MALDEN, Mass. –- Depth has been a key element to No. 1 Malden Catholic’s success in recent years.
The way Lancers head coach John McLean posed it Saturday night, after taking a relatively easy 7-4 win over No. 3 BC high, was there’s no delineation between the lines. There’s no different in his mind between the Lancers’ lines.
Of course, any opponent’s attention starts with the Lancers’ top line of Brendan Collier, Ryan Fitzgerald and Mike Iovanna. And they certainly got theirs Saturday, combining for 10 points, but it was a more unlikely source that got MC rolling.
Sophomore right wing Pat Wrenn contributed two early goals while the Lancers traded tallies.
When the Eagles took a 1-0 lead in the first minute of the contest, Wrenn struck back with his first of the game a minute later. When BC High climbed to a 3-2 lead in the second period, the Charlestown native muscled his way in on goal and scored on a breakaway.
It all underscored one point, that the Lancers are dangerous, no matter who’s skating.
“You make mistakes against that team and the puck ends up in the back of the net,” BC High head coach John Flaherty said. “It’s simple as that.”
MC (5-1-1, 2-0-0 ) claimed the lead for good with two minutes remaining in the second on Collier’s first of two goals. The Lancers added insurance markers by Iovanna (2G, A) and Collier (2G, A) in the third.
“That was a little bit of a sloppy game back and forth,” McLean said. “I think we did what we had to do to win against a good team.”
STAYING AT HOME
One of the in-game adjustments MC made was to temper its blue-liners from stepping up into the play prematurely.
“We were taking too many chances, jumping up into the offense, instead of worrying about defense,” McLean said. “We were leaving the defensive zone a little bit too quick.”
Re-committed to their assignments, the Lancers played more soundly defensively in front of goaltender Connor Maloney through the third period to ice the win.
It’s not common in a seven-goal performance that the goaltender stands out, but BC High’s Peter Cronin did exactly that.
“He deserved a better fate,” Flaherty said. “We let him down.”
You’d be hard pressed to find a finer save this season than one of Cronin’s stops in the second period. The junior netminder stoned Fitzgerald, on a 2-on-1 in close. Collier led the odd-man rush, transitioning off a neutral zone turnover. After getting the defenseman to commit, Collier snaked a pass over to Fitzgerald, barreling down the right side wing to the far side post. With a gaping net in front of him, Fitzgerald tapped a one-timer toward goal. But Cronin reacted with lightning-fast reaction, sliding from post to post, leading with his glove hand. He snagged Fitzgerald’s shot out of midair.
Despite the highlight reel moments, BC High (5-1-0, 1-1-0) will be using the game film for an entirely different reason.
“We’re going to learn from this game,” Flaherty said. “We’re a good team that got beat by a better team tonight.”