WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Springfield Cathedral did what no team has been able to do since mid-December. And that’s keep Hingham from leaving the ice with a win. Saturday night at the Olympia Ice Center in West Springfield, two of the state’s best clashed for 45 minutes, only to end the game with a 4-4 tie.
The two teams returned to the ice for the third period with Cathedral (7-4-4) clinging to a 3-2 lead. But in the early minutes of the third, Hingham (12-2-1) captain James Gordon, who had two assists in the first two periods, continued his strong play.
Two minutes in, Gordon tied the game off a nice fed from Sam D’Antuono. Just over three minutes later, Gordon gave Hingham its first lead of the game with his second goal of the period.
“It was just great play by my linesmen,” Gordon said. “I just found the right spots and he gave me the puck. I was really just lucky out there.”
Cathedral responded a few minutes later when senior defenseman Thomas Quinlan ripped a shot from the point past goalie John Grenier, tying that game at four apiece.
“We would have liked to keep the lead there at the end,” Hingham head coach Tony Messina said. “But a couple of goals, from both teams, that went in were probably not tailor-made goals. But that’s what happens in a tight game like that.”
This was unlike the first two periods, which saw Hingham trying to answer Cathedral’s goals.
Cathedral started off the scoring in the first period when senior Jordan Kozub rebounded a miss shot and wrapped it around Grenier, squeezing it right inside the left post.
That lead would not last long. Just over a minute later, Gordon’s shot was tipped perfectly by D’Antuono, which went over the shoulder of Cathedral goalie John Liquori.
The second period began the same as the first with Cathedral scoring first. The Panthers came out of the gate as the aggressor, scoring in the first 42 seconds. Cathedral captain Frank Crinella, left all alone, took Brendan Ashe’s pass and put one past Grenier.
Midway through the period, the Harbormen would tie it on a power play goal from Ryan Linehan. Once again, Gordon got credit for the assist, as he fired a shot from the blue line, which was tipped down and in by his fellow captain.
A Hingham penalty late in the period, set up Cathedral’s go ahead goal. Defenseman Matt Foley placed the puck right in front of the net to Dominic Blad, who immediately tapped the puck behind him to freshman D.J. Petruzzelli, who gave Cathedral a one-goal lead with 54 seconds remaining in the period.
“It was a good battle between two evenly matched teams,” Cathedral head coach Brian Foley said. “They outshot us in the first. We outshot them in the second. They outshot us in the third. It was just one of those games.”
WIN STREAK OVER
On Dec. 21, Hingham’s record fell to 1-2 after a 5-1 loss to St. Mary’s of Lynn. The Harbormen went on an 11-game win streak after that game, which lasted until Saturday night.
Hingham still has not be beaten since the St. Mary’s loss, but the tie is an empty feeling for the Harbormen locker room, who feels the game they played Saturday was enough for the two-points.
“I felt that was the most complete game we’ve played so far,” Gordon said. “It just didn’t turn out our way, but it was still a great game.”
For the coaching staff and the players, this run has been great, but not something that was envisioned to go this far.
“We take them one-by-one,” Messina said. “We have a tough schedule. You can’t think too far ahead.”
“You don’t expect to do this,” Gordon said. “It doesn’t always play out like this, but we worked very hard in the offseason to get to this point. I feel that we did a great job and it’s paying off for us.”
Hingham heads into Monday night with another tough opponent in Westford Academy.
“There’s no time to hang out head that’s for sure,” Messina said.
TOUGH MONTH FOR PANTHERS
The month of February is unforgiving for Brian Foley’s team. Cathedral has hit the hardest part of the schedule with games this week against BC High and Hingham. Down the road, Cathedral has contests with several of the state’s best teams, including another matchup with BC High. The Panthers also have St. Mary’s of Lynn and St. John’s Prep.
“It’s tough. We’re going into the stretch here with six games against the top five teams in the state,” Foley said. “We’re just trying to get as many points as we can out of them and try to stay in contention to get a Super 8 berth.”
A win over Hingham could have lifted Cathedral into serious Super 8 talk, but the Panthers will have more chances against the state’s elite in the coming weeks.
HINGHAM HITTING THE ROAD
Ten of Hingham’s 11 wins during their winning streak came at home.
The road game against Cathedral will help the Harbormen adjust to the last leg of the season, which has the Harbormen at home just once the rest of the way, Monday night against Westford Academy.
After that, Hingham has Malden Catholic, Winchester, and Coyle-Cassidy all on the road before heading to Falmouth for the final three games of the season at the Cape Cod Classic.