HINGHAM, Mass. -- No, it’s not that pesky rally monkey from the L.A. Angels World Series run from a few years back, or even that evil monkey in the closet from “Family Guy.”
This was a monkey of a different sort.
For the 12 seniors on the boys’ hockey team of No. 2 Weymouth, they’d never once known victory against rival Hingham. With the Wildcats’ convincing 5-2 win over the seventh-ranked Harbormen Monday night at Pilgrim Skating Arena, consider it vanquished.
“We have a lot of seniors on this team and they’ve never beaten Hingham,” Weymouth head coach Matt Cataldo said. “It’s a monkey they’ve wanted to get off their backs.”
The Wildcats (12-1-1) set the tone early and resolved avenge the 3-2 loss they suffered to Hingham (6-4-4) in the Ed Taylor Tournament championship before the New Year. Matching the Harbormen’s intensity early was important and Weymouth came in with something extra in their stride.
“The past four years we’ve played them, they’ve jumped right out,” Wildcats senior captain Tyler Piacentini said. “I think we’ve gotten nervous or something. We just realized we could play with them and we came out flying.”
Weymouth also got yet another huge game from their spark plug leader. With a five-point performance, including two goals against Hingham, Piacentini now has a staggering 46 points in 13 games played. Coupled with goaltender Brian Brady’s effort (27 saves) and the Wildcats blue-liners, who kept things clear in front of Brady, Weymouth finally ridded its ghost.
“Both programs have done well in the recent past,” Cataldo said, “but it’s just a big rivalry game, the place is always packed.”
Piacentini helped get things started, setting up Andy Sheridan’s goal on a slapper from the point 6:36 into the first period. However, Hingham drew even before the period was out with Matt Hughes’ perfectly placed wrister off a face-off win.
Weymouth took a 2-1 lead with 5:43 to play in the second on Piacentini’s first goal with an assist from Riley Flanagan. Piacentini repaid the favor later in the second, setting up Flanagan’s goal with some dirty work in the corner and a dish to his linemate in the slot.
“We were trying to get to open spaces and shoot on the goalie,” Piacentini said. “That’s what we’ve got to do to score.”
Piacentini’s second goal of the night came on a penalty kill midway through the third, when he used speed to his advantage to fight through the neutral zone for a breakaway.
Joe Nardone capped the win with an empty-netter from center ice, with an assist from Piacentini.
Although Weymouth was out-shot, 28-19, Cataldo praised the efforts of his defensemen in keeping traffic to minimum in front of Brady and not allowing the Harbormen’s snipers access to high quality scoring chances.
“That’s how the defensive zone works, you give them the outside but you don’t let them in,” Cataldo said. “[Tim] Driscoll, you give him an inch and he’ll bury it, so when you play against any skilled team, you want to keep it to the outside and try to minimize their scoring opportunities from in close and down low. I thought the kids did a great job of that.”