Thanks to our Adrian Ellingwood, our special Hampden Academy correspondent for the recap of the Hampden Academy - John Bapst Class B Semifinal Hockey Game.

The #4 seeded Hampden  Broncos defeated the top-seeded John Bapst Crusaders 3-1  the Class B North hockey semi-finals on Friday, March 3rd at Sawyer Arena in Bangor.

The 2 previous games this season between the two teams saw the Crusaders win 5-1 in game 1 and 7-2 in game 2, but you wouldn’t know that by watching the first period. 

To the Crusaders’ surprise, Hampden made it a very even contest, with plenty of action at both ends of the ice. Despite all the action, no one was able to put the puck in the back of the net, with some excellent saves by goaltenders Aaron Donovan for Hampden Academy and Gavin Bartlett for John Bapst. 

Shots on goal favored the Crusaders 10-8 after 1st period. 

It didn’t take long for the deadlock to be broken, as John Bapst’s Dylan Sawyer’s shot from the blue line found its way to the front of the net, took a deflection off a Bronco in front and scored. Assisted by Aiden Dunn with 13:10 to go in the middle frame. 1-0 Bapst. 

With 11:07 to go, the Broncos found the equalizer, just over 2 minutes after Bapst took the lead. Gavin Bartlett made a decent save on Hampden’s Tucker Leland, but the rebound came straight to Adrian Webb who tucked it in. 1-1. 

With 9:18 to go in period 2, the Crusaders thought they had retaken the lead, but the net was dislodged before the puck entered the goal. The score remained 1-1. 

It was still tied 1-1 after 30 minutes of play, with shots on goal favoring the Crusaders 26-16. Hampden goalie Aaron Donovan made some excellent saves, and without him this might be a totally different story. 

Both sets of players and fans were in for a nail-biter for the final 15 minutes. With plenty of action, this was truly anyone’s game. 

With 3:07 to go in regulation, the Crusaders took a costly tripping penalty to give the Broncos a two minute power-play, which they capitalized on. With 1:21 to go, Matt Shayne’s wrist shot from the top of the faceoff circle beat Gavin Bartlett high on the glove side. 2-1 Hampden Academy. 

The Crusaders were in desperate need of a goal, so with 53.6 seconds to go Coach Fitzpatrick called a timeout and pulled the goalie for an extra skater, but the Broncos won the faceoff. Matt Shayne got past a couple of Crusaders, and found himself just outside the offensive zone with no one in front of him. No one was able to stop the puck as it went into the net to seal the deal for the Broncos. 

The final seconds ticked by, and the 10-7-1 Broncos pulled of the upset against the 15-3 Crusaders. Aaron Donovan made 36 saves on 37 shots.. Gavin Bartlett made 26 saves on 28 shots for John Bapst. The Broncos will advance to their second straight regional final and will play either the #3 seeded, 12-6 Presque Isle or #2 Messalonskee, who have a record of 15-2-1. That regional final will be Wednesday at Colby College in Waterville. 

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