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PROVIDENCE â€” Whatever Mount St. Charles head coach Dave Belisle told his kids in the dressing room after the second period, it worked wonders.
Or is that an understatement?
The Mounties exploded for five unanswered tallies in the third â€“ incredibly in a span of just 9:35 â€“ to pummel La Salle Academy, 7-0, in this initial tilt of the best-of-three R.I. Championship Division series at Meehan Auditorium on Friday night.
MSC, the second-seeded squad behind now-eliminated and league regular-season champion Hendricken, took advantage of two goals and a pair of assists from senior forward Dan Glod and another two-tally, one-feed performance from senior captain Brian Belisle to grab a 1-0 lead in the set.
The elder Belisle's bunch can clinch its 43rd state title with another victory over the fourth-ranked Rams in tonight's Game 2; that's slated for 8 o'clock back here at Brown University.
With the Mount up a pair entering the final session, and La Salle standout senior defenseman Nick Migliori still serving all but nine seconds of an interference penalty, Glod â€“ stationed virtually alone by the right post â€“ flipped power-play passes from sophomore Keith Phaneuf and senior Matt Demers past sophomore netminder Tyler Walsh only 90 ticks into the third to give the Mounties a 3-0 lead.
Just prior to the shot, sophomore defenseman Nick Altieri had dove behind his goalie and actually blocked one attempt, but Glod pounced on the rebound and lifted it home.
That seemed to open up the proverbial floodgates. Just 2:10 later, the younger Belisle rapped a point-blank rebound past Walsh, courtesy of assists from Glod and junior linemate Tyler Scroggins, to go up four.
With 6:01 elapsed in the third, Migliori had prepared to unleash a slapper at MSC junior keeper Brian Larence, but sophomore Patrick Holmes blocked it, found the puck at his own blue line, raced down the ice and tucked a backhand past Walsh. That unassisted tally made it 5-0.
Holmes' classmate, Justin D'Abrosca, knocked home an even-strength goal at 8:32, thanks to an outstanding pass from fellow sophomore Keith Phaneuf; and Glod notched his second on a blistering wrister over Walsh's left shoulder at 9:35.
Not surprisingly, Brian Belisle fed him.
Walsh closed with an astonishing 58 saves, as MSC outshot its opponents by 41; Larence stopped every attempt that came his way, finishing with 24.
The Rams had entered the contest after playing the Mounties rather even in a 3-2 defeat late last month, but Mount needed just 19 seconds to gain a 1-0 advantage. On the play, Glod drilled a pass from the left boards at Belisle, who promptly tipped the puck past Walsh and inside the right post.
La Salle was able to control its offensive zone over the next few minutes, though nothing came of it, and the Mounties manufactured its second score at 6:38, when senior Vincent Pearl converted a pretty pass from junior Devin Votta.
On the play, still with 8:22 remaining in the opening session, Pearl tucked the puck past a sprawled Walsh, and that's the way the two foes went into the two-minute intermission.
The Rams mustered one of their finest opportunities early on in the second; that's when senior Jason Delisle hustled down the right boards and tried to push a backhand past a prone Larence, but he somehow made the save with 3:10 elapsed.
The â€śvisitorsâ€ť assembled another golden chance with 4:40 left. Senior Matt Botieri ripped a wrister from the right circle toward Larence, who responded with a splendid left pad kick save.
It seemed as if the Mount would take a 3-0 cushion with 1:30 remaining in that middle stanza when Belisle walloped a wicked slapper at Walsh, but he too made a stellar kick save.
Only 9.4 ticks remained before the end of the second when officials whistled Migliori for interference, and MSC made the Rams pay exactly 99.4 seconds later (without, of course, the extended intermission for Brown University's Zamboni).
The Mounties improved their seasonal mark to 18-7-0, while La Salle fell to 13-10-1.