LOWELL, Mass. – It took a while, but Springfield Cathedral eventually made sure that everything went to script.
After an even first period the top-seeded Panthers exploded for 19 shots, and three goals, in the second to run away from Woburn en route to a 5-0 win to sweep their quarterfinal series and advance to the Super 8 semifinals next Wednesday.
They will play either BC High or St. John's Prep.
Peter Crinella and Johnny Leonard scored goals a minute and 13 seconds apart midway through the second, and it was all Panthers from there. Leonard potted his second, off a perfect pass from D.J. Petruzzelli, with a minute left in the period.
“I think our shifts were shorter in the second period, and all the lines were working,” Springfield Cathedral coach Brian Foley said. “The energy was good on the bench, and they were feeding off each other. Once we got the first goal everybody got into it. We had a lot of players who played well tonight which was nice to see.”
The Panthers outshot Woburn 32-9 over the final two periods and only allowed a pair of scoring chances for the Tanners.
Sammy Best did yeoman's work in goal for Woburn, with 34 saves, but the Panther offense was too much to contain.
“We knew what we were up against,” Woburn coach Jim Duran said. “Good first period. Second period we were always going to get ourselves in trouble because we're that far away from the bench, and if we can't change up we get ourselves in trouble. Second period is tough with us. We just get tired out there and can't get off for the changes. We hung in there, had some chances in the first, had some chances in the second. They're such a good team that it's hard to keep him down.”
Six Panthers found the score sheet. Petruzzelli added a shorthanded goal in the game's waning minutes to go with his assist, and Bryce Peritz added a goal and an assist of his own. Matt Cieboter and Devan Tongue each added an assist.
D.J.'s younger brother, Keith, turned aside all 15 Woburn shots.
“Keith is a great goalie,” Foley said. “I figured after he let in two the other night he wouldn't let one in tonight. He gets mad when he lets a goal in. He's got a great demeanor, it never takes him out of the game, but I knew he would really want to keep them at no goals tonight.”
MOVING ON: The win advances Cathedral to its second straight appearance in the Super 8 semifinals. Last year they lost to Malden Catholic. More importantly, the sweep guarantees them a full week off before the semifinals, which will be next Wednesday back at Tsongas Center.
“It feels great heading to the semis for the second straight year,” Leonard said. “Obviously, it's something special. It's a great win for us. This is a game we knew we had to win to get our legs back and get a few more days off for rest. Not playing another game is huge for us. We got to work hard in practice and come hard on Wednesday.”
The Panthers will get the winner of the BC High-St. John's Prep series.
While Cathedral hasn't played Prep this year, the Panthers have played BC twice. The first was a 2-2 tie in late December, and the most recent game, on Feb. 4, was won by the Panthers 4-2.
“We'll take tomorrow off and get back at it on Friday,” Foley said. “Probably take a day off on the weekend and get ready for Wednesday. Whoever it is it'll be a real battle. We've just got to get ready for that.”