Boys’ Hockey Eliminated from Super 8 by Dubious Call
Braintree High School sees a surge of athletic success during the winter season. With both boys’ and girls’ hockey and basketball teams qualifying for the state tournament, the ever victorious dance and cheer teams as well as the strong wrestling team, Braintree is a power house, dreaded by many team across the state.
However Braintree’s time to shine is often squandered by controversial calls made during the events. The epitome of this was Monday night’s preliminary Super 8 tournament game vs Catholic Memorial at Stoneham Arena.
The Wamps came onto the ice with a surge, fueled by the cheering ocean of blue that filled the arena as well as the honor of being the first Braintree High boys’ hockey team to have made the Super 8 qualification.
Within the first five minutes, senior forward Brian Gallagher broke free from a CM defender, skating to the right post of the CM goal and with some nifty puck control slid the puck right into the net. The light went off, the buzzer sounded, the crowd cheered but the officiating staff saw otherwise. The puck, (which after countless online reviews and slow motion replays) clearly hit the iron cross bar, dipped into the net and then slid out. The official behind the net however did not happen to see this. Even after consulting with the goal judge, who, like the Official, had a clear view of the action, decided to overrule the call and disallowed the goal.
Facing the adversity the Wamps continued their hard physical play. Within a few minutes later senior defenseman Kevin Howard shot the puck which deflected off a body past the CM goalie. From there the Wamps and the Knights battled it out, going scoreless until nearly the sixth minute of the third period. A CM forward was able to slip the puck past Braintree’s solid goalie, Nick Anson.
The game seemed to be one heading for overtime until yet another controversial call stunted Braintree. This time a CM forward caught a loose puck in the air and hand passed it to his stick and bounced the puck off of Anson mid crease.
According to the official, the CM forward never closed his glove on the puck yet replays posted from various students and ESPN High School writers showed that the CM player did not deflect the puck down but passed the puck to his own stick and thus slid it by Anson.
It was truly a tough break for the Braintree boys who made the Wamps’ debut in the Super 8 but were quickly halted by such controversial calls.
Had Gallagher’s goal counted, there would have been a large momentum swing in favor of the higher seeded Wamps. Calls like these cannot happen in sporting events crucial to a team’s season and tournament run. It is the obligation of the Officiating crew to make the right call and for Braintree it cost them and their 13 senior players a hard fought chance in the Super 8.
Despite the early loss in the Super 8 tournament the Wamps still have a chance at the State Tournament, placed in the 1st seed of the division 1 south sectional tournament. The Wamps are very hopeful to do some damage in the State Tourney and we look forward to seeing them on the ice.