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Saturday, March 5, 2011
Malden Catholic holds on against Central Catholic

By Roger Brown

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. -- Malden Catholic head coach Chris Serino didn’t sound happy with much of anything following his team’s Super Eight tournament game against Central Catholic on Saturday night, but he had to be satisfied with the final score.

Serino’s Lancers overcame some sloppy play in their own end to post a 4-3 victory.

“We gave up too many shots – way too many shots,” Serino said. “We skated by too many pucks. We didn’t utilize our speed. We were trying to make plays on soft ice you can’t make.

“We were slow in our decision making and we were slow in our passing. I’m mad because I don’t think we played sharp.”

Malden Catholic seemed to take control of a 2-2 game by scoring twice during a 25-second span in the third period. Sophomore forward Ryan Fitzgerald broke the tie by scoring on a breakaway at 4:32, and junior forward Brendan Collier collected his second goal of the contest to make it 4-2 at 4:57.

Central Catholic still had some fight left, however, and trimmed its deficit to one goal when senior forward Nick Leonard beat goaltender Patrick Young with 4:54 to play.

The Raiders’ best chance to tie the game came after it pulled goaltender Kyle Williams with 22.6 seconds to play. Central Catholic tried to jam the puck past Young while there was heavy traffic in front of the Malden Catholic goal, but the Lancers were able to preserve the one-goal lead.

“Every kid poured their heart and soul into this game,” Central Catholic head coach Mike Jankowski said. “They laid it all out there. There was no quit in them and all game it was like that. They stuck with their game plan and they stuck together.”

Senior forward Garrett White also scored for top-seeded Malden Catholic, which raised its record to 17-2-2. Senior forward Mike Vecchione, who has committed to play at the University of New Hampshire, was credited with three assists.

Fitzgerald (Boston College) and Collier (Boston University) have also committed to Division I schools. That line has accounted for 77 goals and 205 points this season.

“We didn’t play our best game today, but it was good we got out with a win,” Vecchione said. “We definitely need to play a lot better in the defensive zone in the next couple of games.

“We had our opportunities. For the most part our team was calm [in the third period]. We kept playing our game and wearing them down. They’re a hard-working team. They made us turn the puck over a lot in the defensive zone, and when we did turn it over they ended up capitalizing.”

Sophomore forward Mike Kelleher and freshman forward Alex Lester provided the other goals for eighth-seeded Central Catholic, which earned a spot in the field of eight by beating St. Mary’s of Lynn 3-1 in a play-in game. The loss dropped Central Catholic’s record to 17-6-1.

Malden Catholic will play Hingham in each team’s second tournament game, which will be played Tuesday at Merrimack College. Central Catholic will face Weymouth in Tuesday’s other game.

Each team scored twice in the opening period. Collier opened the scoring, but Central Catholic took a 2-1 lead on goals by Kelleher and Lester. White’s goal made it a 2-2 contest, and it remained 2-2 after 30 minutes.

“Not happy with the numbers,” Jankowski said. “It didn’t go the way we wanted it to, but happy with the effort and happy with what they gave.”