MALDEN, Mass. – It's impossible for a hockey player to put up a six-point night and do it modestly.
But Malden Catholic's Ara Nazarian did just that. The junior star for the Lancers netted three goals and helped on three others as Malden Catholic beat Hingham, 6-2, in a physically demanding semifinal of the Chris Serino Holiday Classic at the Valley Forum.
Nazarian's linemates Tyler Sifferlen and Jake Witkowski also frequented the score sheet. Sifferlen had two goals and a pair of assists, while Witkowski added three assists.
“Our line's been playing good recently,” Nazarian said. “We have good chemistry. We know where each other is on the ice, and we've just been playing well finding each other on the ice. We've got a pretty good line.”
Hingham, playing without captain John Carlson, came to play and took the game to the Lancers early. Hingham matched Malden's physicality and a late goal from Jonathan Shepard tied the game at one heading into the intermission.
Malden Catholic coach John McLean said he was less than pleased with his team's performance out of the gate.
“They kind of believe they can show up, put a shirt on, and everyone's going to lay down for them,” McLean said. “We have that same talk before every game and it hasn't quite sunk in yet. We had an adult talk in between periods and they did what they were supposed to do.
“I wasn't happy with the game at all. I thought we were very poor defensively. Guys were more worried about points than playing team defense.”
Sifferlen and Nazarian scored 1:14 apart in the first two minutes of the second period to put a window between the Lancers and Hingham.
MC put four goals on the board in the second period, but Hingham had the lion's share of quality scoring chances. The Harbormen missed passes and deflections, clanged pucks off post, and were stonewalled by Lancer keeper Alex Reissis but they kept finding ways to not score.
“The guys didn't react the way I wanted, but we hung in there,” Hingham coach Tony Messina said. “We had our chances to score we just didn't put them away. First and third period we tied, second period we lost big unfortunately. We're going to pull the important small things out of it and build from there.”
FIRST LINE PROWESS: Malden Catholic's top line showed why it might be the top line in the state, racking up 13 points. However, it's their chemistry without the puck that makes the line so lethal.
One can throw a pass into empty space and another fills it at the last moment and bangs the puck home.
“I like the line; they work well together,” MacLean said. “When Tyler [Sifferlen] gets the puck on his stick he's going to finish. He's a real good team player.”
Sifferlen and Nazarian have been playing together for multiple years and Witkowski has found a way to seamlessly work his way in.
“Me and [Sifferlen] have been playing together for the past three years so we've always had that chemistry,” Nazarian said. “Jake fits in well with our line. He knows where we're going to be and we know where he's going to be so it works out.”