THE SENIORS led Lynnfield to an historic league championship season in which they won 20 games including the playoffs. Pictured are seniors Domenic Micieli, Drew Damiani, Dan McSweeney, Ryan Hooper, Nolan Drislane, Nick Lucich and Lucas Cook. (LHS Hockey Photo)



STONEHAM — The old saying is that it is hard to beat a team three times during a season. On March 6, the Lynnfield High boys’ hockey team learned that lesson as they lost to Triton, 5-2, in the MIAA Division 3 Round of 8 game at the Stoneham Arena.

The Pioneers beat the Vikings, 3-1, at home on Dec. 17 and won on the road, 4-2, on Jan. 25 in the two regular-season meetings.

With the loss, the 2nd-seeded Pioneers ended the year at 20-2-1. The 10th-seeded Vikings, meanwhile, lost to Nashoba Regional, 4-1, at the Tsongas Center in Lowell on March 12 in the state semifinals to end up at 14-8-2.

In the first period, Triton’s Andrew Johnson scored the first goal assisted by Callan Wardwell and Alex Pasquini. Lynnfield looked like they tied it on the power play but a loose goal peg caused the referee to wave it off.

Triton then drew a penalty shot later in the first but Pioneer goalie, Dan McSweeney, turned it back.

After a scoreless second period, Michael Taylor made it 2-0 as he skated down the right side and beat McSweeney to the short side with 12:38 left. Jack Lindholm assisted.

Just 35 seconds later, Luke Sullivan lit the lamp with a slap shot for the right circle to make it 3-0 assisted by Josh Hersey and Connor Rumph causing Pioneers head coach Jon Gardner to call timeout.

The timeout worked as Lynnfield finally got on the scoreboard with 9:30 left. Joe Raffa backhanded a rebound by goalie Gavin Maregni. Jarret Scoppettuolo and Drew Damiani assisted.

A few moments later, it looked like Raffa scored again on a slap shot as it looked like the puck went in and it quickly bounced out but no goal was called.

Then, with 7:19 remaining, Jack Carpenter scored on a shot from the left circle with Nick Lucich assisting to cut the lead to 3-2 causing Vikings coach Ryan Sheehan to use his timeout.

Triton upped its lead to two with 5:08 remaining as the puck took a funny bounce off the backboard and, in the goal mouth, Wardwell tapped it home. Tyler Egan and Lindholm were given credit for the assists.

“I like the way we responded after their surge,” said Sheehan.

Gardner thought that fourth tally was the key goal.

“That was our backbreaker,” he admitted.

Sullivan then closed the door scoring the fifth goal with 4:39 left with Hersey and Lindholm assisting.

After the final horn went off, the Vikings celebrated and got a trophy for reaching the final four.

“This was tough to swallow,” admitted Gardner, whose squad has won the last two Cape Ann League titles. “We did not play to our ceiling.”

For Sheehan, who played goalie at Lynnfield High years ago, it was a satisfying win.

“We knew it was going to be a battle,” he said. “Maregni was fantastic and our penalty kill was our best unit. Lynnfield is one of the best teams in the state and they had a very good run.”

The Pioneers outshot the Vikings 31-26, as McSweeney made 21 stops. Maregni, a sophomore, had 29.

Nashoba, No. 11, will meet No. 1 Scituate in the Div. 3 state final on Sunday, 5:30 p.m. at the TD Garden.