Wamps' Cox fends off No. 7 Weymouth's advance

RANDOLPH, Mass. -- Standing outside the locker room following his team’s 1-1 tie against Braintree on Wednesday night, Weymouth hockey head coach Matt Cataldo said: “Thanks for coming to our shooting gallery tonight.”

The Wildcats outshot the Wamps, 35-5, so it might have seemed as such.

If the Bay State Carey battle was an ole fashioned Wild West shootout, Braintree sophomore goaltender James Cox might have well been wearing a full suit of armor, as he looked nearly impenetrable.

“I thought our kids deserved better than that,’ Cataldo added, “but that’s a credit to their goaltender.”

With the point, seventh-ranked Weymouth (15-2-2, 12-1-2) clinched its first Bay State Carey title since 2007. The No. 15 Wamps (10-4-4, 10-2-3) had a chance to force the Wildcats into a do-or-die matchup at Zapustas Arena, but those title hopes faded after their 3-2 loss to No. 9 Needham on Saturday.

Despite the lopsided distribution of shots, Braintree head coach David Fasano was encouraged by his team’s performance.

“I’m still proud of every kid in that locker room,” Fasano said. “After Saturday, we could have rolled over. But they showed that we can be a contender in the South this year and try to win the whole thing.”

Although they were outshot, 12-2 in the first period, the Wamps went to the room for the first intermission up 1-0 on the scoreboard. On their second shot of the period, David Fasano Jr. redirected Troy Tenaglia’s slapper from the point with 2:42 remaining.

Meanwhile, Cox continued to kick out shot after shot and got clean looks at incoming shots with some help from his defensemen.

“The guys did a great job of letting me see puck,” Cox said. “There were some tips in front, but it makes it much easier to make saves when you can see them.”

The Wildcats continued to pour it on during the second, when they outshot Braintree 22-3. It looked as though Riley Flanagan had finally pushed one past Cox (34 saves) with 5:45 left in the second, but the close brush was waved off by the official.

Weymouth sweated it out until Tyler Piacentini scored the equalizer with 3:56 to play. The captain winger ripped a wrist shot top shelf from inside the right hand circle with an assist from Flanagan.

The Wildcats, who along with Braintree are among the 21 Super Eight “Watch List” teams, continue their push to the postseason with several high profile non-league battles with St. Mary’s of Lynn, Catholic Memorial and Central Catholic in succession.

For now, Cataldo was happy to celebrate the team’s milestone.

“We have a big group of seniors who’ve worked extremely hard over the four years and haven’t won a league title,” he said. “So this means a lot and they deserve it.”