MALDEN, Mass. – Sometimes getting “the usual” is what the doctored ordered, as was the case for Malden Catholic yesterday in the Christie Serino tournament final.
The Lancers offense leaned on junior star Matt Filipe who delivered with a two-goal, one-assist performance to power Malden Catholic to a 3-0 victory over Austin Prep. The Lancers have now won all three Serino tournaments.
“Matt's a man-child,” Malden Catholic coach John McLean said. “You know he's going to get his goals, but he's got to understand that he's got to play both ends of the rink. He's very dominant when he wants to be. I like him on my team; I wouldn't want to coach against him.”
After getting the primary assist on a first-period goal by defenseman John McLean III, Filipe took over in the second. Just more than five minutes in he was able to finesse the puck home short side to double the lead. Less than four minutes later he cut through the Austin defense and buried a shot to pad the lead.
While Filipe led the MC offense it was junior goaltender Alex Reissis backboned the defense. Reissis turned aside all 28 shots that Austin sent his way and stopped 11 as the Cougars turned up the pressure in the third.
“Reissis has been great all year,” Filipe said. “As for helping me as an offensive player, you can take that extra offensive chance knowing you got Reese back there to hold down the fort.”
For the Cougars, the game was a story of fits and bursts. AP would put together sizable stretches of dominant play only for the Lancers to counterattack and convert on their chances.
Austin had the benefit of four power plays to Malden Catholic's one, but finishing chances wasn't meant to be.
“We've played in spurts really well,” Austin Prep coach Louis Finocchario said. “We do have some different faces in different positions. The thing is right now, how I can describe our team, is we're not where we finished last year. We need to get back to basics, keep things simple. Once we defined simple consistently I think we'll be a much better team.”
REMEMBERING CHRIS: For McLean, playing in a tournament named for a former mentor takes on added meaning. Chris Serino coached MC and laid the groundwork for their current run of dominance in four straight Super 8 championships.
Now, three years since Serino's passing, the Lancers have won all six of their games in the tournament. McLean said that the tournament, and the program, will always be about Serino.
“It's not my tournament, it's Chris’s,” McLean said. “I think it's very special that the school's doing this for him. I coached with him for a long time, and he asked me to take over the program. I still consider Malden Catholic his program, not mine. I love the guy. I learned a lot from him so whatever we can do to keep that tradition going I'm all for it.”
HINGHAM WINS EXCITING CONSOLATION GAME: After leading by three late in the second period, Hingham had to weather the St. Mary's storm to beat the Spartans, 5-4, in the Serino consolation game.
The Harbormen rode their first line of Billy McNally, Matt Demelis, and Matt Egan. The line, a pair of sophomores and a junior, scored a goal and added an eye-popping seven assists. McNally and Demelis assisted on Will Jones’s eventual game-winning goal in the middle of the third.
“They're the guys with the most skill and always an offensive threat out there,” Hingham coach Tony Messina said. “We just got to teach them to play stronger defense and we'll have something going.”
St. Mary's opened the scoring when Branden Willis rocketed home a blast on the power play early in the first. After that Hingham took over. The Harbormen used a pressing forecheck to force the Spartans into numerous turnovers and converted. Marc O'Rourke tied the game midway through the period, but it was a pair of goals 12 second apart by Egan and Jeff Gordon deep in the first that put Hingham in the driver's seat.
A goal from Nick Droster put Hingham up 4-1 midway through the second, and St. Mary's Mike Zampanti cut into the lead three minutes later.
Hingham seemed poised to run away with it before penalties reeled it in. The Harbormen sent seven players to the box and none of the penalties drew complaints from Messina.
“Very uncharacteristic of us,” Messina said. “They were obvious penalties, nothing where you could blame anyone. We've got to learn from that going forward.”
Zampanti and Joe Scalli both scored power play goals to make it a 5-4 game with four minutes left.
Despite winning the hard way, the “W” was a wanted change for Messina after last year's Harbormen made it a habit of losing close games to good teams.
“When you have a 4-1 lead you'd like to seal the deal,” Messina said. “We got an inexperienced team, so I think we're going to learn the hard way.
“Last year was tough, unexpected. We had tough games and lost all of them. I told the guys we lost this game last year. We outplayed them, outshot them, and lost. This one we won. It looks optimistic. The guys did a lot of work over the summer, and I think we'll be competitive all year long.”