LOWELL, Mass. – Malden Catholic scored the last four goals of the game to turn a one-goal deficit into a 6-3 win over Austin Prep in the second Super 8 semifinal at Tsongas Center, Wednesday night.
Down 3-2 early in the second after surrendering two goals in a 35-second span, the Lancers locked down on defense and flexed their muscle like only a four-time defending Super 8 champion could.
Jack Adams scored a pair of goals including Malden Catholic's fifth, on a nifty wraparound, five minutes into the third period that sucked the wind out of Austin's sails.
“He's a big guy with a great reach, and I think it showed on his second goal,” Malden Catholic coach John McLean said of Adams. “When he's around the net he can finish. Two huge goals for us.”
The Lancers used a stiff forecheck over the final 25 minutes to get away from a game Cougars squad that controlled the first part of the game. After the Lancers took the lead midway through the first period on a goal by John McLean the Cougars responded in the period's final minute when Mike Egan undressed an MC defender with a high-class dangle and potted one past Kyle Casey.
Malden's Cam Walter scored two minutes into the second period before Egan's second and Eric MacAdams rattled for the two quick ones to put Austin ahead. After that the Lancers took over.
“Playing them is always going to be a tough team,” Malden Catholic's Matt Filipe said. “They know what they're doing out there so coming in we knew what we were getting. We knew that the team that worked the hardest was going to win. We came out flat in the first, but we got back to playing our game and got the win which is most important.”
Filipe scored to tie the game at three with just over five minutes to play in the second period. He also had the primary assist on Adams' second goal.
The Lancers will play Catholic Conference rival St. John's Prep for the Super 8 title Sunday night at TD Garden. It will be the teams' first meeting in the postseason since their epic encounter in the 2011 final that was won by Malden Catholic 4-3 in overtime, kickstarting its current era of dominant success.
“They're a great team,” Adams said. “They got a great system, good coach. They work hard. It'll be a good game.”
Malden Catholic goalie Kyle Casey gave up all of Austin's goals in a 4:27 span, but he buckled down late. The sophomore turned aside all of Austin's nine shots in the third period to secure the win.
“He was great as always,' Adams said. “I see him in practice, and he's so competitive. I love it; it makes us all better. Great goalie, great teammate, and we're happy to have him.”
MOVING ON: Austin Prep coach Louis Finocchario spent a long time after the game talking with his team. For the large amount of seniors on the squad the loss ended their high school careers after a long run of success but never claiming the ultimate prize.
Austin's seniors played in two Super 8 finals and made this year's semifinals. The Cougars had an unblemished 10-0-0 campaign in the Catholic Central League this year and claimed the Buddy Ferreira Classic title at the end of the regular season.
“Obviously no one's happy with tonight's result, more important we need to reflect upon our entire season,” Finocchario said. “We had a lot more good than bad. I think these boys had a tremendous season. They're a group of boys that I love coaching, I enjoyed coaching.”