Title in Hand, Algonquin Eyes State Championship
Monday, June 11, 2012
On the back of a two-goal, three-assist performance from senior All American Conor Healy, the Tomahawks dominated Grafton in the second half of the Central Mass title game. Algonquin trailed 7-6 at the break, but tightened up defensively and kept Grafton's pair of All Americans in check for the entirety of the second half, allowing the Indians only two post halftime goals in an 11-9 victory.
The solid second-half performance is nothing new for Algonquin, but with ambitions of a state championship in their minds, the Tomahawks know they have to start faster.
"I don't like to admit that my team has started a little slow these playoffs," senior defensemen Patrick Murphy said. "But we're going to get working in practice to correct it, because the teams we play the rest of the way will be able to take advantage of it."
The Tomahawks continue their quest for a state title tomorrow night against Minnechaug at 7:30 pm. The game will be played at East Longmeadow High School, and is a rematch of a late April road game the Tomahawks won 11-5. Despite the relative ease of his team's previous win over Minnechaug, coach Rich Luongo knows his team cannot look past the Falcons.
"We're very familiar with Minnechaug, we play them every year," Luongo said. "We beat them pretty good this year, but it would be foolish to think we're going to do that again."
While the Tomahawks have a stellar group of seniors that are looking to establish their legacy, Algonquin has gotten a great boost from a trio of younger players these playoffs. Sophomore Mike Wood recorded a hat-trick against Grafton, and classmate Keegan Gillis chipped in two goals. Junior Davis Kraft, who is making a name for himself as a premier playoff performer, scored two goals and dished out two assists in Algonquin's come from behind win.
Despite the celebratory mood of the Tomahawks after their championship victory, Kraft made it clear that his team's work is not done.
"The goal is to win a state championship, absolutely," Kraft said. "Last year we had the momentum going into the playoffs, but this year we know we have the talent to win it all."
Should the Tomahawks defeat Minnechaug on Tuesday, they will move on to play in the state championship game on Friday. The Tomahawks will not have to travel far, as the game will be played at Worcester's Foley Stadium.
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