Central outlasts Weymouth in Super 8 battle

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. -- Central Catholic didn’t have many scoring chances in Tuesday night’s Super Eight tournament game against Weymouth, but the Raiders took advantage of the best ones they did have.

Nick Leonard scored on a penalty shot, and Tommy Evangelista added a power-play goal to propel eighth-seeded Central Catholic past fourth-seeded Weymouth, 2-1, at Merrimack’s Lawler Arena.

The victory raised Central Catholic’s overall record to 18-6-1 and its tournament record to 1-1. The Raiders opened the tournament with a 4-2 loss against top-seeded Malden Catholic.

“They outplayed us for the majority of the game,” Central Catholic head coach Mike Jankowski said. “We made a few plays and capitalized on the opportunities that we had.”

Meanwhile, Weymouth had a hard time getting the puck past Central Catholic goaltender Kyle Williams, who recorded 27 saves.

“Kyle played unbelievable tonight,” Jankowski said. “Every time it looked like they were going to cash in on an opportunity, he was there to close the door on them. It was really on Kyle’s shoulders. Can’t say enough about his play tonight.”

Senior forward Tyler Piacentini scored Weymouth’s lone goal. Piacentini leads the team in goals (32) and points (64).

“Obviously we’re disappointed with the outcome,” Weymouth head coach Matt Cataldo said. “I thought the kids played extremely hard. We had a lot of good chances. Tonight just wasn’t our night. Normally we bury nine out of 10 of those good shots that we had – especially the flurries we had in the third period. I thought we deserved better.

“Their goalie made some big saves, but we helped him out a little bit. He goes down every single shot and if you go up high on him you’re gonna beat him, which is what we did on that first goal. We had a lot of low shots on the ice off the pads, off the stick, so it’s something to learn from.”

Weymouth slipped to 18-4-2 overall and 1-1 in the tournament. The Wildcats were coming off a 4-3 triumph over fifth-seeded Hingham, last year’s Super 8 champion.

It was a 1-1 game until Evangelista collected a power-play goal at 2:32 of the second. Leonard and Ryan Daigle were credited with assists.

Weymouth had several good scoring opportunities in the third – including a shot that hit the left post – but couldn’t pull even. Weymouth goalie Brian Brady made 13 saves.

It was 1-1 after the opening period. Piacentini handed Weymouth a 1-0 lead on a wrist shot from the right circle 2:24 into the game, but Central Catholic pulled even when it was awarded a penalty shot. Leonard scored the goal at 12:37.

“It was exciting,” Jankowski said. “If we had to pick one guy, he’d be the guy we’d pick to take it.”

Each team is scheduled to play its final game in pool play Sunday. Weymouth will face Malden Catholic (2-0), and Central Catholic will face Hingham (0-2). Each contest could be moved if the Hockey East quarterfinal-round series between Merrimack and Maine goes to a third game.

If teams are tied after pool play is complete, goal differential in tournament games is the tiebreaker that will be used to determine which teams advance.

“We couldn’t ask for more,” Jankowski said. “We have a chance to move forward, so it’s pretty exciting.”