Brunswick School

Brunswick’s ice hockey team edged out by Cushing Academy, 2-1, in the NEPSAC Elite 8 Tournament semifinals

Sean Gibbons, a Brunswick School junior forward, pictured here during a home game against Frederick Gunn School last month, scored a goal in the Bruins’ Elite 8 Tournament semifinal-round game against Cushing Academy. He also had the game-winning goal in the Bruins’ 3-2 win over Noble and Greenough in the Elite 8 quarterfinals.

The Brunswick School ice hockey team’s best season in program history — punctuated by a berth in the Elite 8 Tournament semifinals — came to an end Saturday afternoon.

Fifth-seeded Brunswick, appearing in the NEPSAC Elite 8 semifinals for the first time, was edged by No. 1-seeded Cushing Academy, 2-1, at Iorio Arena in Ashburnham, Mass.

Brunswick coach Mike Kennedy noted that the most exciting period of this contest was the first, as both teams had chances, traded goals and shots, and played a fast-paced, intense brand of hockey. 

“The Penguins didn’t take long to show how dangerous they could be through the neutral zone and in transition, as their leading scorer, a Boston College commit, broke in all alone just 34 seconds in and netted one on a slick deke to his forehand,” Kennedy said.

Brunswick goalie Brendan Holahan, pictured here during a game vs. Frederick Gunn School last month, was outstanding in goal throughout the season for the Bruins, who registered 21 wins and earned a spot in the Elite 8 Tournament semifinals.

Seeing Cushing Academy scoring the game’s first goal in this New England semifinal-round matchup didn’t cause Brunswick to panic, however. As Kennedy noted, it’s not the first time an opponent has scored on the first shift. After the game’s first tally, the Bruins settled into a deep game, with plenty of offensive-zone time and some good looks to the net after low-to-high plays. 

Junior forward Sean Gibbons tied the score at 1-1 for Brunswick with 3:50 to go in the first period on a nice feed from senior co-captain/linemate James Shannon. The secondary assist was from junior defenseman Carter Hall. The score was knotted at 1-1 after the first period, with Brunswick holding an 13-11 shots-on-goal advantage.

The home team took the lead and scored the ultimate game-winning goal at the 10:52 mark of the second period on a perfectly executed hard pass and deflection on the rush. 

“Senior co-captain (goalie) Brendan Holahan was outstanding for the extent of the 54 minutes, but especially in the second period, when the Penguins turned up their game and outshot ’Wick eight 8-2,” Kennedy said.

For the game, Cushing registered 30 shots and Brunswick had 23. Holahan made 28 saves for the Bruins.

Neither team was able to get much going in the final period as the clock ticked down, Kennedy noted. The Bruins pulled the goalie with about 1:40 remaining but never had any legitimate chances with the extra attacker on — and time ran out on Brunswick’s season. 

Brunswick showed it was one of the top teams in New England this winter, with impressive play throughout the season.

The Bruins concluded their memorable 2022-2023 campaign with a record of 21-10-1. Brunswick advanced to the Elite 8 Tournament semifinals by eliminating fourth-seeded Noble and Greenough, 3-2, in overtime in the quarterfinal-round. The Bruins were strong defensively and in goal all season long, having allowed two goals or fewer in 19 of their 32 games. They also received clutch scoring throughout their highly successful season.

“What a four months of hockey it was,” Kennedy said. “This team won 21 games, including 10 in a row before today’s defeat, and were just two shots away from playing for a New England Elite 8 championship. They made their coaches, school, and alumni and supporters of Brunswick hockey very proud — and raised the program to even greater heights.” 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s