BARRE — Seven players scored for the No. 8 Milton boys lacrosse team during Saturday’s 9-8 quarterfinal victory over top-seeded Spaulding.
The Yellowjackets won 43 ground balls and used a third-quarter surge to snap the Crimson Tide’s six-game winning streak. Milton (7-11) will travel to play No. 4 Stowe (11-4) at 4 p.m. Tuesday in the semifinals. Spaulding finishes at 12-2, capping one of the program’s most successful seasons.
“It couldn’t have been a better game intensity-wise and battling back-and-forth,” Tide coach Ian Thomas said. “To end the season with a close game, it’s tough. But both teams worked hard and played with respect. And that’s what matters.”
Spaulding led 3-2 after the first quarter and the score was knotted at 5 entering halftime after the Tide scored with three seconds left in the second quarter. The Yellowjackets enjoyed a slight edge in the third quarter, building a 9-8 lead that held up following a scoreless fourth quarter.
Both teams created plenty of chances in their offensive zones down the stretch, but nobody could find the back of the net. Spaulding held a 12-9 edge on face-offs and neither team led by more than two goals all day.
“It was pretty even everywhere across the board,” Thomas said. “We match up pretty well against them. There were a lot of transition looks and a lot of transition goals today. It was probably one of the most transition-filled games that I have ever been a part of. At times they were a step quicker to ground balls than us, and I think that was a big difference in the game. They were saving possessions with ground balls or earning more possessions with ground balls. We also didn’t move the ball as well as we could have on offense today, so I think that was part of it.”
Aiden Blouin led Spaulding’s attack with two goals and four assists. Teammate Colby Berard chipped in with three goals and one assist. Cam Kearney (two goals) and Travis Roy also scored for the Tide and Owen Barr won nine ground balls.
“Owen Barr had a phenomenal game and Luke Parker played a great game too,” Thomas said. “And Zach Millette had a great game to finish out his career. Jacob Washburn has been a midfielder all season for us, but because of injuries he’s stepped up the last couple of games playing more defense for us. So he wasn’t playing his normal position, but he still played a good game defensively.”
Tide goalie Attilio Perantoni made 30 saves. Chris Lefebvre stopped 27 shots for Milton.
“Their goalie had save after save, and Attilio played great,” Thomas said.
Jackson Ehler scored three goals for Milton. Colby Bergeron, Ethan Swain and Dustin Brunelle each tallied one goal and one assist in the victory. Ryan Dowling, Sam Patterson and Cam Barnier also scored.
Milton committed 10 penalties compared to Spaulding’s four. The Tide converted on four of those man-up opportunities.
“That definitely kept us in the game and helped us out,” Thomas. “They’re really physical and chippy, but they weren’t going for any unnecessary stuff.”
Spaulding was whistled for two penalties in the second quarter before being penalized for slashing in the third quarter and holding in the fourth. Milton committed two infractions in the first quarter and none in the second. But during the third quarter Milton was charged with slashing three times in five minutes and also committed a cross-checking penalty. During the fourth quarter Milton was called for simultaneous pushing infractions before players sat out for roughness and slashing violations.
“We knew every game in the playoffs was going to be tough, but I’m really proud of the guys for the season we put together,” Thomas said.
“We’re only losing four guys from the roster, so we’ll use this as motivation to come back even stronger next year and keep growing the program.”