MALDEN, Mass. -- If a tie is like kissing your sister, then winning a consolation game at a holiday hockey tournament must be something of the same ilk.
That was the general feeling around the Hingham locker room after the No. 9 Harbormen thrashed St. Mary’s 5-0 in the consolation game of the Christie Serino Christmas Classic at the Valley Forum.
“Coming off that tough loss, collapsing in the third period, [the goal] was to come back and get a win,” Hingham junior captain Matt Brazel said.
Win the Harbormen did as they ran over a talented, but inexperienced St. Mary’s team from the start. Hingham registered 12 shots in first period, one more than the Spartans did in the entire game, and held St. Mary’s without a shot for the first 10-plus minutes of the game.
The Harbormen (4-2-0) finally got on the board exactly 12 minutes into the game when Joe Personeni snuck a wraparound past sophomore goalie Connor Jennings. Hingham added another just under two minutes later when Sam D’Antuono jammed the puck in on the power play.
D’Antuono finished with a hat trick.
“I was happy with our team’s effort right from the beginning,” Hingham head coach Tony Messina said. “We established a good forecheck and it helped the defensive zone.”
The Harbormen suffocated the Spartans whenever they were able to push the puck over the red line. St. Mary’s played noticeable better in the final two periods, but Hingham was always a step ahead.
A goal from Brazel in the final minute of the second period seemed to take the win out of the Spartans’ sails. Brazel also assisted on D’Antuono’s last goal.
“That line’s going pretty good,” Messina said. “That line is really strong. Unfortunately, we count on them to score a lot of goals for us.”
Senior Justin Ryder added three assists for Hingham.
“He’s a contributor on that second line and we have him there for a reason,” Messina said. “He adds an offensive punch to the second line.”
The Spartans played their strongest period of the game in the third, but Hingham was still able to power through and score a pair of goals.
“They were very senior, veteran-type team,” St. Mary’s head coach Mark Lee said. “We went out, worked hard, and I just think the bigger, stronger team just won. I think that has to do with their experience. They’ll be doing well at the end of the season.”
Repeating greatness is never easy.
Repeating the greatest year in St. Mary’s history: that’s a whole different story.
The 2012-2013 edition of the Spartans have over a dozen new faces and the jelling period has come with its share of lumps.
“There’s 15 new faces on that team,” Lee said. “What makes us competitive is that that team has a bunch of kids that want to work for you and do everything it takes to be successful. A lot of energy in there, but we’re going to have growing pains. I think we’re going to be a lot better towards the end of the year.”
The road doesn’t get any easier for the Spartans as they travel south on Wednesday to take on a talented Braintree team. Lee said that the thing this team needs more is playing in big games.
“I think our team grew as a team playing a team like Hingham, regardless of winning or losing,” Lee said. “We have an extremely competitive non-league schedule. We will be a battle-tested team regardless of our record and really help some of our players who haven’t experienced it yet.”
The Spartans get a rematch with Hingham at the end of January at Pilgrim. They have the talent and ability to be a more complete team by that game, but only time will tell whether this will be a year of success for St. Mary’s or a year of rebuilding.