BOSTON – In the box score of No. 2 BC High’s 2-0 win over Rhode Island powerhouse Mount St. Charles, you’d easily find the fact that Ryan McDonough scored what proved to be the game-winning goal in the first period.
What you wouldn’t be able to find in that information, or any other quantified statistic for that matter, is what McDonough, a senior assistant captain of the Eagles, truly meant to his team’s shutout effort. It’s the same thing head coach John Flaherty has come to expect from McDonough, but it was all prominently on display Saturday at UMass-Boston.
In the final minute of BC High’s victory, the Eagles collectively put on a defensive clinic. McDonough led the charge with a key blocked shot, as did Chris LaLiberte. To ice the victory, Tom Besinger’s singular effort on the forecheck resulted in an empty-net goal with 5.3 seconds to play. With a 20-save performance from preseason All-State netminder Peter Cronin, the Eagles made it all stand up.
“We don’t get out of here with two points but for Chris LaLiberte blocking that shot and sacrificing himself,” Flaherty said. “Then, he gets off the ice and Ryan McDonough gets on and that was another huge block by him. Ryan just does that. Both of those guys, they bring that element to their game, every shift. They’re guys that pay attention to details.”
The Eagles (3-0-0) have now thrown two shutouts in the first three games with Cronin picking up all three wins. Between the pipes, Cronin has backstopped BC High to eight scoreless periods of the nine played.
“We’re relying on him too much, but he’s getting the job done,” Flaherty said of Cronin.
Both teams were victim to some early sloppy play getting out of their respective ends. Yet, the Eagles were able to cling to a 1-0 lead after McDonough slipped one past Mounties netminder Brian Larence (21 saves) at 9:15 of the first.
“I got the puck on the left boards and tossed it down to Steve DeForge, and he made a great play,” McDonough said. “I was lucky to get it past the goalie.”
But the Eagles collectively kept the best for last. BC High’s defense in front of Cronin helped keep Mount scoreless despite five man-advantages, collapsing down low and clogging shooting lanes. The Eagles brought the same ethic to the final minute of play with Larence pulled from the Mounties’ net.
“Whatever it takes to win,” McDonough said of his shot blocks. “I try my best for Pete [Cronin] because he does his best for us every single night.”
STANDING ON HIS HEAD
Cronin continued his hot play on Saturday, but wasn’t tested for long stretches of time. The senior netminder, who didn’t allow his first goal of the season until the third period of Monday’s 5-2 win over St. John’s of Shrewsbury, remained sharp despite a lack of activity in front of him, particularly in the second period when the Mounties got just six shots to the BC High cage.
“Those are tough games for goaltenders because he didn’t have a ton of shots, but when he did, they were good chances and he made some very good saves,” Flaherty said. “A couple of those came off deflections and those were tough, but he’s seeing the puck well.”
BUILDING IN MOTION
A perennial threat in the RIIL’s Division 1 title race, Mount has experienced a sort of power outage without top scorer Brian Belisle.
The Mounties’ top returning scorer from last season suffered an early concussion, but recently was dealt a second blow to the head, holding him out of play for at least the next couple of weeks. Brian’s father, Mounties coach Dave Belisle isn’t about to rush him back into action, even with a loaded field upcoming in Mount’s holiday week tournament upcoming.
“Our goaltending’s been good since the beginning and we have four good defensemen in front of [Larence],” Dave Belisle said. “We just need some scoring. We need some time to come together and we need Brian to get healthy and get back.”