BOSTON – School vacation week provides ample opportunities for Super 8 tournament hopefuls to provide lasting impressions on the selection committee, ahead of Saturday’s seeding meeting. No. 7 Catholic Memorial and No. 10 Central Catholic were looking to add a marquee victory next to their resumes in Monday’s non-league holiday matinee at Walter Brown Arena.
The Knights emerged with a handy 2-0 victory, powered by a couple of greasy rebound goals and an 18-save effort from freshman goaltender Brandon Collett.
CM (10-6-2) carried a 1-0 lead and controlled play into the third period. But, while the Knights outshot Central, 28-18, the game hinged on a series of key saves by Collett midway through the third. None bigger save came than Collett’s just inside the six-minute mark of the third, when Raiders winger Lloyd Hayes broke in with a clear breakaway. Hayes deked and went glove side, with Collett coolly flashing the leather.
“He’s got ice water in his veins,” Knights head coach Bill Hanson said. “Again, how many times this year has he stopped a breakaway to keep the game from turning around? It’s uncanny.”
After a scoreless first, CM got on the board 24 seconds into the second period with Jack O’Hear depositing the rebound of a Sean Heelan point shot.
The Knights added the insurance goal at 9:17 of the third as Kevin Hock made a play on Frank Cosolito’s blue-line blast. The puck caromed off the kick plate onto Hock’s stick and, with goaltender Colin Soucy (26 saves) unable to recover, he had nothing but net in front of him.
“I looked at their goals against average and it’s been pretty good all year long,” Hanson said. “We really needed those rebound goals, which we’ve been working at in practice. Jack [O’Hear], he was in the right place at the right time.”
GOALTENDERS ON POINT
While Central (13-5-3) struggled to generate chances on the rush for most of the game, the Raiders relied on Soucy to keep things all even in the first. The Knights outshot Central, 7-2, in the first and were the beneficiaries of several power-play opportunities.
But the Raiders’ steady hand in net kept them in it.
“He’s stepped up,” Central head coach Mike Jankowski said. “He’s really rose to occasion. Just look at that first period, there were a couple right down Broadway. He’s been solid and given us the chance to stay in games and try to find the back of the net.”
The game’s competitive tenor was marred in the final minutes as CM’s Liam Coughlin dealt an open ice hit on Central defenseman Nick Gorski behind the play. It warranted a four-minute penalty, so the Raiders ended the game with a 6-on-4 power play, as Soucy was pulled for an extra attacker with 1:23 to play.
Postgame, Hanson was demonstrably upset by the blindside check.
“I was embarrassed by that last penalty,” he said of the hit. “We don’t coach that way, and Mike Jankowski knows that. He will suffer repercussions for that from me because of it.”