No. 7 Weymouth battles back to beat St. Mary's

LYNN, Mass. -- If Saturday’s contest between St. Mary’s of Lynn and Weymouth is any indication of the quality of hockey to be played in the upcoming Super Eight tournament, puck fans should be happy.

The sixth-ranked Spartans went back and forth with the Wildcats at Connery Rink before Weymouth’s Trevor King closed it out with the final two goals in a 4-3 win in a matchup of two teams that figure to be a part of the eight-team field.

The Wildcats battled back from a 2-0 first-period deficit and trailed 3-2 more than halfway through the third period.

“This was a good test for us,” Weymouth head coach Matt Cataldo said. “To come in, go down 2-0 and then come right back in the second period and tie up. We found ourselves down again, but then we get two quick ones in the third. There were a lot of good things that came out of this game tonight. It was a good test to get us ready for what’s coming down the road.”

St. Mary’s (12-5-3) got the Wildcats back on their heels in the first period while trying to avoid its third straight loss.

Derek Stella got things started, poking one past Weymouth goaltender Brian Brady (20 saves) with assists from Tim Aylward and Jake Witkowski. The Spartans took a 2-0 less than a minute later at the 9:59 mark Cam Kennedy’s goal set up by Bobby Mullins.

Brady prevented St. Mary’s from taking a three-goal lead, stopping Jordan Manthorne on a short-handed breakaway with 25 seconds remaining in the period.

It helped to refocus the Wildcats.

“We told them to keep working and do the things that we do,” Cataldo said of his message to the team at the first intermission. “It’s more or less mental with us when teams start to take over. It’s more a matter of us managing how we react.”

Weymouth (16-2-2) started chipping away at the Spartan lead 33 seconds into the second with Tyler Piacentini’s power play goal from Riley Flanagan and King.

Pat O’Keefe drew the Wildcats even with 11:15 to play in the second, beating St. Mary’s goaltender Donald Hesse five hole on a rebound.

The Spartans took the lead one more time in the third with 6:33 remaining. Tommy Braswell scored from behind the goal line, flipping the puck off Brady’s back and into the net on a power play.

Weymouth made its final charge, led by King and this three-point night. His first goal — the game-tier — came with 4:04 remaining on a faceoff in St. Mary’s zone. Flanagan won the draw and sealed off the Spartans’ center. King beat the race to the loose puck and fired off a wrist shot.

“Riley [Flanagan] held us his guy and the puck bounced right back,” King said. “I had a lot of space and just threw it on net.

King netted the game-winner with 2:27 to go on a 3-on-2 break. Piacentini and Flanagan added assists to finish with two-point games.

Aside from another two points in the standings, King and the Wildcats have yet another boost of momentum going for them heading into the big dance.

“It’s a good to win to come up here and beat these guys,” King said.