LAWRENCE — Michael Reilly picked up the puck near center ice, skated in on-on-one, and when he saw an opening, he took his shot.
“I thought to myself that no shot is a bad shot tied 0-0 in the third,” he said. “So I threw the puck on net and it bounced in. I couldn’t believe it. I got lucky, but I’ll take it.”
Reilly’s goal with 5:08 left in regulation gave Andover the lead, and goalie Zach Laramie did the rest with brilliant saves in the final minute to lock down the Golden Warriors’ 1-0 upset of archrival Central Catholic on Saturday.
“This means everything,” said Reilly. “To do this against Central Catholic, on Senior Night in front of a packed house, there is nothing better. This was amazing.”
It was deja vu for Laramie and Andover, who stunned Central Catholic 1-0 one year ago on Senior Night at the Valley Forum in Lawrence.
“This is the highlight of my senior year,” said Laramie. “This is the game we circle on the calendar, especially the seniors. We want to beat them every time, and this time we did it.”
It was the second victory for Andover over its rival in the last 11 meetings, and fourth since the start of the 2008 season. Central won the earlier matchup this year 4-1.
“We had a game plan coming in and we executed it,” said Golden Warrior head coach Chris Kuchar. “We wanted to prove to ourselves that the last loss (to Central) was not indicative of the team we are, and we did that. We took care of business.”
For much of the second period, Reilly was relegated to spectator away from the bench after one of his skate blades snapped during a shift.
“The skate blade cracked somehow,” he said. “So they had to take it into the pro shop and buy a new blade for my skate. They did an excellent job fixing it. It stunk being out of the game, but I trusted my guys.”
While Reilly waited, Laramie was locked up in a goalie duel with Central Catholic star Matt Pasquale.
Laramie turned in highlight-reel saves to keep the game tied. In the second period he dove from one post to the other to snag a puck that seemed destined for a goal with his glove. And later in the period he did a split to kick a puck away with his skate.
As the clock ticked down in the third, however, Caeden Dillman intercepted a pass and sent it in to Reilly. The junior winger fired the puck on from just inside the zone, it bounced around, then found the back of the net.
“I didn’t even know it went in until he started jumping around,” said Laramie. “Once he scored that, I knew we had it because they weren’t going to score.”
Laramie made a glove save 0:38 left, made a pad save with 0:12 to go, and his defense stood out in front of him, clearing the puck as the clock wound down.
Finally, it hit 0:00 and the Warriors could celebrate on their home ice.
“Everyone stepped up and contributed in this one,” said Reilly. “The bench was loud, the fans were amazing. We were confident. A win over Central is always special.”
Andover 1, Central Catholic 0
Central Catholic (11-4-3): 0 0 0 — 0
Andover (12-4-1): 0 0 1 — 1
Goals: A — Michael Reilly
Saves: A — Zach Laramie 28; CC — Matt Pasquale 22
Reach sportswriter/videographer David Willis on Twitter at @DWillisET