Lowell, Mass. -- It was deemed David vs. Goliath before the series, even by the coach of the underdog. Woburn gave its best effort for the upset bid, but came up short to the No. 1 seeded Springfield Cathedral Panthers.
"I knew Woburn was going to bring it. They played real hard. I'm a little disappointed in our group. I didn't think we had the sense of urgency. We have to stop getting outworked by teams. I'm not happy with the effort," said Cathedral coach Brian Foley.
"I thought our kids played great, but [Springfield Cathedral] is just so talented," said Woburn coach Jim Duran. "We're thrilled where we're at."
Providence College recruit Riley Prattson drilled home a centering feed from Quinnipiac commit D.J. Petruzzelli with 9:25 to go in the third period to give the Panthers a 3-2 lead. It was the difference in the game as Cathedral picked up some momentum and prevented Woburn from generating much in the way of legitimate chances the rest of the game.
"We played ok in open ice and capitalized, but we have to make more breaks for ourselves," said Foley, referring to the team's ability to score off turnovers.
Cathedral got the scoring started with a shorthanded goal in the first period. A Woburn turnover at its offensive blue line was collected by D.J. Petruzzelli who sent the puck up to John Leonard. The UMass commit cut in from the left side and slid the puck through the five-hole for a 1-0 lead at the 9:45 mark of the first period.
There was no give-up in the underdogs from Woburn. Evan McDonald scored his first of two power play goals on the afternoon 5:24 into the second period. After a relatively powerless man advantage McDonald picked up the puck in the neutral zone and rushed it in hard on net. He scored a very similar goal to Leonard's as he slid one through Keith Petruzzelli's wickets.
"That goal was beautiful. He just held it and held it and slid it in," said Duran.
The Panthers answered right back to regain its one-goal lead 11 seconds later. Kyle Kazeroid's crisp pass to Devon Tongue was quickly deposited into the back of the net.
Woburn sent the game to the second intermission tied at two when McDonald struck again on the man advantage. He came out of the penalty box to join the play and was immediately hit with a pass from Justin Alves who had been cycling the puck with Joe Santullo. McDonald quickly one-timed the puck past Petruzzelli.
"Evan is a scorer. If he gets the puck in an area he can score, it's going to be in the net," said Duran. "He had a great effort."
The score stayed 2-2 until Prattson's game-winner in the third. That was in large part due to the outstanding goaltending of Woburn sophomore Sam Best, who made several key saves throughout the game.
"We expect that out of him now. It is what it is. Sammy will take care of everything else around his net. Sammy is so smooth. Nothing fazes him," said Duran.
Jeff Cox covers college, junior, high school and prep hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxSports.