BOSTON – Catholic Memorial doesn’t have a true superstar, but the Knights are a deep team that can run four lines and continuously attack their opponents. That was evident on Monday afternoon at Walter Brown Arena on the campus of Boston University.
Junior captain Aaron Clancy, senior Michael Stathopolous and sophomore Paul Hardiman each scored two goals as the No. 10 Knights cruised past Natick, 9-1.
Hardiman and Stathopolous scored first period goals to take a 2-1 lead over Natick after 15 minutes. It was the only period that Natick mustered any offensive charge against CM and goaltender Brandon Collett.
The story of the night might have been the effectiveness of the second line for the Knights. Longtime Catholic Memorial coach Bill Hanson put Hardiman, Stathopolous and junior Anthony Pannagio together on the second line, and the trio displayed good chemistry and the ability to create offense.
“[Stathopolous] is a senior. It’s the first time he’s had a good night offensively. His engine, he’s playing hard and he’s getting after it,” Hanson said.
“Hardiman and Pannagio were our best penalty killers last year as freshmen. They played a ton for us last year. They weren’t good offensively as freshmen because it’s hard to play as freshmen. They’ve taken the next step. They’re good hockey players.”
The onslaught was on from there as CM scored seven times in the final 30 minutes to win going away. Zach Sullivan, Tim Weinstein and Will Conroy also added goals for Catholic Memorial.
The Knights improved to 2-0-0 on the young season, and are averaging 7.5 goals per game despite losing UMass recruit Liam Coughlin, one of the best offensive players in the state last season to graduation, and Cornell recruit Beau Starrett to juniors.
“We have a lot of the same cast of characters back from last year. My concern coming in was that they played so well last year making it to the [Super 8] Final Four, were they going to make that next step?” Hanson said. They really have exceeded my expectations. I’m pleasantly surprised. Their confidence factor is right where it should be.”
Hanson continued, “We don’t have Liam. We roll four lines. I firmly believe we have eight to nine guys who are 10, 12 goal scorers. The intensity and energy that we play with has to make up for Liam’s loss.”
Notes: Maine associate head coach Jay Leach and Los Angeles Kings scout Bob Crocker were both in attendance to take in the action at the former home of the Boston University Terriers … Clancy, the team’s top returning scorer, showed why with his quick release and ability to work well in traffic… Senior Will Conroy looked more like a skilled forward on his nifty breakaway goal to cap off the scoring… Catholic Memorial is off until Dec. 27 when it takes on Framingham in the Silverback Hockey Classic.