It would be hyperbolic to compare the Minutemen taking on the British at the Battle of Lexington Green in 1775 to the Lexington Minutemen defeating the previously unbeaten Bedford Buccaneers boys’ varsity hockey team.
And anyway, there wasn’t just one “shot heard around the world” at Bentley Arena in Waltham on Sunday that did the Bucs in through the annual match-up of neighbors. Although there is a lot of history between players from opposing sides, they have grown up as teammates on Lexington Bedford Youth Hockey teams, some as far back as five years old.
The afternoon started innocuously enough. Fans were questioning if they could root against kids they’ve tied the skates of through the years.
Bedford controlled the offensive attack to start the first period, but Lexington senior goalie Luke Dinsmore filled the net and warded off all shots. Lexington didn’t gain footing for a solid scoring opportunity until halfway through the period. Then they had a barrage that lasted nearly a minute, and it was Bedford junior tender Max Marchionna’s turn to hold tight and he did.
The Bucs struggled to move the puck around the ice, but managed to get on the scoreboard first. Junior James Nichol had the puck behind the Lexington goal and passed it to senior captain James Naylor in the corner. Naylor passed to junior Drew Siwik waiting about 15 feet in front of the net. Siwik took a one time shot and it went wide. Then Nichol collected the rebound and the trio attempted the same sequence. This time, Siwik got the shot around Dinsmore with 44 seconds to go in the opening frame.
Just over two minutes into the second period, Lexington received a tripping penalty that sent out the Bedford power play team. The Bucs gained possession in their attacking end. Sophomore Alex Frost advanced the puck behind the net and passed it out to junior captain Charles Demeo, Demeo passed to junior Ryan McGrath who one-timed a shot, but was stuffed when the puck went right into the legs of Lexington senior forward Andy Yang.
Yang gained possession and took the puck on a solo breakaway trip from the Lexington defensive zone through the neutral zone into the Lexington attacking zone, and right through Marchionna for a shorthanded goal that tied the game at one.
McGrath, Frost, and Demeo redeemed themselves 20 seconds later when again Frost passed to Demeo. Demeo brought the puck around the net and passed to McGrath waiting at the left side face-off circle of the Bucs’ attacking zone. McGrath one-timed a shot that put the Bucs up 2-1.
But Lexington’s dump-and-chase offense never allowed Bedford to get comfortable offensively or defensively on Sunday afternoon. Bedford head coach Brian Seabury said, “We didn’t get to the net and it was just overall a flat game for us.”
Bedford was on its fifth game in eight days, including a nightcap on Saturday. Seabury “thought we looked a bit tired. It was a tough week with many games.”
Lexington scored with 8:24 and 4:45 on the clock in the middle period in similar looking scrambles in the corners and in front of the net. First, senior Nolan Kingsbury with an assist from senior Dorian Hu, and then a goal from senior John Donaghy with assists from Nolan Kingsbury and Hu.
Bedford was down by one heading to the locker room for the second intermission.
The third period continued to look similar to the second – Bedford playing catch up on the dump and chase. Frost, McGrath, and Siwik had a few good opportunities, shut down by Dinsmore, or more legs of Minutemen seeming to be consistently in the path of Bedford’s passes and shots.
With 1:30 left in the game with the score still 3-2, Lexington called a timeout. Upon the return, Bedford had pulled Marchionna leaving an empty net in exchange for a sixth offensive skater.
The Bucs pressed, but Lexington pushed the puck out of their offensive zone. Alex Frost recovered and went to bring it behind the net, but tripped up, and an alert Nolan Kingsbury on the forecheck gathered the puck for an easy empty netter.
At this point, the fans had picked sides, and while still friendly, one side was smiles and the other a little flat and tired. Bedford’s undefeated streak ended at 11 games with a 4-2 final score in Sunday’s game.
Aside from the many hours the Bucs spend skating together at Fawn Lake over the weekend, the team was in uniform on the ice at the Edge just 16 hours prior to the Lexington game playing against Lowell. Bedford was the victor 11-2 over Lowell in that game that ended close to 10 p.m. after a late start and with a running clock in the third period.
Of the 20 skaters on the Bedford roster, 16 had points (at least one goal or assist) in Friday’s game.
Logan Cox, McGrath, and Frost each had two goals (Cox had two assists and McGrath one). Naylor, and Siwik added a goal and an assist each. Nichol, James Lorusso, and Charlie O’Brien rounded out the goals at one a piece. Seabury said O’Brien’s first career varsity goal added a highlight in Saturday’s game.
Andy Scoville added two assists, and one each for Bryan Bai, Demeo, Kenny Doucet, Will Siciliano, Charlie Siciliano, Jackson Malio, and Jackson Tucker.
Marchionna had a shutout during the first two periods, while junior Riley Foy in his inaugural year in net allowed two in the third period. Danny Gleason and captain Nate Dodge netted the goals for Lowell, both on assists by Ned Akashian.
Bedford’s calendar holds competitive rematches with teams from earlier in the season such as Dracut, Haverhill, and Methuen, as the Bucs continue on their goal to earn the league title.
Bedford hosts Cambridge Rindge & Latin at the Edge at 4 p.m. on Wednesday. Cambridge is 3-9 this season and fell to Bedford, 6-0, in a December meet-up.
Seabury says Bedford will likely move some forwards around and test new combinations against Cambridge and “see if we can create some different energy.”
The coach continues to have no surprises so far this season and sees a high level of competition from the team and great veteran leadership.
“The league title is our goal, and we control that, so these next games are extremely important.”