HARVARD -- Friday afternoon's home opener proved to be a damp, physical task for the host Bromfield Trojans.
Fitchburg and Bromfield came into the game winless in their first contest, and the Red Raiders certainly brought the intensity.
Bromfield weathered a 4-1 run by the Red Raiders to capture its first win of the season, 8-6, at Depot Field. Corey Tower finished with a game-high five goals for Bromfield.
Sloppy passing and poor stick control kept the game close for the first three minutes of the opening quarter. Bromfield broke the scoreless stalemate five minutes into the first quarter on a Nick Evans strike from the right flank of the goal.
Evans cradled to his right and beat Fitchburg goalie Jony Xiong in the bottom right pocket to put Bromfield up, 1-0. Tower, the senior sharpshooter, cranked a walloping blast under the crossbar from 15 yards out to make it 2-0 in favor of Bromfield. Matty Banker potted the following Bromfield goal 40 seconds later from the right side. The Trojans galloped out to a 3-0 lead late in the first.
"We were o-fer going into a game where you know you are better than the opponent, but I was saying to my guys that (Fitchburg) really gave it some hustle and speed," first-year Bromfield head coach Kevin Pezanowski said. "They really gave us a good game. Fitchburg won some ground balls by just running through. It's a good lesson for our guys. We scored the goals when we needed to."
Fitchburg scrapped and clawed its way back into the game with a goal by attackman Anthony DiPrema. DiPrema spun off a Bromfield defender and potted Fitchburg's first goal of the season in sensational diving fashion. DiPrema fired as he dove forward and tucked the ball under the stick of Bromfield goalie Preston Wilkey with less than a minute remaining.
Early in the second quarter, Tower took over. Tower scored three goals in a blazing timespan to put the Trojans up 6-4.
Over the course of the game, Bromfield killed off four Man-downs as a result of its ability to spread the field and slow down the tempo.
That's precisely what Bromfield did in the fourth to stymie the Red Raiders.
DiPrema picked up his second goal of the game on a blistering shot from 20 yards out that clanged off both pipes before trickling by a sprawling Wilkey to bring Fitchburg within one, but that's as close as it would get. Tower shut the door with a late fourth quarter tally to ice the game.
Brett Boulanger also had a goal in the game for the Red Raiders.
"We controlled the ball a little in the fourth-quarter," Pezanowski said. "The ball control was definitely there when we needed it. (Fitchburg) didn't have a lot of penalties, but there was a lot of bumping-and-grinding. Again, it's good to get a win and see that there are some things that we still need to work on. At least we are on the winning track, and it's something to work towards.
"We tossed quite a few shots at the goalie, but it's one thing to shoot -- it's another to put quality ones on the goalie. The third quarter wasn't as decisive as I would have liked, but we turned it around in the fourth."