While waiting for a stick review from the officiating crew before the start of overtime, Thornton Academy senior CJ LaBreck could only feel grateful in the last game of his high school career. Grateful for a chance to end his career with a second straight Class A championship, and grateful because he knew the ensuing call would turn in Thornton’s favor.

After review, officials ruled that the stick of Falmouth attacker Shane Allen was illegal, which allowed Thornton to start overtime with a man-up possession. Just 42 seconds into overtime, LaBreck scored the winning goal to lift the Golden Trojans to an 8-7 win at Fitzpatrick Stadium in a rematch of last year’s state final.

“I knew that when we got that call, that it was our turn to make sure we put the game away.” LaBreck said. “I knew there was something wrong with the stick. And it was a great call by our coaches (to tell the officials).”

LaBreck scored five goals, and put Thornton ahead 7-6 with 4:50 left in regulation. The Golden Trojans held the lead into the final minute, but Falmouth tied the game with 22 seconds left when senior Pete Alexander scored off a pass from Reilly Tucker.

“(CJ) played like the best player in the state,” said Thornton Coach Ryan Hersey. “He played like a man and put the team on his shoulders, offensively.”

Falmouth had a chance to win it in regulation. After Alexander’s goal, Allen won the ensuing faceoff, but Jonah Eng’s shot from the right side of the circle sailed above the crossbar.

Prior to the start of overtime, Hersey asked officials to review Allen’s stick. Coaches are allowed one opportunity to ask for a stick review, and Falmouth Coach Dave Barton was displeased by the timing of Thornton’s challenge.

“Unfortunately, they waited until desperate times (to ask for a check),” said Barton. “It’s a faceoff guy’s stick. For 48 minutes, our guy takes a beating … It’s just too bad they waited until then to check it.”

The teams traded the lead in the third quarter. Eng scored a man-up goal from Wyatt Kerr to put Falmouth ahead 5-4. Two minutes later, Thornton responded with goals LaBreck and Shane Edborg in a 29-second span, but Tucker scored on a man-up possession with to tie it heading into the fourth quarter.

“We did just enough,” said Hersey. “I’m proud of our guys to be able to pull it out. It’s anyone’s game when it gets to overtime … It wasn’t by any means our prettiest game.”

Thornton led 2-0 lead after the first quarter on goals from LaBreck and Edborg. Falmouth, though, got three straight goals in the second quarter from Zach Derhak, Reilly Tucker and Jonah Eng to take its first lead. Then the teams exchanged goals, with LaBreck tying it 4-4 heading into halftime.

And although his players were hurting at the loss, Barton said he hopes they can view this game as a learning experience.

“I told them after the game that this moment wouldn’t be the biggest highlight of your life,” he said. “This group is going to go off and do tremendous things.”

UPDATE: This story was updated by 1:37 p.m. on June 17 to correct the name of Falmouth High’s Shane Allen.

 


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