Foley's Goaltending Sparks Wildcats to PK Win [VIDEO]
After regulation, two overtimes and five rounds of penalty kicks, Wilmington won Tuesday's quarterfinal game in a the first round of sudden death kicks against Bedford.
Luke Foley’s birthday is Wednesday. But it’s tough to believe anyone got him a present comparable to the one he provided himself the night before.
Foley made two saves in penalty kicks against Bedford in the North Division 2 quarterfinal round, including the game-clincher that propelled the Wildcats into Friday’s semifinal round against North Andover.
“It was the best early birthday present ever,” said Foley after the game. “My teammates told me to just stay calm and don’t panic. Obviously they’re going to score a goal sooner or later, so you have to just shake it off, not get frustrated and keep diving.”
It took a game-saving effort from another Foley in overtime to make sure the game reached penalty kicks. Midfielder Drew Foley, who is not related to Luke but is a talented goalie for the boys hockey team, cleared a ball off the goal line with 3:33 to go in the opening sudden death overtime to keep the game tied at 0-0.
Then in the second overtime, it was the Wildcats who appeared to have won the game. Colin Doherty fired a rocket from about 20 yards out that flew out of the Bedford goalie’s reach but clanged off the right post.
Fittingly, regulation penalty kicks weren’t enough for the two teams either. Each team scored on four of its five chances in penalty kicks, sending the kicks into a sudden death round.
Chris Saporito netted his chance, leaving the game in the hands of Foley. The junior dove to his left, made the save, and was mobbed by his teammates in celebration.
“He’s good at them. We work at it in practice and he can save them,” said head coach Steve Scanlon. “He’s an athletic kid, has good reflexes and I think he anticipates well. He saved two of them, and that’s the difference.”
As a result, Wilmington advanced to play at Woburn High School on Friday night with kickoff coming at 5:30 p.m. against North Andover.
While his team played well in its first two games on its home turf, Scanlon said he believes the neutral field may actually feature an advantage for the Wildcats.
“We have a lot of ingredients,” said Scanlon. “We have some kids who can score and we have some winners on the team. I think it all helps. We’re a good club all things considered, and I think we play better on turf to be honest with you.”