Wahconah Scores Late to Salvage Tie with Ludlow
WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- The Wahconah hockey team Wednesday scored in the final minute of every period on the way to a 4-4, come-from-behind tie against Ludlow.
The most dramatic goal came with 1.2 seconds left on the clock when Ernie Lampron's slapshot from the left side trickled past Ludlow freshman keeper David Tassinari to salvage the point for playoff-bound Wahconah.
The power play goal with the keeper pulled came after a neutral-zone faceoff with 9 seconds on the clock.
Luke Peplowski scored twice, and Jake Risley and Antonio Scalise combined for 25 saves as Wahconah finished the regular season 14-3-2.
Although the game ended on a high note for Wahconah, coach Matt Risley was not doing any cartwheels after seeing his team trail most of the afternoon against the Lions (3-14-2).
"I'm disappointed we were even in that position [to score the tying goal late]," Risley said. "I know it's a noon game on a Wednesday and everything, but for whatever reason, we didn't think that Ludlow was going to compete. And they came out and took it to us in the first period and halfway through the second.
"We played, basically, half a game, and we were lucky to come away with a tie."
Ludlow set the tone early with a goal in the first minute of play, and it maintained that 1-0 lead most of the first period.
Wahconah tied it with Peplowski's power play goal as the horn sounded, sending the teams to the locker room even at 1-1.
The Lions scored another early goal in the second when Brandon Gomes lit the lamp from the top of the left-wing circle to put Ludlow ahead, 2-1.
"It's a lack of focus, it's a mindset, it's being outworked and losing one-on-one battles," Risley said of the early goals allowed in the first and second. "Hockey's about skating and winning your one-on-one battles. And we didn't do a good job at either one of them."
Gomes scored again, on a floater from the right side, with 11:55 left in the second period, prompting Risley to make a change in goal, inserting Scalise.
"Jake [Risley] had a rough start to the game, and I felt like we were a little lethargic, so we needed a shot in the arm," Risley said. "I put Antonio in, and he did a great job for us."
It was more about sending a message to the team than needing a new look between the pipes.
"I wasn't happy," Risley said. "Jake let in a soft goal. But the way we were playing as a team at that point, I needed to do something to try to infuse something into them. And it helped.
"They took it to heart and realized they needed to step up their game."
Just more than a minute after the goalie change, Lampron set up Peplowski for his second goal of the match, getting Wahconah within 3-2.
After the two teams traded empty power plays over the next nine minutes, Owen Kroboth scored with 38.2 seconds left in the second to tie it, 3-3.
Wahconah did not give up the early goal to start the third, but it did give Ludlow 47 seconds of two-man advantage midway through the period. Peplowski, Trey Massaro and Corey Bazonski killed off that opportunity to keep it 3-3.
But with 5:40 left, Betinho Terrinca wenttop shelf for Ludlow for a power-play goal at the end of the second penalty to make it 4-3.
Risley pulled Scalise with 1:07 remaining, and Ludlow drew a hooking penalty in front of its goal with 14.6 on the clock to essentially give Wahconah a 6-on-4, which Lampron cashed in.
The consolation for Wahconah's coach is that he has a "teachable moment" for his team as it awaits this weekend's Western Mass Division 3A playoff seedings.
"It's a wake-up call," he said. "They need to put it behind them and go to work and focus on what they want to achieve.
"It's out there for them if they want to take it."