who lifted the puck over Carney's outstretched right leg and into the net, sending the Lions' fans into a frenzy.

"(Newton South) came out hard," Dracut head coach Mike Marshall said. "We sat back for about five minutes, and that cost us one goal."

"The first period intensity was pretty good," Marshall added. "I knew they weren't going to go away. Don't think that with a 3-0 lead we felt safe. We knew they'd be coming."

Both teams had chances in the final stages of regulation, but Olsson (20 saves) and Carney (25 saves) made several incredible stops to keep the score tied.

The Middies finished the season at 13-8-2. Despite the loss, Marshall was prou d of his team's season.

"They played their butts off," Marshall said. "We play in a very good league. I'd stack it against any Division 3 league in the state. Somebody had to go down, unfortunately it was us."

The Lions (15-6-1) will face MV/DCL foe Wayland in the sectional final Saturday at Stoneham Arena. Wayland won their semifinal in overtime as well, defeating No. 1 seed Watertown, 1-0.