By Matt Stewart
LEOMINSTER — Oakmont Regional has a bit of a legacy to hold up to.
The Spartans have won the last seven Fast Break Summer Field Hockey League titles and almost saw that streak come to an end Monday night.
But Oakmont held strong after settling for a 1-1 tie through an overtime session and won 3-2 in strokes, narrowly edging out up-and-coming North Middlesex in a semifinal contest at Doyle Field.
Oakmont, the second seed, advances to the finals to face No. 4 Leominster for the summer league title Tuesday at 6:00 p.m.
It was all Oakmont to start off the shootout. Meghan Fontaine punched one in the top left corner, Bingham banked one off the goalie’s leg and into the back of the net, and Tara Harrington stuck one inside the left post to give the Spartans a 3-1 lead.
North Middlesex’s Molly McGrath scored the Patriots’ lone goal of the first three competitors, getting a slow roller to go just beyond the outreached foot of the Oakmont netminder.
Patriots’ keeper Rachel Record needed to be perfect over the two final shooters, to give her squad a chance to tie. She passed her first test with a glove save on Maddie Moran.
It all came down to Allison Kleeman for North Middlesex, who needed to score to ensure that the Patriots had a chance. Kleeman did not disappoint lifting a shot top shelf to force a continuation of the extra frame.
Record came through again recording another glove save on the fifth Oakmont shooter, which held the score at 3-2 with one Patriot offensive player remaining.
It all came down to one last shot for North Middlesex. Marie Shepherd had the chance to tie and force extra shooters, and tried to lift a shot to the right corner glove side, but Oakmont’s Sarah Dubois punched it away to cement the Spartan victory.
Shots and scoring were hard to come by in regulation but North Middlesex capitalized on a transition play taking the ball deep in the Oakmont defensive zone.
Kleeman attempted to stuff it home at the doorstep, but couldn’t get it to go five-hole, but was successful on her second try as the rebound popped back out to her and she sent it home.
“This was a great way to end the season even though we lost,” Shepherd said.
“We’ve never made it this far in the summer league in my four years, and it’s good to see we all worked so hard together.”