WOBURN, Mass. – No. 4 Central Catholic used a dominating, four-goal second period to turn a one-goal deficit into a three-goal lead and cruise to a 5-1 win over No. 6 Winchester at O’Brien Rink.
Central's top line of Lloyd Hayes, Corey Webber, and Alex Lester combined for eight points. Hayes led the way with a goal and three assists. Webber had a goal and a pair of assists, and Lester scored Central's last goal.
“We don't have that one superstar forward, but we have three solid lines of forwards and they can all do their job,” Hayes said. “All three games we've had different scorers. We don't rely on that one person. Everyone can get the job done.”
It took a while for Central's lines to start rolling because Winchester came out of the gates flying. The Sachems used their speed to control the game out of the gate. Senior forward Nolan Redler stuffed home a rebound 2:20 into the game to put the Sachems up early.
The physicality escalated quickly and continued to fester. A ruckus erupted in front of Winchester's James Offner during the first, and sticks conversed with shins throughout the night.
“It was a physical game,” Winchester coach Matt Spang said. “It went both ways. That's what you get when you play these catholic schools; it's a physical hockey game. It's good to have those. It's fun to have those. It was a fast-paced hockey game.”
Central scored twice in the first five minutes of the second period and took over control of the game. The offense was able to work its sets thanks to a sterling performance from Colin Soucy. The senior turned aside 19 of the 20 shots the Sachems put on the cage.
“The first period they come out and they're ready to play and if we don't have Colin there we have a big hole,” Central coach Mike Jankowski said. “Instead it's a one-goal game and it allows us to climb back into the game and compete. He comes in ready to work, do his job, buy into the team concept and really lead through example.”
Central was strong throughout, but the deities of the rink had it in for Winchester. Several posts and a series of bad bounces turned prime scoring chances into harmless events for the Sachems.
Spang said that it wasn't his team's night but he is bullish about the future.
“We had some tough bounces tonight,” Spang said. “That's just the way it goes sometimes; it's a cruel game. Right now, we don't have the hockey gods on our side. We'll get them back at some point. The only way to get them back is to work hard. They'll like us in the end.
“It's a process. We're not even at Christmas yet. We're not there yet. Just put down another brick, build the house a little bit, [and] see where you're at. I'm not worried about it. We're going to be alright.”
TOP LINE STATEMENT: Central's top line has been playing together for years and they are showing it in big games away from home. Three combined points, including a pair of goals, last week against Westford Academy, paired with a massive game yesterday, show what the Hayes-Webber-Lester line can do.
Hayes may get the accolades as Central's top forward, but, by his own admission, it's his linemates that make it easy for him.
“Can't say enough about him and Alex [Lester], too,” Hayes said. “[Webber's] a centerman, wins a lot of draws, and makes me and Alex look good. He's unbelievable out there. He makes everyone's job on the ice easier.
“Last year, in the Super 8, we played real well together and we brought it into this year. They're great players. They make me look good out there. We just know where each other are. It's great for all of us.”
Central's depth at forward allows the top line to not be overworked stay fresh for a full 45 minutes.
“Each line feeds off each other, builds off each other,” Jankowski said. “Whether it’s a good play or a good shift we build off that.”