WOONSOCKET --- One bad minute of hockey at the end of the second period turned out to be Mount St. Charles Academy’s undoing on Friday night in its showdown against the No. 7 ranked team in Massachusetts.
Malden Catholic snapped a 1-1 tie by scoring twice in the final 36 seconds of that middle period and held onto its lead through a wild final period en route to a 5-3 victory before a large gathering at Adelard Arena.
Brian Belisle scored a pair of goals to lead the Mounties, and goalie Brian Larence turned away 47 shots in an excellent performance, but those two efforts alone weren’t enough to prevent the Mounties from falling to 9-4.
And like its 4-1 setback on Monday to Cathedral of Springfield, Mass., the No. 1 ranked team in the Bay State, this defeat counts on the Mounties’ record in the Division I-Cimini standings. Mount, Bishop Hendricken, and La Salle each have two games against out-of-state teams this season that are included in their league schedules.
The victory was the fourth in a row for the Lancers, who jumped into the Top 10 in Mass. earlier this week and are now 9-6-3. Malden Catholic sports a young roster with just three seniors who are two winters removed from the Lancers’ second straight Mass. ‘Super 8’ state championship season.
The Lancers drew first blood 8:49 into the game on a goal by Brian Cameron that came off a faceoff won by Patrick Wrenn to the right of Larence. Cameron blasted a slap shot that sailed over Larence’s glove and into the back of the net.
The visitors nearly doubled their lead 2½ minutes later on a wristshot by Tyler Sifferlen that clanged off the post. But after Larence made a brilliant save on the rebound, Mount quickly brought the puck down the other end of the ice, and Belisle knotted the score by popping in a pass from Tyler Scroggins.
For the first two-thirds of the second period, the Mounties had more than their share of chances to take the lead. They hit the right post with three shots in the first 7:25 of play and saw a 5-on-3 power play that lasted 68 seconds result in just one shot.
The Lancers then made their move in the final minute. After Sifferlin hit the crossbar on a 2-on-1 break with 57 seconds to play, the Lancers grabbed the lead 21 seconds later on a goal by Mike Iovanna that was set up by Ara Nazarian.
After Iovanna’s goal was announced to the audience, the Lancers struck again, this time on a goal by Nazarian with 8.9 seconds on the clock. It was the Lancers’ fifth shot of the minute.
With 7:55 to play in the game, Belisle gave the Mounties a lift by cutting their deficit in half by tapping in the rebound of his own shot past Maloney, but less than two minutes later, M.C. got its two-goal lead back on Iovanna’s second goal of the night.
Again, the Mounties struck again, when with 4:42 on the clock, Scroggins (who received a nasty open ice hit with 8:39 left in the second period) lit the lamp by taking a pass from Belisle and zipping a wristshot just under the crossbar.
But again, the Lancers reclaimed their two-goal lead, as Nick Rolli notched a power play goal with 3:03 to play by slipping a shot between Larence’s pads. The Mounties did their best to respond, and eventually lifted Larence for a sixth attacker, but they couldn’t trim their deficit back to a goal.
While this game featured plenty of shots (Malden Catholic outshot MSC, 52-41), it also offered plenty of hitting and a total of 14 minor penalties. The Lancers got tagged for 10 of them, but the Mounties could only managed their two power-play goals off them.
The Mounties return to the R.I. portion of their schedule tonight with a 9 p.m. game back at Adelard against Smithfield. They will then play four more regular-season games before turning their attention to the postseason.