---- — NORTH ANDOVER — It was a worst-case scenario for North Andover soccer.
With less than a minute to play in regulation, No. 7 Winchester scored to tie the Division 2 North quarterfinal game at 2-2, and on the play Scarlet Knights goalie Marc Patnaude, who had started every game this season, collided with an opponent and had to leave the game.
“That was very depressing when we were looking so good,” said Knights coach Bill Tarbox. “So we had to call on a freshman in goal, and he stepped up and so did the team.”
Inspired by the play of untested freshman Paul Demaio, North Andover regained the momentum from Winchester in overtime, and the No. 2 Scarlet Knights dominated penalty kicks 4-1 to earn the 3-2 victory last night.
North Andover moves on to face No. 3 Wilmington on Friday at 5:30 p.m. at Woburn High School.
“It was a long and cold night,” said Tarbox. “But it was a very, very good night for the North Andover Knights.”
A goal each for Evan Dudney and Mike Skarbelis gave North Andover a 2-1 lead heading into the final 60 seconds of the game, before disaster struck with the goal and Patnaude’s injury.
In stepped Demaio, who had played much of the season on the JV team and seen only limited minutes in mop-up duty on the varsity team.
But the freshman was up to the task, stopping a shot at the end of regulation and adding four more saves in the two 10-minute overtimes to send the game into penalty kicks.
“We had to throw this poor freshman into the fire,” said Tarbox. “But he stepped up and made some huge saves. He was under a ton of pressure and really came through.”
Scarlet Knights star Dudney stepped up first in PKs and gave his team the lead, and after the Winchester player missed the net Dennis Graef scored to make it 2-0 North Andover.
Demaio then turned in his biggest save of the shootout, and Skarbelis and Alex Morin added goals to clinch the Knights’ victory.
“This wasn’t an easy win,” said Tarbox.
“We carried the momentum for a lot of the game, and to see them tie it up was tough. But our kids hung in there and came away with a huge victory.”